In an interview with Wealth Mosaic, Antony Bream, Managing Director – UK and Americas shares his views on how wealth managers can maximise the opportunities offered by optimum client lifecycle management processes and address the balance between the self-containment and self-service afforded by the cloud and AI, and robust client service.

Challenges: What do you see as the main technology and technology-related challenges for the wealth management sector through 2020?

Data is lifeblood for wealth managers. Significant investments in technologies designed to tackle data capture, governance and cleansing have been very successful. In theory, wealth managers should now be ideally positioned to leverage data, to enrich and personalise customer service, but therein lies the challenge.

Despite holding vast quantities of data, most wealth managers remain frustrated by their inability to derive actionable insights from data, which is where the true value lies. Instead of gaining positive signals that can be used to steer customer experience, relationship managers face a barrage of cryptic noise because the data is not presented in a unified, coherent way.

Why? Because wealth managers still rely on decades-old technology platforms that retain data in disconnected siloes, leading to two fundamental issues.

Clients are asked to provide the same data repeatedly, because incumbent systems and processes cannot detect whether required data was already captured at an earlier stage of the client lifecycle. Such requests are tedious and may cause clients to distrust information security.

Data cannot be aggregated into an easily accessible form that provides a single client view, across the entire client lifecycle, which impacts speed, quality and effectiveness of service.

Forward-thinking wealth managers are addressing these technology challenges by deploying end-to-end Client Lifecycle Management (CLM) platforms, which augment core CRM systems with powerful, best-practice process automations that support a ‘capture once, use many’ approach to client data, and provide front-office staff with a 360-degree view of data relevant to their own role, customers and prospects.

Opportunities: What do you see as the main technology and technology-related opportunities for the wealth management sector through 2020?

Technology is the key to securing greater share of wallet, even though wealth managers are still contending with pressurised cost-income ratios, low interest rates and large legacy technology overheads.

In recent years, wealth managers have pursued the goal of the ‘single client view’ to enable faster, more informed and proactive decision-making. Unfortunately, few have succeeded because client engagement has been managed predominantly via CRM tools, which do not support onward processes such as customer onboarding and compliance. Without holistic management of all lifecycle processes within a single platform, a single client view is not achievable.

In 2020, wealth managers will realise the opportunity to transform client experience throughout the entire client lifecycle with data-driven insights, delivered via a fully integrated Client Lifecycle Management (CLM) platform that spans all phases, from initial engagement, through client onboarding and ongoing management. In doing so:

Sales and marketing campaigns, product recommendations, sales initiatives and client events can be personalised to increase conversion rates, respond to sentiment shifts, and maximise marketing ROI.

Client onboarding compliance requirements for each prospect will be automatically identified, KYC/AML data capture streamlined, bottlenecks managed effectively and processing times slashed.

Clients will trust their wealth manager’s ability to provide the right advice, proactively and transparently, resulting in long-lasting, profitable relationships that boost satisfaction.

In addition to delivering the single client view, CLM platforms will enable resource-stretched, time-challenged relationship managers to do more with less. By automating manual administration processes and eliminating time spent searching for relevant data across multiple systems, they will spend more time on client-facing revenue generation and relationship management work.

So, wealth managers adopting CLM will be able to address client engagement, onboarding and management challenges, at all touchpoints, to maximise customer satisfaction, ensure compliance and grow AuM.

Market focus: When considering your wealth management clients and prospects, where are they currently focusing their technology investments and resources: clients, advisers/staff or their business infrastructure?

While wealth managers always have (and always will) invest in technology aimed at improving the cost-income ratio, in recent years significant effort and expenditure has been channelled into client-facing technologies and compliance. Client apps have increased accessibility to routine reporting (portfolio valuations for example), however, investments in new-age robo-advisory technology are waning because these tools have failed to deliver on the promise to significantly boost customer satisfaction. It has become apparent that clients still place high value on personal service. Meanwhile, relationship managers have been overlooked in the drive to achieve digital transformation, despite the critical role they continue to play in engaging and retaining clients – but this is set to change in 2020.

