Survey reveals north-south e-business divide

Northern-based IFAs claim to carry out more e-business online than their southern counterparts, according to the results of a new survey out today by Origo, the technology standards body for the financial services industry.

Figures show that 61% of northern-based IFAs currently carry out more than 25% of their business online compared to only 20% of IFAs based in the south of the country. The survey also revealed that nearly four times more northern than southern IFAs conduct more than half of their business online, at 15% and 4% respectively.

The study also found that the number of passwords IFAs have to remember to access provider extranets or portals remains high across the UK as a whole, with 40% of IFAs struggling with 15 or more passwords.

The findings compared recent statistics from two surveys carried out at the events, the technology events for the financial services sector, held this year in London and Glasgow.

Sandy Neilson, chief executive of Origo, says: “It is encouraging to see that so many IFAs north of the border are carrying out business online. However, according to these statistics, the UK IFA industry still has a long way to go to if we are to move towards a paperless office.”

In order to encourage more IFAs to move online and to solve the password problem, Origo, which has the backing of all the major financial provider sites, launched UNIPASS, a standard digital certificate for every IFA in the UK, earlier this year.

Robert Henderson, an IFA at Glasgow-based Direct Mortgages, says: “I carry out more than three-quarters of my business online and I have around 25 passwords that I need to remember to access all the different financial websites. Multiple passwords are a headache to both IFAs and the providers and UNIPASS will resolve this issue.”