International Financial Advisers: Technology is changing the industry
The global marketplace is changing. For International Financial Advisers, the choice is stark: either adopt best practices in the face of challenges, or slowly become less relevant.
Let’s take a look at how things are changing.
On the financial front, there are increasing – and justified – calls for complete transparency and disclosure of commissions and remuneration. Clients need to know about cost structures for the investment strategies, funds and policies they are being asked to subscribe for. Then, there is a drive – being led by both regulators, clients and internal change champions – to justify the advice we offer with results. This calls for regular reviews, written documentation, and transparent results.
There are also more stringent data protection regulations coming to the fore. As IFAs, we have to thread the needle between making customer information available to internal teams while also ensuring personal data is kept sacrosanct. As new regulations such as GDPR come into play, firms with global operations need to comply with multiple data protection schemes.
So on the one hand, we need to deliver client-centric results while being upfront and honest about commission structures and revenue streams. On the other, we need to be agile, responsive and informed, all the while keeping customer data protected.
Conventional backoffice processes are incapable of keeping up with this lightning-fast environment. At present, many International Wealth Management firms are running a tangled web of archaic legacy systems, paper-based reporting and clunky archiving. This multiple systems model is inefficient. It reduces transparency, drives down information sharing, and increases overheads – which firms then pass onto their clients. Even worse, things fall through the cracks and mistakes are made. Opportunities to add value are squandered. This must change.
So what can we do about this? As a first step, we must come to the realisation that lean and agile structures never occur by accident. They require investment in technology, coupled with training and change management strategies. We must also throw away our old IT models where multiple systems vie for attention.
The order of the day is digitalisation led by an integrated software solution that can assemble a seamless value chain – from first customer contact all the way to transparent results.
I have worked with numerous back office systems, searched for a solution to all reporting, data and operational needs – and realised that WealthCraft is an excellent fit for what the industry wants to achieve.
WealthCraft is a financial services solution underpinned by the power of Microsoft Dynamics 365. This robust underlying platform will guarantee compatibility across Wealth Management Businesses. Technological jargon aside, WealthCraft lets you store all client information and communication in a single cloud system. The end result: a single source of truth for your clients and internal teams.
This unification of data does two things: it helps protect data effectively, and also to utilise it for analysis to create value for customers.
It’s not enough to just have data. You must also use it in favour of your clients. With WealthCraft, the full financial process can be achieved within a single system. Based on the information gathered and input, WealthCraft helps create robust risk profiles and investment aptitude analyses for clients. It also streamlines mundane housekeeping tasks such as making sure documentation is up to date.
A single source of truth and analysis helps deliver effective service and add genuine value to your clients. But this solution does more than that. It also helps us identify new opportunities and manage our pipeline of future business. It makes sure no business falls through the cracks and no opportunities are lost in a cacophony of trivialities.
Accountability is extremely important. WealthCraft delivers this chain of accountability, ensuring we have reasonable grounds for the client strategies generated. In fact, the system creates a perfect audit trail of all client relationships, from first meeting to date. All the advice generated is well-documented and stored.
In short, the financial advisory industry is heading for upheaval. The old ways of conducting business are just not good enough anymore. We’ve been handed the baton of change by our clients, regulators and even shareholders.
The way forward is digitalisation-driven, with integrated systems powering better results for your clients, and for you. If your firm hasn’t yet invested in an integrated management system, now is the time to take decisive action. From my experience, I’m happy to recommend WealthCraft if you’re building a shortlist of options. The solution has helped me create excellent results for my clients, my internal teams and even shareholders.
Implementing any back office system can be complex, as we all know these great systems don’t come out of the box ready to use. If you need help or assistance in ensuring your system is implemented successfully, or wonder if you are using your back office system to its full potential then reach out to us now.
As an expat expert, I am on hand to help with all of the above and more.
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Mike Coady is an award-winning financial expert and a well-known leader in the financial industry.
Having taken two of his previous firms to Chartered Status in the UK and also achieved the prestigious National IFA of the Year Award – Highly Commended.
Mike is qualified to UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) standards, a member of the Chartered Insurance Institute, a Fellow of the Institute of Sales Management (FISM), and a Fellow of the Institute of Directors (FIoD).
Blog published by Mike Coady