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FIS Blog

Solving digital increases advisor efficiency

Mike Tropeano, CFA | vice president, Wealth Strategy Development, FIS

February 17, 2021

Most wealth management providers were in various stages of their digital journey when the pandemic hit, fast tracking the need to offer sophisticated digital experiences as face-to-face interactions decreased. This put pressure on advisors to become more efficient as they needed to engage with clients more frequently. Aging technology and manual processes have stood in their way, with almost half of advisors only partly satisfied or not at all satisfied with their current digital offering, according to Refinitiv’s Transformation of Wealth Management report.

As competition remains fierce and expectations continue to grow, wealth providers have no choice but to rise to the challenge. Yet many struggle with leveraging technology to provide advisors with the tools to create differentiated experiences.

Investors have shown a willingness to make a change to meet their needs, especially in times of uncertainty. In fact, Capgemini’s 2021 report on top trends in wealth management found that 74% of high-net-worth clients are willing to leverage big tech for wealth management services based on their proven ability to offer a personalized experience. And it’s not just clients; firms could also face failure to retain or attract advisor talent.

Winning the relationship game

Each client interaction provides an opportunity to demonstrate your value. Missing expectations is a lost opportunity to build loyalty and trust or retain a client that may be at risk.

Consumers expect transactions to be completed in a timely and accurate manner with little friction. Enabling the client to initiate a transaction allows them to interact on their terms and their time, making it easier to do business with you. This is also more efficient for your client-facing teams. Clients view self-service as a benefit, not a burden. According to Capgemini, 77% of high-net-worth clients prefer self-service through a company website for access to portfolio information. Initiating transactions is the next step.

Efficiency goes beyond increasing self-service. Dynamic workflow tools can significantly reduce paper, improve accuracy and increase timeliness. When a transaction is captured electronically at the point of origin and moved through an organization digitally, duplicate entry, follow-up by email and manually routing source documents is virtually eliminated. More importantly, most transactions will be completed sooner.

Reporting can also provide transparency, reducing client frustration from transactions going into a black hole and only knowing they were complete when they check their account, receive a confirmation or, worse yet, call to check on the status.

Putting data to work

The volume of data continues to increase exponentially, and many firms struggle to transform it into meaningful and actionable insights. Organizations are often proficient at storing demographic and financial information and less successful at leveraging this information to better service the client, personalize experiences and provide better outcomes. These disconnects are the result of having neither a strong data infrastructure nor the tools to deliver a final product.

The first step to transformation is to consolidate the needed information from disparate systems into a single source that is easily accessed. When gathering information, data should be pulled in real time to eliminate errors or the need to rework because of timing issues. This is where APIs become critical in delivering information in a timely manner. They can also reduce cost and time to complete integration.

Next, deploying an analytic tool is the best way to deliver results through a single process. Leveraging advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence and predictive analytics increases productivity by delivering actionable insights to the dashboard while increasing confidence in the results. Depending on one-off spreadsheets on somebody’s desktop is risky and inefficient.

The advisor can also build trust with the investor by proactively engaging them when they detect a change in the investor’s situation.

Achieving true digital transformation

Oftentimes, digital is equated with simply augmenting existing applications to react to market changes. But true digital transformation goes beyond that. It requires a different mindset and involves a change in business model, enhanced by the adoption of a data-driven, digital infrastructure to enable more seamless, efficient processing.

It’s complex to achieve, but the rewards are exponential. The world has changed. Wealth managers who transform at a faster pace than the change and more quickly than their competitors are poised for growth. And a critical step to that is solving digital.