Migration from ii site to 'New' site


#1

To state my position, I am mostly dissatisfied with the downgrade of functionality from ii to the TD platform as I have lost the things that I liked and used daily and haven’t gained anything positive in return. From reading responses on here for other queries, it seems that you are embarking on building a new, enhanced website, which makes me wonder why you didn’t do that first (with a proper beta feedback process) and then migrate ii and TD customers to this new platform, with functionality that meant with all clients’ expectations?. As an II customer I have endured one (disappointing) migration, which made me question why I was using your platform and will now have another one at some point hereafter.
Anyway aside from this, all I ask for is that the Book Cost and Gain columns are totalled into my base currency GBP, using relevant FX rates, so I can see a Profit/Loss on my total portfolio at a glance…


#2

I agree with the comments made by gknowles, I can’t see any advantage gained by the users. Furthermore, when you are doing a trade, buying and selling becomes much more expensive because the spread mysteriously widens. There is some sing wrong because by the time you discover what the price is the trade has already been completed!


#3

I am also in agreement. From reading the avalanche of negative comments on trustpilot since the launch of the new site I suppose it would not occur to senior management to actually poll the original ii users ( easy via secure message) and establish whether in fact they would prefer the NEW platform to perform in terms of functionality in the same way as the old rather than charging the IT devs with hashing up something which at best will please those who have the interest to join the beta. I notice just 16 users have cast their votes on the latest poll on a new page layout. No one in posession of all their faculties would suggest this produces a representative sample to make design choices upon.
My gripe is with ii senior management who have demonstrated an inexplicable contempt for their customers in the way they handled the merger of the two platforms. The comments left by cust service staff which attempt to deflect rather than answer criticism are patronising in the extreme.
I myself have no issue at all with new or different but it has to be an IMPROVEMENT in terms of navigation and functionality. As the trustpilot reviews appear to demonstrate many feel that which has been foisted upon us falls woefully short.


#4

Thanks to all for commenting on this topic. It is an interesting area and perhaps a candidate for a business case study in the fullness of time…That being said the bottom line on “why did ii do what they did, when they did and how they did it”, is that all alternatives would have cost more money.

The broad strokes were that we were co-running two very expensive technology stacks which were burning a huge hole in our P&L and as such we were all steam ahead to combine and get the scale/tech economies. Obviously the list of features that we wanted to build into the previous TD platform (to fully satisfy ii migrated customers) was a big one. However as with all software development processes there is a return-on-investment decision to be made as well as an opportunity cost decision. In this case we had to draw the line at what we felt was the minimum viable “new” experience and push that live with a view to adding more later once we where able to save the costs from the co-running and pipe a bunch of the saving back into development investment.

A small example of this in respect to the trading platform you are using is the changes we are making to the portfolio investments page. On the point that @martinhz makes about the number in the poll…more is always welcome but it told us what we needed to know…that there is a range of preferences which we should try to accommodate with user choice.

On the suggestion that I or my team are not in the possession of our faculties…I would say two things to you. First this community exists purely to give those that wish to give a view a platform on which to do so. Second, I invite you to do some research on usability study and user choice…if you do you will see there is conclusive evidence that you can uncover the vast majority of issues that a wide user population has by only asking the view of 5-8 people…

As far as the new beta is concerned, some of our community members seem to be getting a little bit mixed up. The beta is an entirely separate project developed by a separate team and with a separate set of objectives for it’s first phase. It will only be in the second phase of the beta (from around June) that we will begin to craft the new trading and portfolio management experience. For now the focus of our development and our research is around the content and research section of our proposition.

To that end I welcome all community members to regularly visit our beta site and share your views on it’s ongoing genesis. If you have little interest in phase 1 of our beta (content and research), then I would suggest that you either come back here in around 6 months or be patient with us as the current focus of the beta team (which this community represents) is elsewhere.


#5

Why didnt ii stick to their superior site instead of migrating us all to the TD Direct site? Even secure mesages end up a typograhical mess. Why didnt they migrate TD direct customers? Wouldnt have cost any more surely. Too late now, but management are left with a load of unhappy customers.


#6

As well as being unable to calculate true profit due to the loss of the book cost, Senior management seem to have discarded the improvements collated by Hamish through all his hard work over the previous months. Further regression in website quality has appeared with things like the Popups which are not true windows, cannot be scrolled or moved, obscure underlaying information (such as original message during the REPLY to a SM - and for that, you STILL cant use Microsoft Internet Explorer because Windows standards are not being followed). And don’t get me started on CSV extract changes
Its very exasperating.
Neil.


