NML

Nedgroup Investments Secure Site

Custom Software Development, CMS

A secure, multi-tier fund management platform for brokers, financial planners and individual investors to transact and manage and analyse their portfolios.

Project Overview

approached NML to rebuild their Secure site. Our combination of technical know-how and NML's agile approach ensured that a total rewrite of their site was delivered quickly and to very high quality. The new site was noticeably faster (one of the key goals), more pleasing to the eye, and handled communication to several back-end systems robustly and transparently.

Among other things, the secure site boasts the following features:

  • Allowing users, financial planners and financial planning businesses to view the status of their investments.
  • Allowing users to invest, switch funds and make withdrawals from the site.
  • A flexible reporting framework, making it easy to create new reports.
  • Tools and calculators for Financial Planners, including integration with Morningstar.
  • A scheduling tool for use by Financial Planners to email statements to their investors automatically on a regular basis.
  • Pre-populated PDF form downloads.
  • Security model differentiates between users and the 'perspectives' those users have of the system.

Through-out development, security was of the utmost importance. The source code went through several security audits to ensure there were no security flaws in the code. NML used modern technologies, as well as development best practices like automated testing and continuous integration through-out the project, leading to a top quality solution.

Technology

  • 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

Architecture

The project consists of a multi-tier system integrating a number of different technologies to provide a solution focused on speed and security. The challenge was to combine existing infrastructure and services with new solutions required by the system.

Architecture
  • 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

The system now integrates with Morningstar and provides several useful tools to financial planners, integrated with the financial planner’s own financial data.

Tools provided include:

  • Market data charts
  • Portfolio risk analysis tools
  • Portfolio benchmarking tools to compare portfolios to various benchmarks and international indexes
NGISS

Application Architecture

A technical discussion about the technology stack, object oriented and service oriented design patterns that were adopted.

  • 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
    • Manual testing
Application architecture

Caching

  • 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.

Domain Model

Domain model
A simplification (for illustration purposes) of the Nedgroup Investments Domain Model

Design

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

Landing Page for investor
Regiotration
The site now allows users to register and login without needing intervention from call center using wizard-driven approach.
Grid based design
The site uses grid-based design to provide consistent layout and display of data.
Navigation
Revamped navigation control structure that is configurable by site administrator – combination of menus and drop downs.
PDF downloads
Prepopulated PDF downloads based on user perspective

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.

Regulation 28 Calculator

The Regulation 28 calculator allows financial planners to experiment with new portfolio compositions, but making sure that the new portfolio would still adhere to the new Regulation 28 legislation.

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.

Bulk Report Scheduler

Enhanced Statements

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.

Enhanced statements
Enhanced Statements