Why Integrations are Essential to the Modern Advisory Firm
Wealth management firms are experiencing an unprecedented shift in operations. As digital services improve, customers have grown accustomed to getting all of their needs — including financial services — met in one place. As a result, modern RIAs are expected to do the impossible: offer a combination of services to an ever-expanding client base without exhausting their bandwidth and resources.
Some firms have responded to this change by relying on acquisitions, but there are alternatives for offering an exceptional experience that don’t rely on full-blown mergers or restructurings.
Partner integration is a solution that can help businesses fill process gaps while still retaining ownership of their operations and customer relationships. With the right integration, firms can skip ahead to delivering differentiated services and capabilities at scale, which saves precious time while producing strong financial returns.
However, it can be just as costly for firms that choose the wrong partner as it is for those that don’t choose one at all. Knowing how to vet potential partnerships and select the one that works right for your company’s needs is essential for firms wanting to create top-notch digital experiences for their clientele.
Selecting the Right Integration Partner
Selecting the right integration partner can be a daunting task, particularly when businesses have a plethora of needs that hundreds of potential providers can meet. Identifying the critical pain points within your business is an important first step when beginning the partner evaluation process.
One resource for determining the level of integration your business may need and the value specific partners can have is the Ezra Group Integration Scores Index. This scoring system is built on a 10-point scale that considers three factors:
- Breadth — measures the number of integrations, including both key and non-key integrations.
- Depth — measures how many integration points are supported.
- Miscellaneous — measures the level of support provided by the vendor as well as authorization and security protocols.
After analyzing these criteria, the index assigns a score from 0 to 5 that identifies the kind of integration offered. These integration ratings range from single sign-ons to seamless, custom integrations that combine multiple platforms.
The partners that score highest on this scale will generally be best suited for integration in wealth management businesses, though this may not always be the case. Sometimes, whether or not an integration partner is a good fit depends on other factors such as the target audience and product relevance.
Relying on industry-standard evaluation methods is a good way to differentiate between levels of integration and the types of partners that may best fit your needs.
Using the Right Partner to Grow Your Business
Growing your firm can be overwhelming if the requisite steps aren’t taken to manage paper documentation, in-house personnel, and costly back-and-forth data gathering. Partners can be essential in simplifying and scaling this process.
One partner type that is key for businesses heading down this path is a document management tool that removes the reams of paperwork and manual filing from the client onboarding and transactional process. Automated platforms like Docupace are beneficial because they empower advisors to focus on providing each client with a personalized experience rather than keeping them occupied with unnecessary busywork. They also allow customer-facing and back-office employees to move more seamlessly between systems, which increases overall efficiency.
Strengthen Client-Advisor Relationships with the Power of Partner Integrations
Although productivity, security, and profitability are vital for the long-term success of finance companies, the ultimate benefit of investing in a partnership integration is its positive impact on customers. Customers increasingly expect more personalized and faster service when it comes to the front-end digital experience and onboarding process. Integrating with the right platform can ensure that these high expectations are met.
The way consumers interact with modern businesses has changed, with more consumers preferring digital channels to in-person ones. As a result, many wealth management businesses have used partner integrations to offer a growing inventory of digital solutions such as virtual RIA sessions, robo-advisors, and hybrid models that appeal to more varied and younger audiences.
Introducing technical partnerships that make these offerings easy for advisors to learn is imperative to keeping employee morale high and business operations running smoothly. In these cases, it’s also a good strategy to select a partner that offers support during the transitional integration process.
According to the Ezra Group’s integration scores, the “miscellaneous” category includes an evaluation of the vendor’s level of customer support. Making sure that developers are accessible, authorization processes are secure and relatively simple to use, and the vendor is certified in relevant areas can make the difference between an integration your employees applaud and one they dread.
Partner integrations can be powerful ways to accelerate growth and shore up existing customer loyalty. Docupace is a document management solution that can help in digitally transforming your firm’s business operations and client-advisor relationship.