Late last year, F2 Strategy published a post called, The Hierarchy of Integration. In it, my colleague, Lisa Asher, introduced the levels of technology integration within wealth management firms from low, or heavy reliance on manual processes to high, or using raw data and making bilateral updates between technology systems and all the steps in between. After reading it, you may be able to gauge where you fall on the hierarchy. But so what? What does achieving better integration really mean for business?
There are many advantages wealth management firms can attain when they climb the ladder of integration within their firms: three that are top of mind for me are increasing advisor and home office efficiency, improving client experience and enhancing the value of their technology investments.
Increase Advisor and Home Office Efficiency
Stop throwing away money and increase your clients’ satisfaction simultaneously. The more time your advisors can spend on client and prospect engagement, and less time they spend on operational tasks and re-keying data, the more effective you can be at providing great service to your clients and growing your business. Every hour spent building a report, keying in data, or manually building a proposal is time that they aren’t engaging with new prospects or clients.
Higher levels of technology integration can help you reduce costs associated with manual tasks and increase levels of prospect and client engagement. This is incredibly important given that engagement with an advisor is an indicator of higher client satisfaction. If you have more time to have meaningful conversations with clients, you’ll have increased levels of client satisfaction.
Improve Client Experience
When it comes to experiences, you’re not just being compared with other wealth management firms. Your clients are comparing the digital experience you provide them with what they get from the likes of Amazon, Starbucks and Apple. Those companies and others, especially those in the luxury retail space, are providing well-designed, integrated digital experiences that are personalized and easy to use. They expect that same level of experience from the digital tools you provide them. This is known as liquid expectations, and we all have them.
A high level of integration can help you deliver a more personalized and meaningful experience to your clients. The first step is to make the user experience simple and intuitive. Like Amazon’s one-click shopping experience, make sure everyone can go to one place and find their full financial picture. In addition, you can build on that to include other areas the client might be interested in, such as research on the firms they are invested in, to really drive personalization and value.
Enhance the Value of Technology You’ve Invested In
Many firms invest in large technology applications and then don’t use them to their full potential. Stop paying for features and not using them! Get the most bang for your buck!
A great example of this is a robust CRM system that ends up being used as a rolodex, while ignoring the potential to enhance critical workflows. Problems occur with financial planning software and portfolio management systems that aren’t plugged into proposal tools or record keeping platforms – read more about our research and perspective on the challenges with those tools in the recent whitepaper we wrote in partnership with Vestmark. Connecting the applications you already have can deliver a higher level of value to your wealth management firm rather than buying more applications.
The business case for technology integration is strong. Integration isn’t just nice to have. Having it or not having it makes a real impact on your ability to grow and scale your business. The process of integration can be done in stages with each stage bringing incremental value to your wealth management firm.
Explore ways your wealth management firm can move up the hierarchy of integration, get in touch to learn how we can help.