CMSF 2017 – A perspective from FinTech Alley

As a participant in the superannuation industry for many years, I was intrigued by the prospect of being an exhibitor rather than a delegate at CMSF 2017. The intrigue was heightened because we were participating in the inaugural FinTech Alley concept. It was also our first ever conference outing as a firm.

Fortunately, we have an awesome team so for me personally, getting to the conference was pretty simple. We were showing off PractiFI for Superannuation for the first time since introducing our new single page application user experience, so it’s fair to say there were a few sleepless nights for members of our technical team in the lead up to the event.

In the days since the conference, quite a few FinTech and RegTech firms have asked me for my view on whether the investment was worth it. Rather than making you read the whole post, let me address that up front – yes, it was definitely worth it.

At the risk of sounding effusively positive and cliched, without attending events like CMSF, we would never reach that breadth of audience with our brand. Yes, marketing of all types is useful and yes, mass marketing probably puts our logo in front of more faces. What other marketing channels can’t do as well as a live event, is engage with the individual making the enquiry. Even social media can’t deliver the same level of engagement, though the Millenials may disagree with me.

PractiFI is a business management and customer engagement platform, and attending CMSF 2017 was an excellent way for us to engage with our potential customers.


One engagement aspect of the conference that worked well for us was the use of Poken. It’s a neat scanning tool that delivers the exhibitor the details of delegates who ‘tap’ at the stand or ‘shake’ with a member of your team. By engaging with you, they are transferred a copy of your preloaded marketing content – and you can have quite a lot across a broad range of file formats, including video. There are obvious time, cost and environmental benefits to this over old-school paper brochureware.

Delegates are incentivised to maximise Poken activity, so plenty swing by the stand initially for the Poken credits, but stay or come back for a longer chat at a more convenient time in the program. We gathered far more information through this process than expected which was a great surprise when we got back the office.

For us, it was also great to be able to circulate with potential integration partners as well as more established technology firms. Every day is a learning experience and we certainly took away plenty of tips for our next conference outing from the conferencing pros.

FinTech Alley itself was a series of small stands along one edge of the main trade hall. Gathered there were a slightly eclectic mix of firms, each looking to impress upon delegates the merits of their offering. In my time on our stand, I witnessed some of the camaraderie you expect from this group. Warm hand-offs between stands and even the upselling of one another’s benefits as delegates moved along.

There were, of course, the high-budget, large format stands of the major players too. My personal favourite was that of TAL. They managed to deploy masseuses to keep delegates fresh throughout the days and those manning the stand seemed to always be smiling.  

Full points to the Gold Coast Exhibition and Conference Centre staff and AIST organisers for catering. Food was great quality, plentiful and varied throughout. Drinks were generous and the evening sessions provided a great sampling of our company preferred beverage, red wine.

If there is one criticism, I’d say it was a shame not to be able to attend the plenary sessions. Most technology conferences broadcast these to TVs in the trade hall, so perhaps CMSF 2018 will introduce this feature too.

And a final suggestion on behalf of the FinTech Alley crew: perhaps a ten minute open mic session in the trade hall to ply our wares. After all, we love a soapbox.

All the pieces don’t give you all the power

In a recent meeting with a superannuation fund CEO, the conversation turned to that greatest of challenges faced by all funds: creating genuine relationships with members.

His point was simple: most members are simply account holders, with no allegiance to the brand, no affinity for the values of the fund and no reason to see themselves as a part of something bigger.

The same can be said of life insurance policyholders.

For all of the data collected, a comprehensive understanding of the customer is still elusive; an almost mythical utopia that will forever remain out of reach. But why?

A comprehensive understanding of the customer is still elusive; an almost mythical utopia that will forever remain out of reach. But why?

The problem is impersonal, disconnected information.

Registry systems manage accounts, not people. In fact they often can’t tell if multiple accounts are owned by the same person, or just people with alike names. Similarly, policy admin systems manage policies, not people, and often have no idea that John Smith and Jonathan Smith are the same individual.

Throw a marketing system, a CRM and a finance system into the mix and the number of data siloes multiplies. Where’s the real customer amongst it all?

The big wealth firms tried to solve the problem with business intelligence. BI and data warehouses help, but they’re read-only, after the fact and not front and centre when customer interactions are happening.

The CEO in my story, however, is savvy. He’d already turned to the leading platform for running a genuinely customer-centric business: Salesforce. It’s the obvious choice if you’re serious about truly understanding your customer.

But the CEO’s experience with Salesforce left him confused. He knew that its capabilities are amazing, but he learned that it’s an incredibly rich toolkit that, out of the box, is in no way ready for use in his business.

The [fund] CEO’s experience with Salesforce left him confused. It’s an incredibly rich toolkit that, out of the box, is in no way ready for use in his business.

He likened it to buying LEGO. Sure, there’s a picture on the box of some amazing creations you might build. But how?

Salesforce is the best LEGO around, but to create the solution you need to run a superannuation fund, you need to know a lot. Not just about LEGO, but about superannuation.

The same is true for applying Salesforce to a life insurer, an advice practice or any wealth business.

We created PractiFI because we already knew the Salesforce toolkit and the detailed nuances of the wealth industry. We created a solution that brings together all the disconnected customer information across the business and makes it personal.

We created PractiFI because we knew Salesforce and wealth. We created a solution that brings together all the disconnected customer information and makes it personal.

Other great Salesforce partners have done the same in other verticals. Veeva crafted Salesforce for pharmaceutical; Propertybase for real estate; Jobscience for recruitment.

PractiFI reshapes Salesforce for wealth management.

I loved the moment when the savvy superannuation CEO realised that he could build genuinely rich member relationships without having to build something from scratch. It’s exactly what PractiFI is about.

Press Release: PractiFI & Omnium bring transparency to insurance advice

In a first for the Australian wealth sector, Omnium’s industry-leading life insurance research solution, OmniLife, has been integrated into the PractiFI platform as a fully branded tool.

“This is a game changer for the superannuation and advice industries”, PractiFI CEO Glenn Elliott said today.

“PractiFI is the only wealth platform that integrates best-of-breed industry tools as branded partners, not just white-labelled”, Elliott said.

“We’ve put OmniLife right there, front and centre for more advisers. It’s about choice.”

“Several large AMP advice practices, including PFG Financial Services, have already selected PractIFI to run their businesses.”

Omnium’s Trishanth Chandrahasan endorsed the PractiFI partnership.

“We’re really excited about integrating OmniLife with a truly forward thinking wealth management platform, and even more excited about what’s to come for this powerful collaboration”.

“Transparent partnerships like this offer genuine choice in wealth technology”, said PractiFI’s Glenn Elliott.

He added “I’m thrilled that we’ve been able to bring the OmniLife integration to market so quickly.”


About PractiFI 
PractiFI is the platform for running wealth businesses on Salesforce. PractiFI connects financial advice, superannuation/pensions, insurance, investments and lending onto Salesforce.

Media enquiries
Jeremy Goff
M: +61 411 477233