Data capture is a perpetual endeavour for any wealth management firm, but the real challenge lies in extracting meaningful insight from it. This is the challenge facing the modern-day wealth manager, caught up in an age of ever-expanding data and all the responsibility and risk that it brings. From tackling thorny issues like privacy to identifying common drivers for a wealth management data strategy, we hosted a roundtable event to get to the heart of the matter.
Data: for your client, it’s personal. For us, it’s beautiful. While for most wealth management firms, its collection and collation tend to be driven by an ever-evolving raft of industry legislation, compliance requirements and KYC standards.
Yet there’s no doubt that properly organised and maintained client data can result in a swathe of benefits that wealth managers strive for daily. Properly aggregated and analysed in context, this data will help you identify trends and predict changes in client sentiment. And clients who feel genuinely nurtured with relevant services will feel more emotionally connected, yielding greater commitment and in turn an increase in Assets under Management (AuM) over time.
In reality, though, how much of your data’s potential is being left untapped? We decided it was time to find out. Hosting a virtual roundtable on 11 November 2021 at Wealth Tech Matters – The Business, we ran a webinar entitled:
We asked 14 senior directors – with roles such as CIO, COO and Head of Operations – to give us the benefit of their experience and insight concerning their data strategy journey.
Here we walk you through the main themes and findings; let’s get started.
Unsurprisingly, the promise of one golden source of data was a universally compelling goal. This single source of truth (aka our revered ‘treasure chest’) was viewed as a gateway to acquiring and servicing clients more intuitively, efficiently and effectively.
Unlocking client data was considered a crucial step towards preparing for the increasing expectations of the next tech-savvy generation. A demographic raised on the ever-more-personalised services of big tech, retail and entertainment companies like Apple, Amazon and Netflix.
Broaching likely catalysts for a structured data strategy, it was clear that a combination of interlinked factors is at play.
When pressed for one driving force for building a convincing business case, 80% identified ‘greater customer insights to drive better service‘ as the critical business need. The remaining 20% of participants elected for ‘the opportunity for increased revenue‘.
Without exception, client satisfaction was identified as the most significant driver for implementing an effective data solution:
The primary focus for implementation was unanimously agreed. Hearteningly, ‘client satisfaction’ was the main driver for digital transformation and enhancement of the client lifecycle, whether as a means to improve service to existing clients or to attract new ones.
While life stage was felt to be a broadly reliable indicator for predicting client purchasing behaviour, there was a feeling that client attitudes to their personal data can vary wildly. Generally, it was felt younger investors were much more liberal and forthcoming, while some older clients are more cautious, making the client/wealth manager relationship trickier to navigate.
However, it was also observed that many older clients have now adapted to using technology that pre-pandemic, they had routinely resisted.
As the digital transformation of society continues, wealth management firms may see an increase in client concerns concerning the spread of their data. Amongst the group, it was felt that client sensitivity in this area would depend on their level of trust in their relationship manager – a complex marker to define.
The group certainly felt the weight of responsibility associated with being custodians of their client’s data, with worries surrounding cybersecurity and intrusiveness topping their list of concerns.
The future was generally considered bright, though, with generation X and the clients of the tomorrow more tech-literate and possibly open to more self-service aspects of data capture. A helping hand, perhaps?
Many delegates confessed to struggling with legacy systems and old data. In addition to siloed systems that are making data inaccessible or even problematic to locate, this issue is preventing many relationship managers from extracting meaningful information and actionable next steps.
Plans to make improvements in-house were sometimes subject to delay and held in an ‘IT queue’, leading to a feeling of being held hostage by other departments for their data needs. It is, therefore, imperative that firms take a proactive, timely approach.
Conversely, one delegate prioritised a data management team and data warehouse on day one in the job. It was a decision that had since paid off in spades, with a pre-defined format for new data making client onboarding easier, quicker and more cost-effective. Without this alignment, a lengthy 9-month process of cleaning the data would be required. A massive time sink in anyone’s book.
Given the varying needs of different departments within wealth management firms spanning Relationship Managers on the frontline of client servicing to Operations and Marketing, the path to an effective, fit for use data strategy can feel like a long and winding one.
