3 Ways RPA is Taking Over Wealth Management
Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) technologies have reached the tipping point of being more than just a theory and are now a reality in many businesses. In response, many wealth management firms have shifted from business process outsourcing (BPO) to robotic process automation (RPA) for their mundane tasks.
Over 68% of U.S. consumer products companies outsource at least some of their business processes to reduce costs, improve work accuracy and keep their organizations running efficiently. RPA offers a huge opportunity for businesses to further cut costs with strategic investment in automation. However, not every task can be done by a machine; for those that can, automation offers better scalability, cost benefits, and accuracy.
Outsourcing with a Fresh New Look
The outsourcing industry has been a constant and integral part of business operations for decades. The explosive growth of AI, ML, and natural language processing has shifted the conversation away from using offshore firms with inexpensive labor — the lure of many BPO organizations toward integrating technology into business processes.
For most organizations, RPA achieves five main goals: cost reduction, flexibility, speed to market, access to tools and processes, and agility. According to data from Deloitte’s Global Outsourcing Survey, in prior years, the focus on speed to market and agility was key as many industries combated swift and unrelenting disruption. However, in 2020, cost savings were again on top as COVID-19 and market disruptions cut into profits, and many organizations had to tighten their budgets. Of those surveyed, 70% identified cost as the primary objective for outsourcing.
The steady pressure on fees and traditional revenue streams from fintech innovators has led many wealth management firms to find new ways to cut costs while still providing quality service to investors. RPA offers those cost-cutting benefits without sacrificing quality.
RPA Is Scalable and Agile
Beyond cost-cutting, RPA also offers some important benefits to wealth management firms. Unlike traditional BPO organizations, RPA is scalable and agile in a way that human labor can’t be. During uncertain markets or fluctuations in demand, wealth management firms can easily optimize their workloads and efficiencies with RPA.
AI and ML technologies require an initial upfront investment, but once implemented, it can smooth the flow of work and work just as well with large volumes of tasks as it would with a small volume. Since many firms still rely overwhelmingly on paper, allowing RPA to take over and complete tasks quickly means clients and advisors get what they need quicker and reduce redundancies and labor-intensive task management.
RPA also brings in a skill that isn’t replicated by humans — accuracy. For compliance and other tasks where accuracy is critical, RPA allows wealth management firms to easily and efficiently produce precise results time and time again.
Wealth Management Is Poised to Adopt ML and AI Now
AI and ML have been ambitious projects by tech companies for decades. In the past, many of the useful applications for these technologies have sat squarely in the tech sector. But, as the capabilities of RPA increase, their application is now broader than ever before.
RPA is particularly well suited for back-office business processes that are rife with repetitive tasks. But, as the technology begins to pick up speed, more and more firms will feel comfortable handing over other tasks. For instance, Vanguard has piloted an intelligent agent that helps customer service agents answer common customer questions. All of these implementations save time for advisors or customer service agents and give them and investors time back to focus on the work that matters most.
For wealth management firms, the time to consider RPA is now. AI and ML for business processes is no longer a question of if but when. To meet customer expectations for always-on reporting, omnichannel interaction, and continued regulation requirements, firms and RIAs can no longer rely solely on paper processes or even BPO offerings.