7 Costly Sins of Poor Operational Performance
The road to Hell may be paved with good intentions — but the tolls are expensive, especially in the fast-paced world of financial advising. Fortunately, the seven costly sins of poor operational performance are fixable. Here’s how to reform your wayward practices.
Sin #1: Too Many Technologies
Tech tools designed to solve problems can be a boon to financial advisors, but too many technologies can become overwhelming — particularly when they’re not integrated into a cohesive stack. Beyond the individual costs of purchasing multiple tech packages, there’s the time lost to training employees and phasing in new systems. And the wrong tools can lead to personnel costs, as well: 32% of workers in a post-COVID, tech-reliant world said they quit a job because their employer’s technology choices prevented them from doing their jobs well.
Instead of focusing on more widgets to solve your problems, choose better — one customizable, API-friendly platform that can integrate workflows and save time.
Sin #2: High-Risk Behaviors
When was the last time you thought about your firm’s operational security? For a profession that handles highly sensitive client information on a daily basis, and which is subsequently accountable to SEC and FINRA oversight, it’s vital to ensure that security and compliance take top priority. Eliminate potentially risky scenarios by working in a digital system that allows you to configure rules and authorizations for information sharing, as well as maintaining regulatory records compliance.
Sin #3: Wasted Time
Time is money in every profession, but especially in wealth management where spending adequate time on building relationships translates directly to income for both client and advisor. And yet: one survey found that advisors spend less than 20% of their working hours on client meetings. The rest of their time is occupied by administrative tasks, some of which could surely be handled by an automated workflow.
Sin #4: Higher NIGO Rates
Speaking of time sinks, nothing craters a potentially productive day like fixing shoddy paperwork. Addressing NIGO items can massively impact an advisor’s workflow as they spend the day chasing down granular account fixes and putting more profitable tasks on hold. While it’s probably impossible for any firm to achieve a fully 0% NIGO rate, advisors can massively reduce the energy the spend on fixing errors by using automated onboarding workflows. One study found that such costly reworking time could be reduced 30% by incorporating AI-driven systems.
Sin #5: No Repeatable Processes
Don’t reinvent the wheel every time you set out to do a multi-step task, and don’t let your employees do it, either — develop standard protocols for all processes, and save time (and risk) for the firm. A fully integrated digital system can monitor workflows, stay updated on regulatory changes, and allow customization for special circumstances, without sacrificing security or completeness.
Sin #6: No Tracking or Ops Insight
The wealth of data maintained and generated by financial advising firms shouldn’t go to waste. On a day-to-day level, advisors should be able to easily access the client information they need, without hunting for physical paperwork or shooting off several internal emails to find it. On a larger operational scale, firms should feel confident in their ability to manage intel seamlessly. Keep track of client information, account data, market insights, and other vital knowledge in one secure, central location with authorization-specific access for employees and advisors.
Sin #7: No Measurable Analytics
Finally, don’t commit the sin of ignorance by failing to gather insights on how the firm is faring. A suite of trackers can plot out performance metrics specific to several segments of the operation, such as advisor groups or asset types, and point to potential areas of improvement. Over a longer term, digital tools can gauge revenue growth, revenue per client, profit margin, client retention rate, and customer satisfaction — informing and ensuring future growth.