12.16.2015

No More Silos: Wealth Management has Evolved into an Ecosystem (By Bill Rourke, Salentica)

By Bill Rourke, Salentica

Technology is advancing rapidly and no facet of the business world remains untouched by this historic force. These great advancements have enabled businesses to be more efficient and deliver higher levels of service, regardless of category.  Nowhere is this more important than in the wealth management industry.

Wealth management is experiencing a significant evolution. Advisors are embracing integrated systems that can manage all of a client’s needs. These new systems are quickly rendering the old ways of doing things obsolete. It’s an exciting time to be in the thick of things as financial technology is improving the service levels advisors can provide to investors of all sizes.

In short, the wealth management world is experiencing three large movements that will create a usable ecosystem for managers: Integration, Automation and Specialization.

 

Integration

Advisors are trying to help their customers to increase their wealth with maximum efficiency, highest service levels and lowest risk. And the key to that is being able to manage information in real time. So many pieces of data need to be tracked and there are so many different providers managing these pieces that integration is a key requirement to provide a 360 degree view for the client.

Wealth managers are looking for systems that will give them the confidence they need to compete in a rapidly changing world. They need to access multiple tools in a seamless way. The need for integration and workflow enablement does not need to blunt the specialized tools; barriers are coming down.  Differing applications and systems are being brought into the fold.

Throughout the industry that serves RIAs we are seeing a storm of product integration. Even among competitors, groups that serve advisors are making it so that their services can work together. The next step is that this integration needs to enable data from different systems to reside inside your CRM solution. This data can then trigger automated actions and workflow to drive firm wide efficiencies, consistent processes and improved service.

 

Automation

The future of wealth management will have a number of components working in concert and spurring concrete action. For instance, custodian data automatically loading into your CRM solution will provide easy to find, meaningful insight into client data. Take for example, when a portfolio has excess cash, or the reverse has happened where cash available is below the required minimum. In these cases the CRM is able to report on this and generate workflow alerts for advisors to make sure that portfolio balances are kept in compliance with the customer’s Investment Policy Statement.

Thus managing a portfolio becomes part of a seamless ecosystem. This is not taking real management out of the game; it’s making sure wealth advisors are protecting assets with the best tools available while remaining on task. The smartest data in the world will be of little use if it’s not actionable intelligence. Make sure your system can handle these functions, because the genie is out of the bottle and customers know this technology is out there.

Automation is no longer a novelty, it’s a necessity.

 

Specialization

This progress isn’t going to be the work of a few large market players either. It’s the niche providers that are going to give better service and understand a client’s business. These players know the ins and outs of the wealth management business, which translates into much more efficient integration with workflow. The larger service providers are restricted by their size and must offer a one-size-fits all approach. But smaller firms are going to be the ones giving the kind of specialized services that wealth managers crave. With integration, specialized product offerings can now compete on a more even keel with those that may dwarf them in size.

Software providers have long understood that advisors need a variety of specialized tools. The software that’s being built today is being made to support integration.  There are more web-based tools, more APIs and other features made available so that a wide variety of vendors can connect with each other. You can’t have siloed products anymore. All parts of any effective management system have to talk to each other and work together.

Wealth managers can’t afford to rest on the latest innovations. If advisors cannot offer the best services, their clients will move elsewhere. The wealth management ecosystem evolving with the universe of competing products will not take shape overnight. As integration enables more seamless integrations that can trigger appropriate actions, once-familiar data silos will be relegated to the ash heap of history.

Bill Rourke is President and Founder of Salentica, a CRM for wealth management.

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