Unlocking the Potential of wealth management
By Joman Kwong, Strategic Solutions Manager for Financial Services at Laserfiche
From the exchange of goods through bartering to Bitcoin, the evolution of money has encompassed countless forms over the years. Money goes beyond metal coins or paper banknotes; it serves as a means of preserving wealth and facilitating transactions including intangible assets, property, and resources possessed by individuals or organizations.
Money has come a long way since the Mesopotamians traded grain, clay, and reeds as a means of exchange in 5000 BCE. Out of the global wealth worth $60 trillion, only a mere 10% is represented by physical currency. The remaining 90% takes the form of digital assets stored on computer servers and is transferred electronically instead of relying on tangible transactions.
Digital money has had a significant contribution to the rise of globalization. However, this also means that any economic downturns are felt far more widely. Recent obstacles concerning supply chains, geopolitics, energy shortages, and price inflation have hindered global progress, resulting in countries like the UK being on the brink of recession. However, for wealth management firms, this instability presents an opportunity for profitability, provided they adapt to a new approach to governance.
Managing the downturn
As Capgemini’s ‘Top Trends in wealth management for 2023’ report states, “Uncertain economic times can offer wealth management firms the opportunity to lead and showcase expertise.” However, wealth management remains a sensitive area, with many customers retaining traditional values and preferring the perceived security and simplicity of physical cash and paper-based documentation.
As a result, some firms are still unwilling to risk pivoting their processes to more efficient and secure digital means. But as the headline asks, today’s money is mostly digital—so why isn’t its management? The perks are almost endless, from the elimination of repetitive tasks to stronger, less time-consuming regulatory compliance. So, let’s explore the benefits of using a cloud content services platform for financial services and wealth management in a little more detail.
Boosting productivity and efficiency
Firstly, the implementation of digital tools enables firms to streamline business processes and minimize operational costs through automated back-office work. Low-code process automation tools reduce the manual steps involved in managing internal and client-facing processes, for instance, by pre-populating information and digitizing review and approval stages.
Fortunately, modern automation tools are ultra-simple to implement, too. Low-code/no-code drag-and-drop platforms allow even the most non-technical users to design and build processes from scratch, kick-starting automation right away without lengthy development, business disruption, or large IT spending and resources. Ultimately, these digital experiences often result in greater client and employee satisfaction, with advisors having more time to interact with clients, back-office employees enjoying the chance to carry out more fulfilling work, and clients receiving speedier, smoother engagement. And this is just the beginning of automation’s potential.
Simplifying the onboarding process
Straight-through processing (STP) is a method that helps financial organizations automate transactions, reducing the chances of bottleneck and human error. And while it’s already used by many wealth management firms as part of their new account opening processes, there are still gaps in the speed, security, and efficiency of the system.
Establishing STP through a unified, integrated cloud content management system enables firms to improve accountability, speed of search, workflow automation, and information management, resulting in maximized productivity and outstanding client experiences. Some content services platforms (CSPs) even enable financial services firms to open a new client account in less than 30 mins. After all, first impressions count—and firms with integrated STP and CMS can provide outstanding client onboarding that cultivates a long-standing customer relationship.
Facilitating regulatory compliance
Meanwhile, strict finance and capital market rules and regular regulatory changes are making it tougher for many firms to uphold high levels of service. However, their wealth management advisors hold key responsibilities like investment expertise—they must be allowed to focus on getting value for their clients, rather than using precious hours to comply with regulatory demands.
Centralizing clients’ wealth management on a cloud-based platform enables permission-based, secure data collaboration. The system can also automatically retain all communication and documents with full metadata, automated records retention policies, and audit trail, creating readily available audit reports. This way, firms can simplify their audits, swiftly address law changes, and minimize the risk of non-compliance, all while concentrating on delivering outstanding client service.
Safeguarding sensitive data
Finally, we must consider the all-important issue of security. With record-breaking online hacks and leaks regularly in the news, it admittedly makes sense that many people prefer to keep confidential records under physical lock and key. Though it may somewhat require a leap of faith, in reality, the electronic storage of information and wealth is far more secure. Paper always carries the risk of being lost, stolen, or even destroyed. Electronic records, on the other hand, remain in place and often use an automated audit trail to track all activities made on documents and who has accessed them.
Enhancing wealth management
Wealth management aims to empower individuals in maximising their financial resources, in the way they prefer. When clients strongly prefer traditional cash and paper documents, it can be challenging to persuade them to embrace alternative methods without potentially damaging the relationship. However, for those willing to embrace the digital revolution, now is the moment to provide support in transitioning to a digital framework.
To accomplish this, wealth management firms must empower their advisors to prioritize the client experience. As we navigate through challenging economic times, wealth management staff and firms who leverage cutting-edge technologies will unlock their expertise, differentiate themselves from others, and increase their likelihood of achieving substantial wealth.