2017 represents a significant milestone for Hansard International as it celebrates thirty years in business, operating from its head office base on the Isle of Man.
Established in 1987 and part of the FTSE-listed Hansard Global plc group, Hansard International is recognised as a stalwart within the industry, one of the ‘first on the scene’ to satisfy the demand for flexible savings and investment solutions for internationally mobile clients.
Despite a thirty year span that has presented unprecedented global economic challenges (not to mention pony tails, shoulder pads & perms), Hansard International boasts the claim of being one of only two companies within the industry to have retained its original identity, name and focus since its formation.
Even now, in March 2017, as many companies within the financial services industry continue to gather their breath and comprehend their future following the many geo-political surprises that 2016 conjured up, with a degree of ‘what on earth is around the corner’ trepidation, Hansard International is busily preparing a blueprint for the next thirty years, confident in its proven resilience and agility, with the freedom to future proof its’ own destiny through the complete autonomy seldom afforded to many of its peers.
A reputation through innovation
Hansard International’s longevity can be attributed to many different factors; its people, its focus on customer service, relationships with the advisor community etc., but it is the company’s focus on innovation through technology where Hansard carved a niche over the years, gaining a considerable following of like-minded innovators from the advisor community in a market where the landscape constantly shifted with the arrival of new subsidiary companies of multi-national, global household brands.
With a headline goal of delivering financial products to internationally mobile clients through the use of ever-changing technology, Hansard quickly established a reputation as an innovator in the 80s and 90s, scooping numerous industry awards. With the arrival of the worldwide web to the masses in the 1990s, Hansard was quick to realise the potential role of technology in transcending traditional boundaries, launching ‘Hansard Online’ (or ‘HOL’ as it is known to the thousands of financial advisers that use it every year) in 1999. HOL continues to be central to the Hansard proposition to this day, with over 90% of new business submitted via a seamless, totally online, end-to-end platform, with over 2 million client reports generated using HOL each year.
Of course, great technology counts for nothing if it doesn’t serve as a vehicle to provide customers with what they want (see ‘Minidisc’ and ‘Sinclair C5’ to name but two). With this in mind, and fundamental to the evolution of Hansard Online is the close working relationship that Hansard maintains with its advisors around the world, ensuring that they are central to its development, resulting in an online solution that it can be confident meets their respective needs.
In 2014 an ambitious strategic growth plan was shared with staff, advisors, shareholders and city analysts. The plan was purposely bold, putting faith in the previously proven strategy of always looking forward, thinking big and being well placed to adapt in an industry that has welcomed many new entrants, and waved goodbye to many others during the last three decades.
Early signs are certainly promising, with Hansard establishing lots of new distribution agreements in its core markets and new business growth driving the group forward, year on year.
A momentous example of this is the recent announcement of Hansard’s strategic alliance with the major UAE insurance giant, Union Insurance. Leveraging Hansard’s specialism in providing slick online administration systems & intuitive advisor/client technology, Union Insurance launched its new ‘Infinity’ savings and investment proposition to the UAE market in February 2017, which will be powered by HOL technology.
To the next thirty years!
Hansard International is a company that has chosen to never stand still, to ‘thrive rather than survive’ in an industry where innovators are rewarded. So whilst 2017 will be a year of celebration, it will also be a year of looking forward, planning ahead and laying the foundations for the next thirty years.
By Gareth Maguire, Head of Marketing Communications, Hansard International