67% of delegates said ‘a lack of clear direction or a well-defined end goal’ was the biggest challenge they faced when implementing a company-wide data strategy, with 33% citing ‘cultural/staff adoption’ as the primary barrier.
The roundtable discussions revealed many reasons that might contribute to a sentiment of disengagement and poor adoption. These ranged from unclear accountability to entrenched ways of working and behaviours in long-serving employees.
It was concluded that it was often easier to implement data changes into a business in many respects than to change company culture.
This leads us to the question of incentivisation or simply demonstrating the value of an effective data strategy to relationship managers and other employees. How do the wealth management C-suite engage their teams in this journey and end goal? There was evidence of both carrot and stick approaches among our delegates.
A carrot approach can lead to effective and thorough data capture being tied to the remuneration model; a win-win for all? Yet, with so much data associated with compliance, some companies are taking a firmer stance (a stick approach) to ensure quality data is routinely captured and stored.
At a company level, the benefits of intelligent data are enormous. Beyond mitigating risk via full compliance, our delegates acknowledged that data could solve some traditionally troubling scenarios for wealth management firms. The risk associated with the departure of a long-standing relationship manager, for example, is considerably reduced. With no need for their clients to repeat themselves, they can be reassured and retained.
Once the implementation stage is reached, the delegates agreed it was vital to involve teams and develop user champions. For engagement, it was felt that the optimal solution would need to be highly intuitive and deliver well against pre-defined KPIs.
Another point raised was stability – that the road to a firm-wide data strategy is simply too long for any companies that may be sold in the not-too-distant future. However, as one attendee commented, a defined data strategy can make the acquisition of other companies infinitely easier. The delegate described how handing over their data dictionary and requesting that the newly acquired firm provide data in a specific format had made feeding data into their systems much quicker. This in turn, had provided a much shorter time-to-revenue.
Interestingly, 100% of our delegates felt they were at the early stages of their data strategy journey.
Even those who had delivered a data warehouse or outsourced their data management to a third party thought themselves in the initial stages of their data strategy; as one delegate said, “there is always so much more to be done.”
This sentiment underlines both the perceived complexity of the challenge and the nature of the journey: it is often a gradual and cumulative one. This view is wholly understandable. There’s a moving feast of factors from assessing other data sources such as Open Banking to the advancement of technologies such as AI-analytics to consider.
There is a growing sentiment, trend and belief within the industry – for managers to visualise data as a living and breathing asset that will need to adapt and evolve continually. And there’s no time like the present to start nurturing it!
Our roundtable delegates acknowledged that data is the key to optimising client lifecycle management through informed actions and touchpoints. And the future is only going one way as clients expect a more intuitive, personal approach along with more access to the data companies hold about them. Yet, without the proper aggregation, segmentation and analysis, your steadily growing data mountain will stand in the way of the fabled treasure chest.
Our final thought? With so many wealth management firms spurred into new ways of thinking by the events of the pandemic, it’s all to play for. Those who embrace a little short-term pain to invest in robust WealthTech solutions that keep pace with the changing digital landscape and the expectations of the next generations will be the ones to reap the rewards tomorrow.
If you feel locked out of your data, it could be time to take some decisive steps to harness it for the future.
We’d love to hear your thoughts.
Where are you in your own data strategy journey?
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An accomplished, results-driven sales and marketing professional, Gabriel has held sales and marketing leadership positions in Singapore and China at some of the world’s most successful and respected global technology enterprises.
During more than 20 years spent at IBM, Sun Microsystems and Microsoft, Gabriel developed and implemented sales and channel strategies to support strategic business objectives.
His specialism is growing and extending sales territories to grow revenues and increase market share.
Travis combines 15 years of software delivery, business modelling and leadership experience with a passion for transforming business needs into effective digital solutions. Before joining Wealth Dynamix in March 2018, Travis led Operations for Nikon – a role which incorporated CRM product ownership responsibility and initiated over 10 years of MS Dynamics experience, from 2011 to Dynamics 365.
Since joining the Wealth Dynamix team, Travis has been instrumental in designing and delivering some of our most strategic WDX1 projects. Leading the consulting team for WDX1, he is responsible for their recruitment and development. The team’s complex remit supports a fundamental aim – to ensure Wealth Dynamix delivers the best client experience. Travis is also responsible for ensuring the WDX1 product is designed and evolved in the most adaptable way possible to drive adoption across our client base, existing and future.
