Blog Post Banner Image
18 April 2024

Staying Ahead in Wealth Management Part II | Key Takeaways from the SS&C Advisory Executive Forum

Recently, SS&C leaders hosted a gathering of some of the country’s largest and fastest-growing wealth management firms for its annual Advisory Executive Forum. This event provided a venue for senior principals from these firms to discuss strategies for tackling the myriad challenges of today's industry. Amidst a backdrop of impressive growth and innovation within SS&C's wealth and investment technologies solutions, attendees were given a glimpse into the future of advisory services, marked by integration, expansion, and a relentless pursuit of excellence.

Steve Leivent, SS&C Co-General Manager of SS&C Advent, opened the day by sharing impressive numbers and trends driving SS&C's advisory business success. The event also welcomed subject matter experts who discussed the big macro-trends driving the direction of the wealth management space.

Building Blocks for Modernizing Wealth Management

Celent researcher and analyst Ashley Longabaugh provided a data-driven presentation on the “Five Core Technology Building Blocks” that will lead to a “New Wealth Management Paradigm.”

  1. Customizing and streamlining advisor and client workflows: To solve this challenge, firms must digitize client data and make it actionable through “omnichannel” engagement, advice delivery options, and collaboration tools. Firms will also need to overcome legacy technologies that cause advisors to work in multiple applications, resulting in the "swivel chair" effect.
  2. Scaling operations for speed and agility: This need requires firms to address the many inefficiencies in existing operating models by leveraging APIs and cloud-based systems. As a result, firms can expand their wealth management services across a broader set of clients to drive growth at scale.
  3. “Unbundling” the tech stack: Firms should research breaking down silos into modular components to have a more flexible, API-connected, and holistic platform.
  4. Emerging technologies and their impact on firm productivity: Firms should look to adopt the latest applications of Generative AI and predictive analytics to amplify efficiencies, reach new client segments, and enhance the ability to deliver superior advisor-client experiences.
  5. Securing the enterprise via advanced cybersecurity and data privacy architectures: In yet another use case for AI, this emerging technology can automate security tasks, monitor networks for suspicious activity, and identify and protect sensitive data.

As firms look to maximize their abilities in these areas, Longabaugh states, “Combining these technologies will be a game-changer.”

Key Findings from Industry Benchmarking

Paul Fullerton, Director, Management Consulting for Schwab Advisor Services shared highlights from his latest benchmarking study, which showed that the independent RIA channel continues to lead the pack in growth metrics. “Advisors continue to choose independence with RIAs growing at 5.2% per year for the last ten years, while wirehouses have declined 1% and IBDs 2.2% over that same time frame,” Fullerton noted.

At the same time, financial performance in the RIA channel has experienced accelerated growth, with AUM and revenues growing at a 10% CAGR over the last five years, while new clients grew at more than a 6% CAGR during those five years. However, that growth is not even across the industry and is depended directly on firms’ ability to develop and execute growth strategies. Fullerton stated, “Firms with written marketing plans, ideal client personas, and client value propositions attracted 52% more new clients and 46% more new assets than those who didn’t.”

Along these same lines, the benchmarking research showed that strategies to create efficiencies in just the last few years are paying off in dramatic productivity gains, resulting in the ability to scale advisory firms better. Across the board, investments in back-office technologies have resulted in advisors being able to manage more AUM for more clients while significantly reducing the time spent on operational and administrative tasks and processes. “Firms can’t invest enough in the latest technologies with the opportunity to continue to build fabulous businesses,” Fullerton concluded.

In his concluding remarks, Leivent noted that “The Executive Forum continues to play a key role in the ongoing evolution of our Advisory services and technology, and we can’t say thanks enough to everyone for taking the time out of their schedules to share the day with us, providing us with this rare opportunity to absorb the great ideas that make the Black Diamond community thrive.”

For more information on how SS&C can support the unique needs of your wealth management business, request your personal demo, call 1-800-727-0605, or email