Reimagining the Back Office Experience
Wealth management firms are undergoing a massive digital transformation. With the litany of digital tools available to potentially solve every problem, some firms have implemented solutions that are a patchwork of solving for individual situations rather than an ecosystem of tools that actually deliver the promised efficiency.
Just as investors are demanding more personalized and integrated experiences from their digital tools, financial advisors and other wealth management professionals, such as back office operations, want the same. Back office professionals want tools that remove unnecessary work from their to-do lists, enhance the client-advisor relationship, and provide transparency and flexibility to build their business as they envision it.
Banishing Silos and Reducing Duplicated Work
Knowledge workers globally, but particularly in the United States, suffer from inefficiencies in their workday. According to research from Asana, coordination or “work about work” consumes nearly 60% of the average workday. Strategy and skilled work lag at 14% and 26% of the workday, respectively. Lack of clarity about job roles and processes increases the number of meetings and check-ins workers endure to complete business-critical tasks. The average worker in the U.S. loses 6 hours and 28 minutes per week to duplicative work or work that has already been completed.
Despite their promises of delivering streamlined and efficient work experiences, the number of apps and productivity tools is holding many professionals back. These professionals switch between 10-25 apps per day, and every time they switch tools or move to another platform, they risk missing actions and messages. Asana’s research indicates that over 25% of workers have missed deadlines and actions because of switching tools and say app overload makes them less efficient.
Integrated tools that minimize switching, create frictionless workflows, and implement automation to prevent duplication are the key to getting financial advisors and their teams back to work efficiently. Tools that communicate with each other and share data, create clear workflows and minimize ambiguity about priorities and job roles.
Augmenting the Back Office Experience
When it comes to advisors, they want digital tools that they can trust to back up their expertise. Rather than having an algorithm dictate daily activities, a platform or software solution should offer support and create an experience that puts them in the driver’s seat.
Essentially, these financial advisors want to provide the transparency and personalization their clients expect and utilizing the right tools can deliver that. However, to do so, these tools must carry some level of customization and make data easily, securely accessible for those who need it.
Finally, platforms should support advanced queries, templates and other tools that offer a combination of automation and customization that advisors can use to save time and give personalized advice to their clients without reinventing processes each time.
As many financial professionals have shifted to working from home or other environments outside the office, disruption and distraction have devoured valuable time. As a result, many knowledge workers have experienced burnout and stress due to constant pressures on their time and blurred lines between work and home.
Retaining and hiring new talent will require wealth management firms to recognize these problems and create processes not only to help their bottom line but to preserve worker wellbeing. This means investing in tools that eliminate duplicative tasks and help solve problems rather than create additional layers of complexity. This will be key to keeping a foothold in a rapidly changing global work environment.
David Knoch is CEO of Docupace a solutions provider focused on digitizing and automating operations in the financial advice and investment industry. David currently serves as the Immediate Past Chair of the Financial Services Institute (FSI) Board of Directors and has been voted one of the 25 most influential people in the Investment Advisory industry two years in a row – 2018 and 2019.