Interactive Financial advice via Internet

Attractive Interactive WWW pages

The pages can contain useful information and tools; specifically a tax return calculator, salary deductions calculator, dividend calculator, perhaps leisure and travel information, world economy, post-retirement lifestyle, and future senarios of the welfare state. This is designed to entice the reader into the site (Unlike other advertising media, Internet content cannot be forced on the viewer). Links to anecdotes and products may be sprinkled in here.

Tax planner

The client can enter all details of their personal or company tax return. The program can perform all threshold checking, rates and special rules and generate a printout or file in the official format. The advantage is that the client can get immediate calculation of his tax liability and can experiment with different salary, dividend, pension and covenant arrangements. There is also an advantage for you, the IFA, in that you can build in tests for relevant opportunities (based on actual sums) to improve the outcome for the client and make suggestions. Without this particular client data you would not be able to target your suggestions accurately and concretely. The potential profit available from this client can be assessed and a decision made as to whether a human IFA should be involved. The Human IFAs will then only need to deal with very hot prospects and will already have most of the relevant data collected, thus saving time at the meeting and will enable pre-meeting planning.

Insurance, Pension and Investments Premium Indication

The client is guided to select various reasonable parameters for inflation, investment return, retirement date, health costs, lifespan and salary. He should be permitted to match the depth of the session to his level of interest. The information must be confidential (encrypted with a password of his choosing). A premium indication can be given, together with computed optimum contributions depending on current tax laws. Any notes or supplementary information should be available with a single click. In later sessions he should be able to add or delete information (avoiding tedious repetition of facts already entered in previous sessions). The aim is to allow him to explore his options and tailor the policy to his needs or means.


When the user is satisfied with the returns and costs, he may click a button to obtain a quotation. It is at this point that it would be appropriate to capture name and address. A printable representation of the quote can be made available for the user, or he can request that one be posted to him.

Statements and transactions

Existing policy holders can securely identify themselves and then generate statements and reports of the current investment performance and balances. They may experiment with revised estimations of inflation, returns, tax laws, and salary etc and perhaps adjust contributions to match the new situation.

Can it be done?

Yes. The technology for cost effective interactive secure content became available in 1996. Cycom has been testing the technology. It does work. Browsers incorporating the needed features will be widespread by 3rd quarter 1997.

Cycom has secure rich client technology demonstrated at Club Cycom.


The browsing public may not visit the site. They may not trust confidentiality arrangements. They may not use the service. The sales volume might not then justify the development costs (perhaps £200K). The service may cause other investment companies to follow with similar schemes and your product may not bear direct comparison (you have a poor value product!).


Over the next 5-10 years, Internet insurance shopping may become the norm. The company using this means will have fewer overheads than non-users and will gradually increase market share. It may be more difficult/expensive to catch up if you wait. Witness the success of early adopters of direct telesales.