Most of us find it hard enough to choose a mortgage or a pension. But the independent financial adviser (IFA) is expected to be an expert on the hundreds of new deals produced by lenders each week. Warwick-based Independent Specialist Technology, trading as 1st Software, has built its fortunes by simplifying life for IFAs. Its software allows them to record data on each client, so they not only offer advice on investments for the client’s present situation, but can also recommend products later. The company’s software is used by 700 IFAs in Britain and by the private-client departments of large professional-services companies such as Andersen and Deloitte and Touche. It was founded in 1996 by two former software engineers, Mik Cons and Rory Curran, and has increased sales 112% a year from £352,000 in 1997 to £3.3m in 2000, when it had 38 staff.
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