UK regulations about what is called “conduct risk” are driving important innovation in the country’s banking and wealth management industry. However, many wealth managers regard conduct risk as yet another pretext for bureaucrats to set out more laws on an industry already groaning under a mass of rules. It is possible that those firms that embrace how to address such risk will benefit, given a sensible approach, argues the chief executive of WealthDynamix, Gary Linieres. The views of the author are a welcome addition to debate; as ever, the editors of this publication do not necessarily agree with all the views expressed.
“The Client is King and at the heart of everything we do” – or so they say. However, old adages are starting to become reality and ever more so since the Financial Conduct Authority’s conduct risk regulations started to take shape, calling for sweeping changes across the wealth management sector in all aspects of client management.
With media commentary intensifying around such issues as banking secrecy, mis-selling, transparency and tax evasion, the future of pension annuities and the changes to how pensioners can manage their own cash, the question of how institutions manage and onboard client business is ever more under the spotlight and is now “mission critical” for any serious wealth manager.
I believe it is fair to say that the industry remains divided with currently only around 25 per cent of wealth management firms having conducted serious conduct risk assessments and only approximately 15 per cent having actually implemented a technology strategy to address the issues.
Many wealth management firms now understand the FCA’s reforms and see the clear commercial advantages of adopting a more transparent and technologically-enhanced business practice. Compeer, for example, says that currently 75 per cent of the industry’s wealth managers are planning to increase the budgets of their compliance departments in the next 12-18 months, with 44 per cent seeing it as an opportunity to introduce positive strategic change.
However, there remains a camp of resistance and opposition who resent this prevailing cultural shift and the perceived operational upheaval and potential loss in revenues they believe this will bring. In fact 88 per cent say that this regulatory change isn’t justified and almost 80 per cent find the extra workload of dealing with these regulations difficult or very difficult. It is widely believed that the biggest threats that wealth management firms face in 2015/16 are lack of experience and changing expectations from the regulator, as well as not having enough time and money to change strategy and the unintended consequences from the MiFID II [EU regulations] for the UK.
The strength of UK financial institutions and our market leading position is founded on a unique mix of attractive economic, social and market strengths that make British investment firms amongst the most revered and competitive on the global economic stage.
But as we move forward into this new era of centralised codes of practice and widespread industry reform, it is the innovators and the business leaders who fully embrace the drive towards cultural change and increased regulation around the conduct of boards, senior management and client managers who will see their assets and revenues flourish.
Several UK firms have fallen foul of the regulator and incurred significant fines and sanctions due to their inability to demonstrate sound client record keeping and evidence that they have advised their clients suitably based on their current circumstances. Of course client suitability is only one of the pillars of the conduct risk framework and organisations that just focus on fulfilling basic client records and know-your-client data are not really addressing the more fundamental issue of conduct risk.
A solid and well-executed conduct risk framework backed with the right technology investment will play a vital role in future–proofing investment business going forward. Firstly, by safeguarding fundamental client and business relationships, but further, it can also deliver significant new business potential. This is through improved client acquisition and onboarding, the creation of sustainable and measurable investment strategies and providing critical management information to drive business efficiencies and key performance indicators to the benefit of senior management, relationship managers and, of course, the client. Approximately 50 per cent of UK firms plan to make a major upgrade to their IT systems over next 12 months.
At Wealth Dynamix, we have noted the many benefits felt by major investment firms like Charles Stanley, Ruffer, James Hambro, Quilter Cheviot and Brewin Dolphin who we have worked with to deliver client management solutions that provide both a leading CRM system and a conduct risk-ready platform.
Any firm that takes conduct risk seriously and enshrines superior client outcomes as a central tenet of the business needs to invest in the measurement, monitoring and execution of all client interactions while retaining profitability and operational efficiency.
• A centralised client master file designed with the right data model which correctly distinguishes the person or body corporate as the legal entity that advice is being given to or from whom instructions are received;
• A user interface that provides a single point of access to all relevant client information in the context of the specific relationship in support of giving the best advice at all times;
• Integrated contact and activity management providing efficient communication to and from authorised persons;
• Open architecture allowing seamless integration with core transactional and accounting systems, document management and communications infrastructure;
• A flexible approach to data capture and form design that allows each organisation to define the right level of detail appropriate to its clients and service offerings;
• A flexible approach to process definition and workflow enabling the efficient collaboration of tasks and data capture in the right place at the right time;
• A powerful document generation tool to produce client-facing letters, proposals and review forms so that client documentation is included in the evidence trail efficiently and securely;
• A powerful management information platform that allows KPIs to be defined and measured;
• A low risk modern technical platform and skilled resource availability.
In a competitive and diversified market, customer profiles and product offerings will naturally vary between firms. Each organisation must address the specific risks associated with poor client outcomes from their actions and these risks will vary in scale and focus depending on the business model. It cannot be true that one standard client management solution would support every business model when it comes to a detailed understanding of the client relationship.
The FCA requires that firms not only manage and monitor that risk but actively implement strategies that will mitigate against poor client outcomes. Firms need to demonstrate how they are doing this.
Gary Linieres, CEO, Wealth Dynamix
Since launching in January 2013, Wealth Dynamix has undertaken a number of high-profile deployments in the UK wealth management sector that have provided a CRM-based technology that has specifically been created to address the issues of client record keeping, client suitability and client onboarding. The firm says its business has been “growing exponentially”.
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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.