Home Brokerage How Intelligent Automation Strengthens Wealth Managers’ Competitive Advantage

How Intelligent Automation Strengthens Wealth Managers’ Competitive Advantage

by internationalbanker

By Jerry Wallis, Head of Industry Strategy, SS&C Blue Prism

 

 

 

 

Today, wealth managers find themselves in a rapidly changing industry in which they must quickly respond to new investors’ evolving needs. These investors are young and tech-savvy, with different expectations than traditional investors. They expect highly functional digital experiences and lower fees, and they want more influence over sustainability and other aspects of their portfolios. Every touchpoint within wealth managers’ organisations is being impacted, and they have to decide how to respond to evolving investment strategies, multiple engagement channels and increasingly restrictive cost controls.

Asset and wealth managers can meet these new and evolving demands by offering various investment choices that appeal to this new generation of investors. However, tighter regulations force firms and organisations to develop governance processes to ensure appropriate risk management and customer protection.

These changes are also reflected in how the wealth- and asset-management industry pitches itself to prospective employees who want more client-focused priorities and less repetitive paper shuffling requiring human intervention.

For wealth and asset managers, clients and employees alike, a supercharged digital business transformation using intelligent automation (IA)––business process management (BPM), robotic process automation (RPA), artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML)—is becoming a vital strategy to retain existing or develop new revenue streams.

Digital workers—intelligent software robots programmed to complete specific processes people shouldn’t have to do—working hand-in-hand with staff can deliver rewarding results, from improving data for better decision-making and enhancing process flows to allowing more accurate auditability.

The latest wealth-industry thinking confirms this, with (according to ThoughtLab) those organisations that have embraced digital transformation seeing an increase in productivity (13.8 percent), assets under management (8.1 percent) and revenue (7.7 percent). Many financial companies are already starting their IA journeys.

To help businesses in the wealth-management sector achieve competitive advantages through intelligent automation, SS&C Blue Prism developed a three-step roadmap to success.

  1. Ensure a top-quality client experience

Investors now not only expect lower fees but are also increasingly likely to switch to a different wealth- and asset-management firm to secure better returns and enjoy frictionless access to information across channels. Trust is a key factor for investors when selecting a wealth manager with whom to invest their funds, and it can be gained by delivering a first-class customer experience.

The various benefits that wealth and asset managers provide their customers through IA testify to the improvements that can be realised throughout the entire lifecycle of investor-related processes.

These include:

  • Offering faster, more secure and more accurate investor onboarding;
  • Allocating a diverse range of assets with better insights into potential profitability;
  • Providing clients with greater access and visibility into their portfolio performances;
  • Delivering total accuracy every time with calculations and monthly statements.

For Giovanni Gentile, managing director of automation for State Street Bank and Trust, seamless client access to information across multiple automated platforms is a must. “If your customers trust you and believe in what you’re doing, and you provide them with the services that they’re asking for, you’re going to have a win-win situation, and that’s what automation is really doing for us. It’s allowing us to streamline our operations, improve our velocity… getting information to our customers that’s accurate and time sensitive.”

  1. Improve your regulatory compliance and risk management

Wealth and asset management is a heavily data-driven industry. Successful companies use automated, real-time reporting and valuations by collating and extracting data from structured and unstructured sources entering multiple platforms, whether white-labelled third-party or legacy in-house systems.

Extracting and inputting data are core elements of hundreds of processes, including risk, compliance, reporting and reconciliation. Quite simply, a digital workforce can replicate employees’ work once trained on the exact data to source and extract and the procedures to update forms, reports, systems or communications.

Regulators worldwide are rapidly introducing stricter guidance to prevent misselling, poor performance and security breaches. Organisations breaking the rules can expect to suffer reputational damages and face financial penalties. IA records decision-making processes and digital workers’ actions at a keystroke level, simplifying auditing and freeing employees to focus more on client-facing tasks. It also empowers users to collaborate with digital workers in complex workflows that require manual intervention or cooperation.

  1. Provide valuable and unexchangeable investment decisions

There’s no substitute for an experienced expert or research team, but changes in the sector mean even the most skilled employees struggle to keep track of the rapidly expanding range of market intelligence and investment opportunities. As more retail investors take hybrid approaches to portfolios, expecting to see alpha-generating opportunities from complex alternative investments, augmented investment decision-making matters.

To meet the needs for personalised portfolios while operating quickly and accurately in rapidly changing markets, automated processes harnessing the power of IA allow wealth managers to digitise accurately and classify and extract information from structured, semi-structured and unstructured documents, making it easier to spot trends and correlations to achieve deeper analyses and gain more valuable insights.

Integrating IA into the investment-decision process can also create far more accurate investment-projection models. According to Schroders, “Automation has enabled us to provide faster and more accurate investment decisions, leading to improved investment performance and higher returns for clients. This has improved client satisfaction and retention, enabling Schroders to maintain a strong market position.”

Elevate your organisation with IA

Wealth-management companies take varying approaches when scaling IA, and a clear balance must be struck between tactical, siloed adoption at one end of the scale and full-blown digital transformation at the other. Tactical, task-based adoption can engender a culture of individual yet limited changes that are difficult to monitor, govern and orchestrate.

Most processes impact workflows across multiple organisational operations and activities, so wealth managers must control and oversee multiple processes within their organisations, a challenge many wealth firms seek to overcome by adopting automation. By implementing automation across a business, processes are streamlined and can support wealth managers in their daily management of business activities.

Because few processes are siloed, it is important to be aware of their impacts on adjacent workflows. Senior management’s buy-in and commitment to adopting automation across the organisation are key to determining where wealth firms should begin. These factors determine the IA program’s budget and drive decisions regarding which platforms and skills are most suitable for a business’s needs. A firm can take a federalised or centralised approach, with the latter commonly involving a central team or centre of excellence that governs activities and orchestrates different processes within the organisation. Both approaches benefit organisations with a cultural appetite for intelligent-automation strategies, providing support when development is orchestrated centrally or freedom to create standards through a specialist team.

There is no doubt that wealth and asset managers who have already adopted IA benefit from it, putting themselves in an advantageous position to secure the future for their clients and employees.

 

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jerry Wallis has been working for enterprise IT vendors for more than 30 years, having held various roles leading solution-consulting and value-engineering teams across the UK and EMEA. As Head of Industry Strategy for EMEA, Jerry now oversees SS&C Blue Prism’s intelligent automation-solutions strategy for customers across industries such as insurance, financial services, healthcare and manufacturing.

 

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