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The right choice may be complicated

04 July 2019 Jonathan Faurie

We have recently come across a survey which made us realise that wealth software systems are quite prevalent in the financial services industry.

Some advisory practices are being driven by the thought process of using a wealth software system they have used for a long time because that’s the way they have always done it. Other advisory practices are realising that if a company invests in their business, they can have a wealth management platform that integrates a number of different tools. 

The options available to advisers are endless. The problem with this is that being spoilt for choice can make your decision a bit tough.  We get the odd enquiry from advisers who asks us for direction, for advice and for guidance and we decided to approach Jen McKay, a Director at Linktank and Francois du Toit CFP, Owner of Francois du Toit Consulting and Technology, to find out more about how to select the best system that will benefit your business. 

In addition, we have compiled a digimag that will also assist in guiding your decision. 

Know thy client

Wealth software systems are in common use internationally. I recently came across an article which pointed out that the selection of a software system needs to be guided by knowledge of the client. 

The article points out that simply having a customer relationship management (CRM) system is not the differentiator that it was in the past. Brokerages need to distinguish themselves and can achieve this in the way they use CRM to strengthen the client relationship. 

In addition, CRMs can create a highly personalised client experience. The article pointed out that understanding your clients means much more than knowing arbitrary information about them. Through the financial need’s analysis, you will get to know their life goals, family dynamics, and desires for the future transfer of their wealth. It will also document their risk tolerances, investment preferences and restrictions. 

The article adds that integration between CRM and portfolio management streamlines workflows and saves time. Further, it ensures consistency of client data. Advisers and client service teams can answer client questions during the initial call more accurately. This prevents an awkward follow up call. 

Putting it all together
The article pointed out is that what advisers need is a single platform that integrates all the client-centric technologies. Further, it needs to be built around a core portfolio management and reporting solution with interactive client portal access. It was also mentioned that integration is key to serving clients efficiently while improving the client experience.

 The article adds that the good news is that you don’t have to do it yourself. While 15% of advisers surveyed say they build their own interfaces in-house with a la carte software, 42% partner with a technology provider to integrate their critical applications. 

Selection process

McKay points out that technology change is an uncomfortable process and, whether or not a financial advisory practice has the luxury of adequate resources and the time to dedicate to selection, proper planning and thorough investigation are essential ingredients for success. 

“Run a quick survey throughout your business to establish consensus on what is currently working, what is not working and what the expectations would be of a new piece of software. This will help you to drill down to the real issues, as well as identify the areas that are working well, in order to maintain those standards,” says McKay. 

She added that companies should document a list of business requirements, involving key staff. Think about practical things, not just a list of standard CRM fields. Consider topics such as integration with other systems, automated data availability, packaged versus customisable workflow, output client reporting, management information, and manipulability of financial planning calculators, especially in the context of advisers’ appetite for complexity. 

Technology must fit the practice

Du Toit points out that the aim is to have one system; one system that can do and manage everything a financial advice or wealth management business needs. 

“However, no such system exists. Instead, financial advisers mostly choose a system either based on a recommendation from their peers or on price. This approach often leads to financial advisers trying to adapt their practice to fit the system changing the way they work which causes much frustration in the process.  Or, they simply do not use all the functionality to its fullest extent,” said Du Toit. 

In a world where flexibility and personalization are a requirement, financial advisers will start to create their own technology stack to suit their unique needs and way of work. 

Editor’s Thoughts:
With a great system you’ll be able to leverage technology better to drive profitability, scale, and growth. This will give you the edge; a much-needed edge at a time when you need it most. Please comment below, interact with us on Twitter at @fanews_online or email me your thoughts jonathan@fanews.co.za.

 

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