#7

@charlesdavidb @NeilJLMacpherson These are good questions and points.

Believe me, when I tell you, that I more than anyone was very disappointed when the decision was made (which I have discussed at length) to migrate to TD rather than the other way around. In short it was a risk led decision. There is less risk around migrating a smaller population it is as simple as that. It was also felt that the java backend was more future proof that the php backend this the old ii platform used…although this is clearly more subjective.

This decision also meant that 2 years of work by me and my team in building our previous beta was mothballed. Which I have also written about.

however - and this is the point I wish ALL of you to understand clearly…

That time and effort was not wasted and what we learned was not lost. At the risk of turning into a broken record, the no.1 development priority here at ii now is building a clean slate site which will replace everything you are using today. Simply put taking a green field approach is the only viable way to build the experience you/we all want.

The legacy code stack which the current trading platform is based on is a mess frankly that was built out in layers over years with little in the way of continuity and there was a country mile away from user experience led agile methodologies. This IS changing.

Whilst there is a small team remaining who will be making tactical changes to the trading platform in the coming weeks/months, we are now primarily building it’s replacement and this community will be the tip of the spear in seeing this happen and keeping you all involved.

We will also be growing this community and other ways in which we engage with our customers to make sure that the new trading experience we build is first and foremost serving our customers and not just our internal stakeholders. Or to put it another way…you are our most important stakeholders.

Whilst we set about this work I ask you all for three things:

  1. have faith that me and my team will do our task well
  2. exercise patience while we set about building our collective future
  3. stick around and give us your feedback on what we build

if you are willing to do these then you have my sincere thanks :handshake:


#8

I am very happy to keep faith because the fact this site is giving us the opportunity to voice our opinions and dissatisfaction is unique in my experience. I look forward to the improvements. However, I know from my own experience, that Top Management are not always receptive, so I hope your team has the powers of persuasion over a Management that has already mothballed 2 years of your work and learned from
takins a risk which has backfired on them.
I also hope that your work is properly tested before it is launched. I also have an account with what used to be Barclays Stockbrokers, now Barclays (not so) Smart Investor. It was and still is, a total fiasco. Treats experienced investors like novices and is inferior in every way to their old site. Unfortunately there is no opportunity for feedback and when there is, in my experience, they ignore the comments. At least at ii we have the opportunity of input which i appreciate. Good luck


#9

My first thought is to offer my sincere condolences: PHP and Java is not what I’d wish on anyone!

Your explanation was clear, and although I never think the “big rewrite” is ever the answer, I doubt it will be the worst case you could do given the circumstances. What I would like to question though is why aren’t you building on top of the existing beta that you already put so much work into. Most of a website is design and layout, so if you have much of that done, re-using it should make the task a lot quicker and easier.

Its a shame though as I rather liked the old III website. It was plain but it worked. And frankly, plain and usable beats fancy every time, despite how much the marketing fairies think extra glitter is always needed.

So what’s the “cool new” the new site’s being written in? (for us nerds)


#10

Always happy to talk tech. :nerd_face:

It is worth however reading the post I wrote about why we had to shut down our previous beta, as this goes into some of the tech. However the short answer is that the previous beta used php on the server side whereas the stack which was built years ago around figaro (the back-office trading platform that all our customers use following the migration) is all in java.

On the front end side the trading platform you are using today uses angular 1 JS and a fairly vanilla instance of bootstrap 3 css. Our previous beta was angular 2/node and also bootstrap (custom). However the api’s and data sources were completely different and as such we felt that putting the previous beta front-end onto the java/figaro back-end was too risky.

Our new beta site uses a lightweight set of java micro-services with react js and foundation xy grid. We are not using a css framework beyond the grid, instead opting to write all of our own css custom. We are also going/have gone full AWS cloud as opposed to the on-site racks for the old (aka current) situation. We are taking a more modern dev-ops approach with developer-driven automated testing that will allow us to ramp up to continuous delivery (e.g. daily).

There are a bunch of other tools and services we are using in a support capacity such as elastic search for - all this search. We are also using Dynamo DB (NoSQL) to store raw market data - so we can do more interesting things with it than just display - raw data! Dynamo will probably be where we also store user data like site preferences and virtual portfolio in due course.

The last piece of the puzzle for phase 1 will be a discussion forum for investment chat - where the plan is to use a version of discourse.org - which is the same tech we use for this community.

