Back in 2020, a group of leading wealth managers met to discuss the state of the industry. The discussions, which were held in March, September and November, meant these meetings captured the ongoing responses to the pandemic. This article below on the changing perspectives of advisors is an extract from the whitepaper which followed these discussions.
When asked to name the greatest challenge they’ve faced while remote working, executives were clear: time. In an industry that’s long struggled with squeezed margins and high client ratios, this is not a new issue, but there’s been a clear shift in the drivers behind advisor demand, many of which have been prompted by the pandemic itself.
“Remote working has made clients much more efficient with their time,” one wealth management executive told us. “They’ve found themselves with more time than ever, so dealing with their personal affairs has move promptly up the priority list – and that has impacted our workloads significantly.”
A lack of commuting and travelling to meetings left many advisors with time in the bank, which has been reinvested to provide valued reassurance amid continually challenging markets. As we emerged from the initial lockdown period, advisors reported a renewed expectation amongst some clients to meet face-to-face, with one taking to the golf course to satiate client demand for in-person discussions.
But while some clients may be vying for the personal touch, corporate Britain is not so keen: 74% of UK businesses said at the start of lockdown that they planned to keep a portion of online workers to permanently remote positions in the future. With many firms latterly closing their offices for the foreseeable future, ‘face time’ is clearly a thing of the past – and businesses must do all they can to enable efficiencies and buoy employees who are missing human interaction.
2020 saw the industry make strides, digitising more in a matter of months than over the last few years. As wealth managers sit back and take stock of these sizable advancements, however, they cannot afford to rest on their laurels: rather, they need to work out how to harness this change and keep pace with client expectations and the technology that will enable these.
“Remote working has made clients much more efficient with their time. They’ve found themselves with more time than ever, so dealing with their personal affairs has move promptly up the priority list – and that has impacted our workloads significantly.”
Segmentation as we know it may be waning: after all, just 17% of wealth managers expect traditional approaches to segmentation will still be in effect within the next five years; but it has never been quite as important to understand the clients on your books.
Effective lifecycle management capabilities are critical to driving insight from the earliest opportunity, and this should be translated into actionable insights that drive efficiencies across the breadth of your business. Our discussions pointed to a “clever use of digitisation” playing out in the future, as firms optimised the channel mix according to different wealth bands.
Look at your client base and consider the client experience and the commercial implications of mobile versus face-to-face delivery of service. Making sure you’ve got the infrastructure in place to optimise these with scalable services and solutions could well give your firm the competitive edge you need in the future.
Although we entered the prospect of UK lockdown with some trepidation, client and advisor engagement continued at a relatively seamless pace. But while jittery markets and a sharpened client focus had spurred a quick adoption of online channels, we await to see how this will impact the bottom line of an industry in which delivery is an inherent issue and cost-income ratios are high.
One executive anticipated clear consolidation as he recounted clients flocking from advisory to the relative safety of discretionary fund management. And while several firms reported surprising success once they’ve bedded into their new way of working, many feel under pressure to sustain business development levels throughout 2021 – which is no mean feat in a virtual world when you can’t “see the whites of prospective clients’ eyes”. As one executive said, “You can develop a lot more EQ around a meeting in a physical setting as a business development process. I think advisors have found the lack of this a challenge.” But referrals remain strong, with many wealth managers reporting uninterrupted dialogue with their intermediary networks.
Clients may have been spurred to go digital through lockdown but the wealth managers we spoke to had seen a renewed preference for human interaction – whether by phone, video or face-to-face. With private client behaviour fast evolving and more than 80% of family businesses set to change hands over the coming decade, it’s vital to stay close to the clients within your reach. Ensure your business has the workflows in place to enable a full understanding of client needs and dynamics across sales, prospecting, onboarding and service management spanning every channel of operation.
“Advisors are faced with a raft of challenges at the moment. They’re dealing with the complexity of the processes involved in servicing existing clients and also onboarding new clients. Add to that complex data and people dynamics and firms have a lot to manage indeed.”
Analyse client sentiment and make timely and targeted recommendations that mitigate any issues at the outset.
And think laterally as your select the processes and platforms that should carry your firm into the future. Remember that one size never fits all: we could well see more personalisation at the client interface, while digital powers a leaner, more efficient middle and back office.
So, wealth managers may have mastered communicating through clients’ preferred channels of choice, but are they really squeezing all they can from the working day? Admin remains a clear drain on advisor efficiency, while others reported getting bogged down in data, whether in trying to source insights or crunch the numbers at their disposal. “Advisors are faced with a raft of challenges at the moment,” says Ian Woodhouse. “They’re dealing with the complexity of the processes involved in servicing existing clients and also onboarding new clients. Add to that complex data and people dynamics and firms have a lot to manage indeed.” Regulation was regarded by some executives as a “blocker”, particularly as their advisors adapt to working away from the office hub.
“Some see the regulatory side as a bit of an overhead, and it’s been harder to embed this culturally while we’ve been working remotely.” And while the pandemic has expedited a widespread adoption of digital signatures and AML, some quarters have been more reticent that others to embrace change – which could be to their detriment in the long term. One firm told us they would start directing business to more advanced partners in favour of slow digital adopters.
It’s important that the industry maintains momentum on its digital journey as we head into 2021.
The regulator pledged in its Business Plan to “take stock” of its own pandemic-enforced measures, so we can only expect firms’ individual actions to face similar scrutiny as clients self-serve or are advised at arm’s length. Work smartly now to avoid remediation in the future, assessing your systems and processes as well as the balance between human and automated monitoring and engagement.
Don’t accept inconsistencies in digital adoption: work with like-minded firms to lobby industry partners and intermediaries to pick up pace so your efforts aren’t impeded.
And make the most of this window of opportunity to expand your third-party network, utilising technology to broaden and deepen connections with lawyers, trustees and accountants.
This is an extract from the whitepaper titled Wealth Management Technology Beyond 2020. Download the whitepaper now to understand how 2020 reshaped the wealth management industry and the key learnings firms can take moving forward.
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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.