Digitise processes across the client lifecycle for frictionless remediation

Every year, Wealth Dynamix CEO Gary Linieres asks the leadership team to reflect on the past year and share one piece of advice for wealth managers looking to differentiate their service offering in the year ahead. The post below is the response from Antony BreamMD – UK, Northern Europe & Americas.

As remediation gathers pace, wealth managers must further accelerate digitisation to avoid resource-intensive distractions that impact sales.

By February 2020 wealth managers began realising that digitisation was a pre-requisite to thriving or even surviving the Covid-19 pandemic. By April 2020 Microsoft’s CEO Satya Nadella said: “We’ve seen two years’ worth of digital transformation in two months.”

Inevitably, mission-critical functions including client communications and onboarding were first to be addressed. Virtually overnight, relationship managers swapped face-to-face meetings for video calls. Manual onboarding processes were digitised very quickly, while those who were already ahead of the digitisation curve acted swiftly to add capabilities such as electronic signatures, for speed and convenience. Regulators flexed procedural requirements, in recognition of new and emerging challenges, and anxious clients were reassured.

In 2021 and beyond, further digitisation is required to ensure wealth managers remain competitive, profitable and on the right side of the regulator.

By gaining insight into the connected value of a prospect – which is not possible through onboarding alone – you will successfully ‘Know Your Prospect’ and be well-positioned to convert them to a client.

Get ready for remediation

As regulators begin checking that new ways of working are not compromising compliance, be prepared for the inevitable increase in remediation. While having to revisit clients to re-validate personal data is a prospect that few advisors relish, much can be done to shorten the process, leaving more time to focus on revenue growth.

  • Automate processes to save time and reduce friction. Capture data once – as early in the sales and onboarding journey as possible – and then re-use it throughout the client lifecycle for everything from sales to remediation.
  • Determine suitability correctly at the outset. By establishing scalable, technology-enabled processes you can ensure that advice offered is compliant and automatically audited, making remediation a less time-consuming and resource-intensive activity.
  • View remediation as an ongoing exercise that is integral to client lifecycle management (CLM). When underpinned by digitised processes and analytics, CLM becomes a more manageable and reliable process. End-to-end automation provides the controls, insights, audit and scheduling capabilities required to evidence that risk is being mitigated effectively.

Build confidence in your suitability checks.

Most wealth managers fared well during the pandemic because they overcame client communication challenges quickly, allayed fears and delivered more face-to-face time – albeit onscreen – than would normally be feasible. More than ever before, clients need reassurance that advisors are acting in their best interests, and advisors must be able to evidence this effectively.

  • Automatically generate next best recommendations that best suit your clients’ needs. Apply smart artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) techniques to data captured during sales and onboarding processes, to identify next best actions based on market trends, client preferences, sentiment analysis and other critical criteria. When the regulator comes to call advisors can demonstrate via a step-by-step audit trail what was recommended, why and when, to prove that they have acted diligently.
  • Digitise in-life reviews. This provides regulators with a complete, real-time audit of your ongoing due diligence processes, which reduces the likelihood of remediation in the future. This will become increasingly important to evidence the percentage of portfolios invested in ESG funds, and to demonstrate suitability.

Create holistic onboarding processes that are efficient, compliant and defensible

Without in-person interaction, client acquisition and onboarding have become two of the most challenging activities. As pressure mounts to grow new client AUM in a safe and compliant way it is essential to adopt a more holistic and less onerous approach to onboarding.

  • Triage prospects earlier in the sales process. This avoids wasting time, effort and resources onboarding those who are unlikely to become clients.
  • Capture as much client data as early as possible and re-use it throughout the client lifecycle. The most common client complaint is the need to provide the same information multiple times, at various stages in the client lifecycle. It’s easy to see why a client might think you are losing their personal data, when in fact it is simply held in unconnected, hard to access data silos.
  • Establish holistic processes that enable thorough and rapid remediation. By leveraging data throughout the client lifecycle, you will be better positioned to conduct in-life reviews in a way that can be evidenced quickly and efficiently, beyond any doubt, when a regulatory investigation or remediation arises.

In 2021, as you aim to reassure clients, regulators and the Board, digitisation is no longer optional. It must be at the heart of every wealth manager’s client lifecycle management strategy. This is the only way to safeguard the interests of all stakeholders and deliver outcomes that will grow client revenues.

This post is an extract from the e-book ‘5 ways wealth managers can get ahead in 2021’. Download the full e-book below.

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20+ years sales, management and advisory experience with software technology companies.

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