When it comes to building in the trading and portfolio management features in phase 2 the plan is to build a complete set of micro services which sit between the react app and the figaro back-office. The goal here as far as I am concerned is to build in abstraction from figaro so that we can eventually build our own back-office and become less reliant on figaro.

Figaro, if you are interested, began life as a wealth management platform and isn’t really designed from the ground up to be a scalable retail investment platform. I personally believe we could do a much better job through cutting them out…but this is going into crystal ball territory.


#11

Cool stuff. Good luck with the java :slight_smile:

i always worry about using NoSQL as its almost never a solution to anything, but maybe for discrete and unlinked data such as stocks it would work out, but a relational DB would give you that,with the same performance, and not be an extra dependency to manage. The folks who wrote diaspora found that out (and Sarah Mei blogged about it), so the day you decide to (eg) display stocks that have performed similarly to another, you’re going to hit the same problems.

Microservices is my new favourite architecture though, easy to secure, easy to scale, easy to develop so I look forward to the new site appearing.


#12

Please permit non UK residents to sign up for the new platform and permit migration from a research account holder too.


#13

I appreciate the request and will ask why it is the way it is and if there is anything that can be done.

Although I am guessing this will not help you, we are shortly to make changes where we can accept account opens from people with US nationality…which is currently not the case.


#14

Many thanks for the immediate reply Hamish. I wouldn’t have minded except the signing up details permit being born in almost any country in the world so why discriminate because a person was a resident but no longer is?


#15

I think part of the issue is concerned with our identity verification process which requires a UK debit card and then matches this debit card against a UK address.

Changing identity verification for a financial services company is…not trivial.

I will still confirm the skinny on it, though…


#16

Hi Hamish,

Thank you for your speedy reasoning. Although I accept that
identity verification is a very important issue for financial institutions I do not accept that a UK address paired with a debit card is any different than a UK offshore bank pairing that information with an EU address. No bank works on its own there is a verification process, for example, if a UK resident visits a foreign country and takes cash from a ATM. In any case this is NOT a person removing funds from the UK to invest in a non UK company. Money is being brought INTO the UK by a foreign resident. Why it that a difficulty? It might be the other way round I accept.

Regards,

DE Watson


#17

From what I know (which I need to check)…The issue is less of a policy problem and more of a technology problem, or more specifically a data + tech problem. Such problems in turn become a cost problem.

In simple terms we pay a 3rd party who has database access to some kind of combination of UK bank accounts and UK postal addresses. I would imagine that this same data provider either does not have the same data for other EU countries or it does and it is more expensive.

Either way the complexity of implementing such an international solution would be exponentially more complicated (costly) and as such there would have to be a very solid business case for the return on investment.

My gut feel (which I will try to substantiate) is that the business case would be weak (i.e. high cost/low payoff) and as such it will not come into our roadmap.

However - and this is an important point - doing ID&V via debit card/address is very old school and really we should be moving on from it. Doing so will be a strong business case as we would not need to ask applicants for their debit card - something we know they don’t like doing. If we solved this problem then we might solve your issue at the same time.

All I can say for now is no immediate plan for such change but watch this space.


#18

Once again I must thank you for your speedy response. It is not just ii who are incapable of resolving this issue because such institutions as Nat West, Santander, other online brokers etc and the whole financial profession will not recognise we have entered the 21st century. I really fail to understand each of each counties financial institution have security identification in place. The banks no longer operate on their own all are obliged to share information with tax authorities. It cannot be a much larger step to be able to share information on some sort of internationally recognised database across borders between. Most large financial institutions have close relationships with their counter part and are sometime interdependent to commercially related banks across the world. I really do not believe it is a matter of expense it is a matter of unwillingness to address this longstanding account issue of being able to use other country’s institution in fear of losing business to a more efficient, more technically flexible foreign organisation. Shame on them it is well time this was changed to the benefit of the international individual.


#19

Pretty soon the Open Banking initiative will be beginning to be implemented. You could read a customer’s banking details directly from the bank if they gave you the right permission, each bank will be providing APIs to consume this, and I assume it will apply to all banks across the EU as its an EU directive.

And then get your own copy of PAF - IIRC its not that expensive, Cyclops, a 3rd party reseller of PAF as an online API charge 0.1p per click.


#20

I am personally open to the provision of an API to allow ii account info to be read by another app or vice versa. Although I doubt that this will be done by any brokers until mandated to do so via such a directive.