Alan has a strong background in business and customer engagement, and significant experience in leading IT projects. His extensive experience working in IT across different types of business across the North East makes him a great asset to Lowes, where he has rejoined with this experience under his belt from five years working as an analyst programmer at the company from 2000-05.
Alan’s previous position to rejoining Lowes was head of IT at Wirecard Solutions, where he worked for nearly three years. Prior to this, he worked as a lead software developer at Home Group for a year and as a product line manager at Newcastle Building Society for more than four years. Alan has also worked for FTSE 100 company Sage.
Lowes Financial Management has always put strong IT systems at the heart of its strategy and was one of the first firms to utilise desktop PCs in the early 1980s. Lowes was a joint founder of the Newcastle company Fairs plc which launched the first computerised administration software for financial advisers. Strong operational processes, alongside leading investment performance, has seen the company grow to a 67-strong team, amassing more than £600m of assets under advice.
In addition to the development of its internal systems, the company has become a renowned expert in a specific type of investment, structured products, and launched a research comparison site available for all UK advisers to help them understand and invest in these products. Since its launch in 2009, StructuredProductReview.com has in excess of 10,000 registered advisers, paraplanners, compliance officers and other industry professionals, as well as the trade and national press.
It is now one of the leading tools used by advisers to research the investments. In a recent survey of registered users, 86% of the adviser and paraplanner respondents stated that the site is essential for research, with 78% stating that it is their primary structured product research tool, while 93% of the respondents stated they do or would recommend StructuredProductReview.com to fellow advisers.
A similar site, but for an investor audience, CompareStructuredProducts.com has its roots in an online service launched 15 years ago and has more than 3,000 registered users.
Further projects planned by Lowes Financial Management are the launch of two new services, one for investors and another for industry professionals, under two new brands, which will require strong IT capabilities to build and develop.
Ian Lowes, managing director, Lowes Group plc said: “I am excited to welcome Alan back on board at a time when the business is expanding into different services for both industry professionals and investors. Developing these services in-house means that they can be built exactly according to our specifications and further development can be implemented quickly and efficiently.”
Alan Watson added: “Having worked for Lowes some 10 years ago, I am extremely pleased to rejoin in a senior leadership capacity at this exciting time. My return brings a wealth of experience in Agile software development management, IT project management, leadership and governance gained with financial enterprises and software houses in the both the UK and globally.
“I look forward to working with the staff and leadership in applying this experience to further strengthen holistically the IT service and delivery capability here at Lowes.”