Neal Jannels is managing director of One Mortgage System (OMS)

Last weekend I was out for a long walk with my wife. I couldn’t really be bothered, but it was a nice enough day and, let’s be honest, there’s not a huge amount else to do on our down time at the moment.

To cut a long walk story short, upon getting back home she immediately panicked and convinced herself that she had somehow lost her phone somewhere on route.

Neal Jannels OMS

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After bolting out of the door and retracting our steps as best we could, she was resigned to the fact that it was gone. Only to then ‘miraculously’ find it on the kitchen table.

I have no further comment to make other than her main concern was not really the phone itself, after all it is fully insured, but it was around the fact that some photos on there had not been backed up as the phone had insufficient data storage.

And no, they were not those kind of photos. As I ‘calmly’ informed her, it’s relatively easy to back up and transfer data from device to device and from system to system.

Gone are the days of having to go into a phone shop for an upgrade and having no idea which contacts were saved where, if at all. Or so I thought.

Data is everywhere and how we manage this is crucial in both our personal and business lives, although its usage and how it is extracted can sometimes raise more questions than answers.

For example, I recently saw an article which outlined that WhatsApp recently changed its terms of service and privacy policy so that it can share user data with Facebook whenever users message businesses that use Facebook through the app.

Now I’m not really sure about the ins and outs of such an agreement, but I have seen some comments expressing concern around the potential negative privacy implications of this update, as well as a removal of the option to opt out.

When it comes to the intermediary market, the value of data continues to grow but the ownership of this data can prove to be something of a grey area depending upon the systems they use and the agreements they have in place with their tech provider.

I’ve heard anecdotal tales of advisers being quoted what I consider to be substantial fees for extracting and transferring their own data.

This demonstrates how important it is for all intermediary firms to ask the right questions of their tech providers before entering into any agreement.

And for the tech providers to be fully transparent around the ownership of data, how it can be used, if there are any potential extraction costs and the time it may take to undertake this process.

If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that service providers need to be as upfront and honest with their clients as possible. When advisers choose a system, they should get everything from day one and there should be full transparency and disclosure from the start about all the features which are available to them.

So, make sure that you’re asking the right questions of your tech providers to help get the most out of your data.