The Best-Kept Secrets of High-Performing RIAs
RIA firms are looking to increase operational efficiency as they digitally transform. Digitizing operations across the back, middle, and front offices can reduce costs, accelerate speed, and improve the quality of service.
And though firms have spent the last decade focused on technological improvements from the front office, it’s time for the industry to focus on back office execution — with the same vigor and energy they’ve put toward the client experience.
In this blog, we’ll recap a recent Docupace webinar with CEO David Knoch, highlighting how back office digital technology is one of the best-kept secrets of high-performing RIAs.
Adopting and Integrating New Technology
Despite the massive digital transformation over the past few decades, most firms cite integration and automation as major pain points in their technology processes. For many of these firms, the technology itself isn’t the biggest hurdle — it’s staff adoption and the training process.
After investing in new technologies, the business still hasn’t fundamentally changed, which is one of the main reasons firms don’t see the full scope of positive changes they expect. Ultimately, they’re still thinking in terms of technology implementation rather than a cultural transformation.
ROI of Digital Transformation
Though advisors say they understand how critical technology is for high-performance, most are still making do with what they have. In North America, middle and back offices have only reached 61% automation levels, and front offices have reached 71% automation.
The majority of financial advisors say they aren’t ready for new technology — but they know they need to be. In fact, 41% of survey respondents firmly believe that an RIA firm’s digital infrastructure is increasingly important in hiring and retaining first-rate professional talent.
Similarly, a growing number of RIA firms believe digital infrastructure is an increasingly important consideration when valuing firms during mergers and acquisitions.
So what’s driving these industry trends? For the majority of firms, it’s the tangible return on investment. Firms investing in digital transformation see significant increases in productivity, assets under management, and revenue.
Utilizing New Technology to Improve the Back Office Experience
Over the next two years, firms will dramatically increase their investments across many types of technology, with investment in artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), and natural language processing (NLP), jumping from 21% to 32%. Similarly, investment in open platforms and API architectures will climb from 7% to 15%.
The industry will also increase spending on no-code or low-code platforms and workflow automation.
Integrating AI, ML and NLP offers huge promise to RIA firms and the industry as a whole. 47% of digital leaders in the industry plan to use AI to optimize and streamline their back office. This digital transformation allows firms to save significant time in manual processes.
What Sets High-Performing RIAs Apart?
Across the board, high-performing RIAs are thinking about the technology investments they make, whether it’s the partners they’re choosing or the categories that they’re focusing on.
They’re not following the firm next door or making technology decisions based on what everyone else is doing. Instead, they’re focusing on the partners they want to work with, the results they want to create, and the outcomes they want for their team and clients.
They build, rather than copy. They’re not trying to digitize what existed before — they’re trying to think about new ways of working that digital transformation might enable.
Today’s firms are finding a better return on investment within back office process improvement. Their investment dollars are going towards improving workflow and automation and moving toward the disappearance of forms. What’s the secret of high-performing RIAs? Investing in leading technology and integrating the experience throughout the firm.
Ready to learn more about how Docupace can help you improve workflow and document management automation in the back office?