An experienced, tenacious marketer, Jo joined the Wealth Dynamix team in 2021 as Head of Marketing and quickly rose to the position of Chief Marketing Officer. A Brand and Marketing specialist with a proven track record in BRB and B2C communications, Jo combines a customer-centred approach with strategic thinking.
Having held senior Marketing positions in numerous FTSE 100 businesses, including Asda Stores Ltd, The Co-operative Retail Group, plus financial services brands MBNA, OneFamily, TransUnion, The Co-operative Group, she possesses a wealth of experience in the fields of finance and technology.
Jo is passionate about activating the Wealth Dynamix brand across every channel, taking a holistic marketing approach to drive consistency, salience and thought-leadership activity.
Agustin joined Wealth Dynamix over six years ago bringing a wealth of experience in change management.
Having experienced first-hand the challenges of managing clients through change, Agu now brings that expertise to Wealth Management firms looking to leverage technology in order to help them connect more effectively with their clients.
Agu has a deep technical knowledge of our solutions that allows him to deliver our products effectively, unlocking the full potential of every feature.
As our Head of Strategic Client Relationships, Agu’s specialist expertise supports firms to become more efficient, transparent and dependable using our CLM solutions.
Juan has over 20 years’ experience developing and implementing CRM solutions and has spent the last 10 focusing primarily on the Client Lifecycle Management (CLM) in the Wealth Management industry.
Currently Head of Development, Juan is responsible on overseeing the technical direction of the product.
Before joining Wealth Dynamix, Juan has worked for Barclays, Fujitsu and Ciber delivering large scale CRM projects in the financial services industry.
Juan has a first degree in Telecommunication Engineering from Universidad Blas Pascal and a MSc in Business Information Technology from London South Bank University.
An internationally experienced change management professional, Ben is responsible for overseeing projects both internally, and for clients.
In a career spanning more than 20 years in global banking, finance and management consulting, Ben has led strategy formulation, project planning, change management adoption, business networking consultation and transformational change projects at Fortis Investments, Barclays Wealth and Investment Management and Verisure Securitas Direct. Since beginning his career at Deloitte, Ben has also amassed a wealth of experience working on complex CRM system implementations, and is a PROSCI-certified Change Practitioner and a Certified Scrum Master (Scrum Alliance).
When David joined Wealth Dynamix in 2015 he brought with him a vast amount of experience delivering large-scale Microsoft Dynamics CRM projects. As a Senior Business Analyst at Royal Bank of Scotland David managed deployments with more than 2000 users, for both Business and Commercial Banking, as well as working on key AML initiatives for RBS International. In his current role at Wealth Dynamix David supports the growth and strategic direction of client implementations in Europe. Wealth Dynamix leverages David’s product expertise to shape the product roadmap and ensure that the firm delivers solutions with the right capabilities, that will be enthusiastically adopted, by all customers.
Prior to his involvement in the wealth management sector, David worked as a waste management contracts manager, working with Multi Services Kent to ensure effective waste clearance and re-use at the 2012 London Olympics.
Since joining Wealth Dynamix in 2019, Cédric has worked closely with clients to ensure that the WDX and CLMi solutions are deployed efficiently and effectively.
In a career spanning more than 25 years, Cédric has become an accomplished business and global project management leader covering both technology and financial markets sectors. Having held various roles in private banking (front, middle and back office) and brokerages, in both functional and technical roles, Cédric has led many projects including client onboarding implementations and KYC reviews, regulatory compliance projects (including PSD2, MIFID2/PRIIPS, GDPR, CRS, Rubik) and digital transformation projects (online and mobile design and implementation).
Cédric has vast experience building and managing international project teams, having created three offshore teams in Tunisia and India, managed a 70-employee company as Deputy CEO and a startup Fintech founded to create smartphone apps.
As Director of Pre-Sales, Johnny is responsible for maintaining the firm’s pre-sales policies, methodologies and resourcing. He is also leads some of WDX’s largest pre-sales analysis exercises, conducted for a wider variety of financial services firms spanning multiple jurisdictions.
Continual engagement with existing and prospective clients helps to inform the WDX1 product strategy, roadmap and pricing.
