Origo – Four of our proudest achievements in 2021
Antony Rafferty, CEO of Origo, reflects on four of the Edinburgh-based FinTechâ€™s key achievements over the past year.
While 2021 has been another year that most people are probably glad to see the back of, as this time of year is traditional a period when we take a step back and reflect, I feel as a company we should take the time to consider what we have achieved.
Origo has a 30-year history of delivering technology solutions that make a difference to the financial services industry and to the consumers buying its products and services. Our expertise is in identifying the pain points for the providers, platforms, software companies, and financial advisers in the market and delivering a utility solution that solves the issue and whicheveryone can buy into.
We are proudly based in Edinburgh, but we work collaboratively with companies from the UK and overseas in delivering our industry solutions.
This year there are four areas I would like to highlight where, despite the pandemic, we have been able to help the industry become more efficient, more cost effective and as a result, help deliver better outcomes for consumers.
1. Being selected to build and run the core architecture of the UK Pensions Dashboards.
This year Origo was delighted to be able to announce that Capgemini and Origo had been appointed to supply the central digital architecture for the Pensions Dashboards Programme (PDP).
Pensions Dashboards will enable pension holders to identify and see displayed their pension policy data, which will help them make more informed decisions around their retirement planning.
This is a project we feel particularly passionate about and Origo was fully committed to progressing pensions dashboards from the day the project was announced. We see it as a major milestone in helping UK citizens to prepare for their futures.
PDP stated that the Capgemini/Origo bid was successful â€œdue to its quality and value for money, plus the credibility and expertise of both parties to deliver the contract.â€
2. Driving integration between systems and software.
One of the bugbears of our industry is that systems and software needed to run financial services businesses do not talk to one another and so force the re-keying or manual transfer of data and information between them. Not only does that increase risk to businesses but it makes for inefficient, overly time consuming and so costly operations. The solution is to integrate between companies and systems. In the past that has meant point-to-point integration between individual companies, which is expensive, resource heavy and requires ongoing maintenance and updating as rules, regulation and legislation changes.
As an industry solution, we launched the Origo Integration Hub, which enables participants to integrate once with the Hub and then operate with any other user. Currently, these arefor key operations, such as valuations, account opening, remuneration, transfer tracking and bulk transaction history, and further developments are in hand.
The Hub also helps drive competition and innovation, by levelling the playing field for all players, no matter how deep their pockets.
In 2021 signings to the Hub doubled and we now have over 40 companies integrated, from large providers to innovative new joiners to the market.
3. Doing away with inefficient paper-based systems.
Given we are in the 21st century, it is surprising that paper is still used to the extent that it is in our industry. While tackling operational inefficiencies has not been top of the priority list for financial services firms during the pandemic, for obvious reasons, this is now beginning to receive renewed focus amongst providers as they see it as a means to reduce costs and create operational differentiation in the market.
The Letter of Authority process, which is the way financial advisers notify providers that they are authorised to work with new clients, is a case in point. Currently, advisers have to manually fill in forms and have them signed by the client and then email, or in some cases fax them, to providers. Origo is making a dent in this with our Unipass Letter of Authorityservice, a way for providers to help simplify the current ad hoc way Letters of Authority are processed, creating a utility that delivers greater efficiencies for providers and adviser firms alike.
4. Keeping communications secure.
Cyber security has definitely risen up the priority list for financial services firms in 2021. As an industry we are handling huge amounts of personal and confidential information about individuals, which, if it falls into the hands of criminals, can be used to scam them or steal their identities. This can lead to devastating consequences for individuals as well as fines and reputational damage for the companies involved.
One of the most commonly used ways to communicate, i.e. email, is often the most vulnerable. This vulnerability is why we launched Unipass Mailock as a centralised industry utility to help businesses of all sizes secure their communications.
It encrypts email to keep the contents safe, combined with dual factor authentication, so the sender knows only the intended recipient can open it, and an audit trail is created for compliance purposes.
Two of the industryâ€™s larger providers â€“ Aegon and Royal London â€“ started using Unipass Mailock in the past year to protect their communications with intermediaries and their clients and other companies are in the pipeline to go live.
These are four of our achievements over the past year. We arenot a large company and all that we have achieved is because of the dedication and expertise of our people, who, working together, physically and virtually, have done great things despite the pandemic.
If you havenâ€™t done it already, I highly recommend taking a step back and contemplating your achievements this year. 2021 may not have provided the best environment for success but I will bet you will find youâ€™ve achieved more than you think you have.