The past six to 12 months brought significant changes to the wealth-management industry as the effects of the pandemic linger, including how wealth management firms think about the core technology platforms needed to drive their business and serve their customers’ financial needs.
During this time, some wealth advisors sought to streamline their office operations by working in either a fully remote environment or a hybrid workspace. In addition, many adopted new methods of staying connected with clients, including investments in multi-channel, digital approaches since in-person meetings ceased.
When selecting new firm technology, advisors have plenty of choices with more than 300 stand-alone, specialized wealth-technology applications available. However, unless advisors can fall back on in-house IT and operations talent to manage these various systems, these apps are typically too complex to navigate easily.
When deciding on a technology platform, wealth management firms should first find a core platform that supports their business model while offering out-of-the-box functionality. However, as their business grows, firms benefit by using a technology partner who can suggest applications that can seamlessly integrate with the platform and continue to supporting its expansion.
Different wealth management firm types, including independent broker-dealers, family offices, and breakaway advisors, can tailor a universal wealth platform’s operating model to fit their unique needs. As a result, firms can scale their operations by stacking customizable technology applications to their businesses while providing the personalization and outstanding service clients want.
Here are some ways that universal wealth platforms can match an advisory firm’s needs:
- Independent broker-dealers (IBD): Since their most significant focus is compliance and oversight of advisors, IBDs are subject to audits that detail how they ensure suitability, security, and training. By adopting cloud-native platforms and moving away from legacy technologies, IBDs can modernize their operations, streamline their regulatory and compliance requirements, and leverage outsourced data reconciliation and management.
- Family office: Advisors who work with ultra-high net worth individuals juggle complex portfolios beyond stocks and bonds. Family offices must offer high-touch services and provide transparency among family members for accounts held in disparate locations. A comprehensive wealth platform must allow family office advisors to aggregate data from various brokerage, bank, and trust accounts and offer their clients an interactive portal to see their holdings.
- Breakaway advisors: Newly independent advisors generally don’t have IT support to help bring together various technologies. For most startups, advisors need a turnkey technology solution that immediately allows them to compete against larger firms and onboard and service clients right away.
When scaling or upgrading their technology, all advisory firms look to become more efficient and productive. Universal wealth platforms help advisors achieve their goals by automating time-consuming back-office operations, which lets them focus on their primary goals: Delivering value to clients and tracking agreed-upon goals.
Advisors also need to balance scaling their business while still providing the personalization clients demand. Tools such as automated portfolio modeling and rebalancing allow them to manage exceptions and deliver on their clients’ personal preferences.
In an era where clients focus on environmental, social, and governance investing (ESG), advisory firms must review portfolios to integrate these factors into the investment process. In addition, advisors who use direct indexing to create personalized index funds for clients need powerful technologies to implement these portfolios efficiently.
Since the pandemic, client communication has become more sophisticated, and digital tools such as mobile apps and interactive online portals are expected as part of the advisor-client relationship having these can enhance the overall client experience.
Some advisors take a holistic role with their clients, advising on big financial decisions beyond portfolio management. This strategy not only requires empathy with their clients but also a robust CRM system that can integrate a client’s entire financial well-being, including tax and estate planning, insurance, trust administration, and other information, into well-rounded advice.
Technology continues to rapidly change, and there are hundreds of systems available that focus on niche applications. Advisors need to focus on growing their business, responding to clients, and controlling costs, which leaves little to researching individual software applications.
A universal wealth platform is one way to help stream these processes. With the right technology partner, wealth management firms can efficiently build operations to suit their needs while meeting clients’ expectations.
Regardless of your size or structure, the Black Diamond® Wealth Platform has the flexibility, infrastructure, and power to serve as your universal wealth platform. Learn more by requesting your personal demo or contacting firstname.lastname@example.org.