Johnny has spent his whole career in financial technology in various consultancy and
pre-sales roles. His expertise covers the full stack of systems required by leading Private Banks and Wealth Managers, encompassing core banking solutions, portfolio management solutions, Client Lifecycle Management (CLM) solutions and more.
William’s commercial expertise in connecting technology to solve wealth management business challenges was borne out of his early career as a stockbroker, followed by a variety of Client Relationship Management and Sales roles in asset management and banking.
Having experienced first-hand the challenges of doing the job, William recognises that an unwavering focus on client service is required to build progressive and mutually beneficial partnerships in FOR the longer term. Having gained further experience working for financial technology service providers including Calastone and Contemi, he has the specialist expertise needed to identify how to leverage technology to help wealth managers connect more effectively with their clients, and become more efficient, transparent and dependable.
In addition to his role as Commercial Director at Wealth Dynamix, responsible for new business development in the UK, US and Middle East, William sits on the board of the Securities Investment Management Association (SIMA) where he is actively involved in exploring industry trends and challenges.
An experienced and accomplished specialist in CRM technology and wealth management, Dominic is responsible for defining and leading the product roadmap for Client Lifecycle Management (CLM) solutions at Wealth Dynamix. Experienced in SaaS strategy definition, Dominic formulated the development and launch plan for the firm’s cloud-based CLMi solution.
Prior to joining Wealth Dynamix in 2014, Dominic held senior positions in both RBS and Barclays Wealth and Investment Management, where he was responsible for leading enterprise-scale CRM implementation projects.
With more than 15 years wealth management and WealthTech experience he has vast expertise and insights into best practice CRM and CLM execution.
François joined Wealth Dynamix in 2020 to grow the company’s presence in France and further extend business operations across Europe and has since been designated Chief Revenue Officer, a member of the board.
Having closed several flagship deals for the company across Europe and Switzerland, today his role encompasses responsibility for new and existing revenues, recruiting, structuring and managing the sales team, plus owning the business forecast and reseller channels.
Previously, François served as Chief Sales and Marketing Officer, Executive Committee member and investor at DreamQuark, an Artificial Intelligence software startup. At DreamQuark, he secured the firm’s first recurring revenues with Tier-1 banks and insurance companies, won the Fintech of the Year award and enabled A and B level fundraising. Before that François spent almost 10 years at Nokia Networks, leading European Sales for Analytics Software.
François has an MBA awarded by INSEAD and an engineering degree from the École Centrale de Nantes.
Currently Chief Operating Officer and Board Member at Wealth Dynamix, Natalie is responsible for the strategic direction of operations across the business. A wealth and investment management industry expert, with more than 25 years experience delivering large-scale technology projects, Natalie plays a pivotal role in ensuring the efficient running of the firm and meeting key business goals.
Prior to joining Wealth Dynamix in 2019, Natalie was Head of Technology at Bridgepoint Advisers, a UK-based private equity investment firm. She joined Bridgepoint following an 18-year tenure at Quilter Cheviot, where she was Head of Technology responsible for Operations and execution of the firm’s business plan.
A wealth and investment management industry expert, Brent has more than 25 years of experience in developing front to back software solutions that address sector-specific operational and compliance challenges.
Prior to co-founding Wealth Dynamix in 2012, he was a Director at Third Financial Software, where he drove product development.
Previously, he led business development and product strategy for the wealth management division of Financial Objects.
Brent spent 13 years at DST (now SS&C) until 2007, where he was Associate Director responsible for the global product strategy of institutional front office and wealth management solutions.
He graduated from Downing College, Cambridge, with an honours degree in Geography.
With a lifetime career in wealth management, beginning in front office sales more than 25 years ago, Gary is recognised as a highly successful, award-winning executive and serial entrepreneur.
Currently CEO at Wealth Dynamix, one of Europe’s fastest growing WealthTech firms which he founded in 2012, Gary has pioneered a new approach to Client Lifecycle Management (CLM) and built solutions suited to both enterprise-scale and mid-size financial institutions.
In his early career Gary excelled in a wide variety of FinTech sales management and executive roles in the UK, Switzerland and France.
Following his tenure as Managing Director at Financial Objects, which saw revenues grow by more than 300% on his watch, Gary founded and subsequently exited from Third Financial Software after it became a leading front office technology provider.