Leveraging Technology for a Streamlined Investor/Advisor Experience
Wealth management firms and the financial services industry as a whole are investing heavily in technology that enhances the client experience and streamlines advisors’ day-to-day work. However, despite spending a record 3.69% of revenue on technology, not all firms are seeing the returns they expected.
While fintech and larger firms continue to innovate and drive technology in wealth management forward, many laggard and smaller firms are devoting their technology spend to legacy systems that make up their core IT stack. As these systems continue to age, some firms have found it difficult to keep up with the pace of disruption in the wealth management space. As they add new tools and technologies to their systems, they continue to fracture and silo their processes, making it more difficult for advisors to do their jobs.
Top-performing firms are laser-focused on the client experience and streamlining processes. They devote their technology resources toward tools and processes that integrate with their existing systems and build on a strong foundation that will be scalable and flexible far into the future.
Creating a Technology-Enhanced Client Experience
Even with record spending on technology, firms still need to prioritize projects and choose investments that will pay off. Top firms create strategic plans that map tools and technology to customer experience initiatives.
For top-performing firms, technology is key to creating a better client experience. InvestmentNews Research’s 2020 Adviser Technology study found that nearly all top-performing firms “believe that the digital client experience is at least somewhat important to firm success.”
Firms have a tremendous opportunity to enhance their client experience and include digital tools in their offerings. A PwC survey found that “69% of high net worth individuals (HNWIs) are now using online/mobile banking, but only a quarter of wealth managers currently offer digital channels beyond email.” To keep pace with rapidly growing fintech solutions and the fierce competition for clients, firms need to demonstrate value and meet customers in the digital spaces they use.
Some of the client-facing technologies most firms use include digital signing tools, client portals, videoconferencing, online booking, and appointment management. But, enhanced client experiences look like fully digital onboarding, dashboards that allow 24/7 reports, and recommendations based on client behavior and profile.
The point of these tools and investments is to streamline communication, allow clients to self-service and research, and deepen the relationship between clients and advisors. PwC’s survey also found that only one-third of wealth management clients are very satisfied with their financial advisors, leaving lots of room for improvement and opportunities to deliver the type of digital experience their clients expect.
Streamlining Regulatory Compliance with Technology
Regulatory requirements and compliance are an ongoing reality for wealth management firms. Governments across the globe have increased regulations and stepped-up oversight. The challenge for many firms is adopting processes and integrated solutions. Many firms created piecemeal systems that left individual processes isolated from the rest of the business. Now, many are investing in rebuilding holistic systems that streamline the compliance process.
Once this type of system is in place, automation is possible. Rather than completing repetitive compliance tasks, advisors can rely on robot process automation (RPA), machine learning (ML), and other tech solutions that are faster, cheaper, and more accurate. Since many regulatory requirements overlap, building and maintaining an automated system reduces the workload significantly and standardizes compliance programs.
Automation, systemization, and centering the client experience are the priorities for top-performing wealth management firms. Firms should bring technology solutions together, eliminate redundancies, and create integrated ecosystems that streamline and enhance the client and advisor experience. Organized systems keep customers up-to-date on what they need to know about their portfolio and simplify the compliance process. Dashboards and portals provide investors with several options to contact their advisors and allows advisors to see important information about clients at a glance.
Integrating back-office operations and client-facing systems isn’t a simple task, but it’s an essential part of creating and maintaining a client-advisor relationship.
Ryan George is the Chief Marketing Officer at Docupace. He is responsible for the company’s brand awareness, early-stage sales pipeline, content strategies, customer and industry insights, internal and external communications, design, and events. George actively engages in leadership roles in both the financial services and marketing communications communities. He a member of the Forbes Communications Council, an invitation-only, fee-based organization of senior-level communications and public relations executives, the CMO Council and the CMO Club.