One of the major benefits of a sprint-oriented development environment is that you can ship new features and functionality fast.
Here at Seccl, we release changes every two weeks. All of them are significant, even though some of them may not be immediately obvious to the naked eye.
It’s a journey of incremental improvement, based on frequent testing and constant user feedback – and it makes for a much more efficient way to develop a product than through slow and irregular bouts of whole-sale change.
But every now and then we’ll introduce some changes that are more noticeable, and reflect much longer periods of work.
The recent launch of our third-party pension integration was a good example of this. A few months in the planning and execution, it allowed us to offer one of the key tools in a financial planner’s armoury: the Self-Invested Personal Pension (SIPP).
And today’s website launch is another. While its impact on our clients and end-investors is no doubt far less pronounced than large-scale features launches like a SIPP, it still represents an important milestone for us, and one we’re excited to share with you.
This article outlines the main changes that we’ve made, explains why we’ve made them, and lays out what you can expect to find – now and into the future.
2019 was a dramatic year for us. We doubled our team, began working with a host of exciting new clients, and became part of the Octopus Group, in a move that gives us the firepower we need to capitalise on our ambition.
Although our website had served us very well up to this point, we were conscious that it could do more to reflect the journey that we’ve been on. We also felt it could do a slightly better job of articulating what we do and who we help.
That’s why we’ve tried to explain, as early and as clearly as we can, our core capabilities and audiences: we’re a custodian and platform technology provider, who works with ambitious financial advice firms, discretionary investment managers and fintechs.
Our other major priority was to explain how we operate. One of the challenges of a new operating model is that the usual frames of reference can serve to give a misleading impression of what it is that we do and how that we work.
In our case, we needed to explain – to financial advisers, investment managers and fintechs alike – that Seccl isn’t itself a platform.
Instead, we provide the underlying technology and custody service that together allow disruptive fintechs to bring new and exciting innovations to market fast, and empower ambitious advice firms to operate their own platform.
Firms with the right permissions have always, in theory, been able to do this. But the cost and operational complexities have taken it out of the reach of all but the largest companies.Our service is designed to break down that traditional barrier to entry – democratising the platform market for advisers, and fostering innovation among fintechs. And for the right firms, it could offer game-changing results.
But it’s not for everyone. Operating a platform carries with it additional responsibilities that it’s important our customers are aware of, which we break down in detail on our ‘How it works’ page.
We’ve also produced a fuller guide for firms who want to know more, which explores some of the reasons and rationales for operating a platform, and tackles head on some of the key questions that they may have.
On the subject of questions…we’ve tried our best to answer a few. More than a hundred, in fact.
As part of a firm’s due diligence process, it’s to be expected that they’ll want to know plenty about us. Everything from our financial position and organisational structure, right down to whether we can support this or that functionality.
To make it as easy as possible for you to find the information you need, we’ve built a dedicated FAQ and due diligence section, which aims to answer pretty much everything you might want to know about us and our service. (But if there’s something we don’t answer, ask us!)
While for existing users of the Seccl system, our learning centre will be home to an ever-growing bank of tutorials and day-to-day support.
It’s all well and good us doing the talking – but we realise that it’s far more powerful to hear first-hand from the clients we’ve helped. That’s why our new site has a section devoted to showcasing the firms we work with.
The way people manage their money is set to change dramatically and for the better – all thanks to the innovative work of firms like these, who we’re hugely proud to be working with. We’ll be adding more case studies all the time, so keep your eyes peeled.
Finally, you’ll notice that the furniture looks a little bit different. Now, we consciously haven’t spent great time or effort on an extensive rebrand.
Our key focus has always been – and remains – on creating a world-class API that delivers a best-in-market service to the clients that we work with. Rebranding just isn’t a priority.
That said, we did think it was important to show that we’re part of something bigger. And so we’ve tried to retain our unique identity as Seccl, while clearly showing that we’re part of Octopus.
Not only will you see the logo in the top right of the screen, but we’ve also given a nod to them visually, too (head to the new Octopus Group website and you’ll see what we mean).
We know this isn’t the finished article; far from it. We’re already eyeing up changes that we want to make – and have a long list of content that we’re eager to get up onto the new site in the future, including…
But enough from us. How do you think we’ve done? We’d love to hear what you think – and what you’d like to see us include in the future.
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