A secure, multi-tier fund management platform for brokers, financial planners and individual investors to transact and manage and analyse their portfolios.
Building Nedgroup Investments' Self-Service Investment Portal
Problem: Financial planners and investors need an online system where they can manage their portfolios, generate reports, and access the investment tools they need on a daily basis.
Solution: A self-service investment portal with robust security and powerful tools designed specifically for financial planning.
Nedgroup Investments (NGI) approached us to design and build a secure and user-friendly self-service investment portal for their clients.
Our solution allowed investors and financial planners to manage investments, generate reports, make projections, transact, inspect data, and access the financial tools they need, all from within NGI's secure client dashboard.
Our agile approach and experience in financial technology meant that we were able to help NGI quickly get to market and respond to their clients' needs.
We built custom investment tools straight into the platform itself, with a robust back-end that can handle thousands of on-demand data queries and plug into various data-sources in a secure environment.
The entire system was designed to equip financial planners with the information they need to make informed and accurate decisions.
We helped Nedgroup Investments reach their goal of offering an online self-service application with powerful security and a user experience that made it a joy for financial planners to use every day.
View the real-time status of your investment portfolio
Transact, switch funds, and make withdrawals directly from within the client interface
Generate custom reports and projections
Built-in tools and calculators for financial planners
Auto-scheduling of email reports and statements
Auto-creation of PDF forms
User-access and client-access security levels
Built-in Capital Gains Calculator
Built-in Regulation 28 Calculator
Built-in TER Calculator
Built-in IRR Calculator
Adobe Analytics to measure and improve the user experience track user activity, and report on user patterns
Market Data Charts
Portfolio Risk Analysis Tools
Portfolio Benchmarking Tools with International Indexes
A Focus on Industry-Leading Security
Financial services businesses require a no-compromise approach to the quality of their software. Security and reliability is of utmost importance, and attention to detail is critical in every stage of development. These were the requirements in the development of NGI's investment portal:
100% up-time and reliability
A fast and responsive user-experience
A user-friendly client interface
An Attention to Detail
Our extensive experience in building financial software has earned us a deep understanding of the various tools, platforms, and technologies required to deliver enterprise-ready solutions. From understanding the user and client needs, to understanding the technical foundation required to build a fully secure and reliable system, our team ensures we remain ahead of current technologies.
The NGI investment portal was built using the following tools and best practice:
ASP.NET MVC v4
KnockoutJS for a dynamic front-end
NUnit, QUnit, TeamCity and Selenium for automated testing and continuous integration
SQL Server for data storage
SOAP web services integration with the back-end
Entity Framework 4 for interaction with the database via a code-first data model
Microsoft Unity for dependency injection
Automapper to translate models into view models
We chose ASP.NET MVC v4 as our development framework to give us the best foundation to work from. ASP.NET MVC v4 is Microsoft's preferred choice and is one of the most secure and reliable frameworks available today.
We used SOAP web services for our back-end integration. While SOAP is generally a very challenging protocol for some developers to work with, it's security features are unmatched.
To achieve the level of stability we needed, it was important to us to maintain an attention to detail throughout development. NUnit and QUnit testing gave us the granular approach we wanted and it allowed us to run every single line of code through a thorough security audit. We set up our automated testing with TeamCity and Selenium for continuous integration to greatly speed up development time while still maintaining a high level of detail in our testing.
Our approach and our choice of technology allowed NGI to get to market quickly, while still delivering on a product that was stable, efficient,and secure.
Building a Strong Foundation
The success of a software solution lies in its architecture. The way various technologies are brought together, the way databases are accessed, and even the location of the information is critical to the end-user experience.
The NGI Investment Portal is a multi-tier system that integrates various technologies to deliver on its speed and security. Our challenge was to design an architecture that combined NGI's existing infrastructure with new, modernised solutions required by the system.
External authentication with Tivoli TIM/TAM
Integrated into front-end’s Asp.Net forms authentication workflow
Local database for site content and security information
Use of middle-tier web services to retrieve data
Reporting services provided by middle-tier using a data warehouse
Data Power devices handling additional hardware-level caching and security
Load balancer distributing load as well as handling additional security checks
Integration with Morningstar and user's own financial data
Details of the technology stack led by object oriented and service oriented design patterns:
Makes use of Microsoft Asp.Net and MVC 4
Manager Pattern to handle various data source integration points (web services, SQL database)
Website-level data caching strategy
Pattern to handle tab containers for grids
Easy security validation
Ease of adding/removing tabs
Strong separation of concerns
Ease of refactoring and unit testing
Complete Continuous Integration stack:
Database re-built from scratch on each build.
Complete suite of unit tests.
Selenium-driven integration tests
All data retrieved from services is cached to reduce network traffic
Administrator has full control over cache
Security Model and Function Units
Central to the system is the concept of a Function Unit – a single logical function that the user can perform. It is used primarily for security purposes but is also able to provide context sensitive FAQs, help information and to drive the display of menu items based on the user’s permission levels.
Function Units are aggregated into Function Areas, allowing for both coarse- and fine-grained security as required.
The Nedgroup Investments Secure Site allows people from both business and client perspectives to view their investment portfolios.
It provides the business, the brokers and the individual investors access to their portfolios. A complete re-build of their existing site, improving on look & feel as well as performance.
View differs based on your current role (Investor, Financial Planner, Business owner, NGI staff
Capital Gains Tax Calculator
The new capital gains tax calculator allows financial planners to experiment with portfolios and see how much gain/loss would be taxable when they withdraw money from their portfolios.
Bulk Report Scheduler
The powerful Bulk Report Scheduler tool allows financial planners to configure automated jobs that execute at specific times (i.e. at the beginning of every quarter). These jobs execute and generate statements and emails the statements to investors on behalf of the financial planner.
The new statement generation framework generates statements consistently across different browsers, and in the same format as physical printed statements sent out by Nedgroup Investments to their clients.