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Broker IT Systems

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XFool
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Broker IT Systems

#139275

Postby XFool » May 15th, 2018, 10:43 pm

Why do they all seem unsatisfactory in one way or another?

At the end of last year I transferred one of my S&S ISAs to HSDL. I have been using them a long time for a Henderson branded non ISA nominee account. I've just had the annual statement from HSDL which includes the ISA. I find there is no simple transaction statement for the ISA as with my previous broker. There is an 'ISA CASH MOVEMENT SCHEDULE' which, yes, shows dividend payment details OK but, when it comes to sales, purchases or ISA contribution it simply details 'Payment issued'.

I separately have the paper contracts and, if I go to the HSDL website, I can see and print out the 'DEALING HISTORY' for the period. I can also see and print out the 'CASH HISTORY' for the period. This shows the schedule of sales & purchases OK, but when it comes to dividends it indicates only the date, cash amount and 'Internal movement from income statement - Income sweep: <Security Name>'.

I could reconstruct a full simple transaction schedule from all this, or just pencil in the full details on the 'ISA CASH MOVEMENT SCHEDULE', but really: Why should I need to?

PeterGray
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Re: Broker IT Systems

#139321

Postby PeterGray » May 16th, 2018, 9:41 am

Having survived a number of "web site upgrades" over the years with various brokers I've come to the conclusion that the web sites and systems are written by people with next to no understanding of the business they are working for, and management of the project by broker's senior staff is appalling - usually because they don't understand what the website developers do. The result is nearly always a site that looks "good" on the system the developers work on (but maybe not on the varied ones the clients use!), which adds new facilities that are or little interest to most clients and which run more slowly, and need more menus navigating to get where you want. And often, as you describe the bleeding obvious gets missed and no one notices! Barclays new system has a cash statement option, if you can find it, but while it lists cash transaction nicely (somewhat better than you describe - at least they are named correctly!) the stupid idiots forgot to include a running cash total - so you get the current cash balance but the column showing how that has changed has gone walkabout. You complain (again) and yes they understand my point and of course it will be passed on, but you know nothing will happen. The website developers have had their cash and moved on, and who is going to pay them to come back in and sort something like that out?

If it ain't broke - don't fix it. Shame no one in senior management with so many companies in so many industries can't grasp that primary school level rule! But then, how would they justify their bonuses if they did?

Peter

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Re: Broker IT Systems

#139343

Postby RececaDron » May 16th, 2018, 11:17 am

In terms of the stakeholders involved, customers don't really get a look-in on most new systems development...

The primary - and often only beneficiaries - are the staff involved, primarily in terms of CV maintenance and career enhancement.

Developers are desperate to ensure they're seen to be involved with the latest IT trends so their skillsets remain portable and sellable; management are desperate to ensure they're seen to be successfully managing and delivering "change" projects using the currently in-vogue methodologies.

"Upgrades" are usually presented as being about improving the customer experience thereby enabling retention or growth of market share, but that's a crock. CV-enhancement dominates the agenda, hence the regular succession of "upgrades" that deliver little for the customers, and beneath the glitz are often functionally retrograde steps, leaving but a swollen cost base for the bewildered customer fees to pay for...

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Re: Broker IT Systems

#139376

Postby OZYU » May 16th, 2018, 3:08 pm

I spent a good part of my career designing and implementing systems, mostly in the automation/AI/robotics field, but plenty of IT linked database suites too. Some of that stuff was extremely complex and operationally critical to the businesses concerned, so great care was needed.

I think that investment records are a very simple application in comparison, but just a critical in terms of reliability and usability.

In years passed, in particular post retiring years ago, I often sent to various brokers/platforms detailed design improvement/suggestions on how they could improve investor experience. Hardly any replies, and vey few results, so I gave up. On many occasions the replies were idiotic.

In general I would agree that the teams implementing today's investment platform systems have generally not got a clue. And the basic concepts of seeking to understand user needs, testing before release, or roll back if the 'upgrade' (which most of the time is a downgrade) goes pear shaped have disappeared.

They call this progress, but considering the quality, ease of use, and robustness of today's IT tools, compared with decades ago, a poor show imho.

Ozyu

PS You only need to have a quick look at the IC new front end to see what a pig's ear can be produced probably at great cost on a basically elementary web site requirement. I have given up complaining on that one too. Same with my online bank account system, robust but so many easy improvements missed.

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Re: Broker IT Systems

#139396

Postby GeoffF100 » May 16th, 2018, 4:30 pm

XFool wrote:Why do they all seem unsatisfactory in one way or another?

At the end of last year I transferred one of my S&S ISAs to HSDL. I have been using them a long time for a Henderson branded non ISA nominee account. I've just had the annual statement from HSDL which includes the ISA. I find there is no simple transaction statement for the ISA as with my previous broker. There is an 'ISA CASH MOVEMENT SCHEDULE' which, yes, shows dividend payment details OK but, when it comes to sales, purchases or ISA contribution it simply details 'Payment issued'.

I separately have the paper contracts and, if I go to the HSDL website, I can see and print out the 'DEALING HISTORY' for the period. I can also see and print out the 'CASH HISTORY' for the period. This shows the schedule of sales & purchases OK, but when it comes to dividends it indicates only the date, cash amount and 'Internal movement from income statement - Income sweep: <Security Name>'.

I could reconstruct a full simple transaction schedule from all this, or just pencil in the full details on the 'ISA CASH MOVEMENT SCHEDULE', but really: Why should I need to?

HSDL's online ISA statements have always been weird. Nothing has changed here. Nobody knows why they made it so complicated. I have just had a look at one of the half yearly (now quarterly) statements for my ISA. They are fine. They provide a simple cash statement that includes purchases, sales and dividends, as one would expect. Of course, it would be a lot simpler to find things if they just provided annual statements, but that is another matter.

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Re: Broker IT Systems

#139434

Postby XFool » May 16th, 2018, 6:59 pm

RececaDron wrote:In terms of the stakeholders involved, customers don't really get a look-in on most new systems development...

The primary - and often only beneficiaries - are the staff involved, primarily in terms of CV maintenance and career enhancement.

Developers are desperate to ensure they're seen to be involved with the latest IT trends so their skillsets remain portable and sellable; management are desperate to ensure they're seen to be successfully managing and delivering "change" projects using the currently in-vogue methodologies.

I have absolutely no inside experience in this area to go on but for a variety of reasons - having once read an anonymous(!) article by an IT insider and having thought about these matters for myself - this makes a lot of sense to me.

I remember all those past adverts and claims about "a shortage of IT staff in the UK". As you describe, the nature of things in IT means there is ALWAYS a 'shortage' of IT staff!

XFool
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Re: Broker IT Systems

#139438

Postby XFool » May 16th, 2018, 7:24 pm

OZYU wrote:In general I would agree that the teams implementing today's investment platform systems have generally not got a clue. And the basic concepts of seeking to understand user needs, testing before release, or roll back if the 'upgrade' (which most of the time is a downgrade) goes pear shaped have disappeared.

Speaking as a complete amateur, that has been my growing impression for a number of years now. How can things be getting steadily worse, as they do feel to be? I find it very puzzling indeed, but with no knowledge of what is happening inside all I can do is speculate as to causes.

BTW My browser developer 'updated' their Forum software recently (the upgrade was buggy and so then had to be patched) and also implemented a log on message to users to acknowledge the upcoming GDPR regulations. Simple, no? But this simple 'message' seemed to be the original forum registration page with no explanation or mention of GDPR and referring to 'optional' selections that you now couldn't get past without ticking. Absolute chaos!


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