Technology investments in 2020 will shift from CRM to CLM as wealth managers strive to deliver more streamlined customer journeys, driven by context-rich insights derived from data aggregated across multiple systems, rather than manually searching for client data stored in unconnected CRM repositories. Powerful process automation and rules-driven workflows will eliminate many manual processes, allowing front-office staff to drive customer satisfaction by focusing on client servicing and the attainment of clients’ investment goals.

Wealth managers will also look to simplify IT stacks by retiring legacy systems and outsourcing back-office processes, to achieve operational cost and time savings. Many will transition to cloud-based platforms in 2020, which are recognized as a safe and pragmatic way to reduce costs. Those who don’t will look to source flexible, future-proofed solutions that can support later transition from on-premise to the Cloud. Into 2020 and beyond, the Cloud will be essential for competitive advantage; many technology providers are now incorporating innovative AI-driven solutions into cloud-only environments that automate onboarding processes, provide smarter access to data and create new customer experiences for the upcoming generation of digital-savvy investors.

Excite: When you look at the technology capabilities and resources now available to the wealth management sector, as a solution provider, what excites you most in 2020?

The use of Artificial Intelligence to gain insight into customer behaviour is now realistic. In 2020 and beyond, AI is undoubtedly the most exciting technology advance in wealth management. Intelligent sentiment analysis and the high-speed aggregation of vast data sets will enable advisors to predict the likely outcome of investment proposals, and to know which touchpoints, channels, marketing events and product recommendations are most likely to stimulate AUM growth.

AI will also play a major role in automating repetitive processes and increasing operational efficiency, but beyond that the ability to provide clients with the right advice, at the right time, is surely the ultimate goal in customer service. Contextual insights, derived from an accurate automated assessment of how a customer is ‘feeling’ at any given time, are proven to boost client satisfaction. Wealth managers can present investment advice that is timely and relevant, and highly likely to result in a sale.

2020 will also see accelerated uptake of cloud-based managed services; exciting progress that some would say is long-overdue. With cloud-based infrastructures, wealth managers can leverage technologically innovative solutions faster, avoiding the protracted deployment processes typically associated with on-premise installations, and at lower cost.

Wealth management has begun embracing new generations of both clients and advisors, who have only ever lived in the digital age. Clients expect their relationship and investments to be managed using cutting-edge technology. Incoming relationship managers will soon tire of outdated manual processes, instead expecting data and analytics to be presented via at-a-glance dashboards. Wealth managers who embrace AI and the Cloud in 2020 will be best positioned to minimise customer churn, and to attract and retain top talent.

Your support: Finally, as a solution provider to the wealth management sector, what will you be doing in 2020 to help your clients and prospects meet their main technology and technology-related business needs?

Through 2020, Wealth Dynamix will champion the drive to look beyond CRM technology as an effective means of managing client engagement. CRM tools manage just one part of the process and restrict execution of business growth strategies dependent on advisors having a single client view that supports meaningful decision-making.

The vast opportunities that next generation CLM platforms like Wealth Dynamix WDX1 bring are tried, tested and already proven. Wealth Dynamix clients are achieving substantial gains and savings:

Customer onboarding reduced from 25+ days to same-day, with 100% right-first-time rates

  • 80% more time spent managing service requests
  • 75% less time spent managing bulk client communications
  • 90% reduction in the number of ‘suitability’ issues identified retrospectively, from compliance spot-checks
  • 40% increase in return on investment of marketing campaigns
  • 10% reduction in relationship manager turnover

In 2020 we will share more success stories to demonstrate that there is a very real difference between service levels, customer satisfaction and front-office productivity for firms embracing CLM, rather than continuing to rely on CRM.

After seven years working with clients to implement CLM, it is apparent that they prefer to be self-sufficient, managing their own systems post-deployment. To support this trend, Wealth Dynamix is now providing clients and implementation partners with greater access to WDX1 APIs, configuration and QA tools, to enable self-configuration and self-management.

We will also be expanding our collaborations with domain-specialist implementation and technology partners. Our goal is to provide access to the broadest range of data sources and functionality innovation possible, and of course to continue supporting the latest Microsoft technologies, as an ISV partner.

This interview was originally published on by Wealth Mosaic here.

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