Intelligent automation (IA) provides an unrivaled advantage for asset and wealth management firms. It plays a pivotal role in helping wealth and asset managers fulfill the shifting demands and heightened expectations of investors, while also adapting to the emerging dynamics of an increasingly digital-enabled market. These evolving dynamics encompass:
- The transfer of wealth to a tech-savvy younger generation.
- Heightened regulatory scrutiny.
- Client requirements for sustainability and cost efficiency.
- The constraints of a competitive labor market.
Not only does IA present a solution to tackle these challenges, but it also paves the way for an array of opportunities with expansive advantages. Let’s take a look at some examples as they pertain to the asset and wealth management industry.
70% of wealth and asset management firms say they’ve deployed or are experimenting with automation, and 85% are planning to increase their use of automation in the next two years.
- Gartner’s Financial Technology Survey
But First, What Is Intelligent Automation?
Intelligent automation is a transformative technology made up of a combination of cognitive technologies to automate, optimize and streamline business processes. It involves the use of robotic process automation (RPA), artificial intelligence (AI), natural language processing (NLP), machine learning (ML) and optical character recognition (OCR), among many others, to perform tasks, make decisions and adapt to evolving business scenarios with minimal human intervention.
Typically, IA involves the use of digital workers, which are software robots that can be trained to mimic human actions. They’re able to perform tasks just as a human would, but without any error and with the ability to operate 24/7. The ultimate benefit of digital workers is that they free up human employees to focus on more value-added tasks. For example, in the case of wealth and asset management, digital workers can free up an asset and wealth manager’s time to focus on strategic activities like portfolio optimization and client consultations.
Examples of Automation in Wealth and Asset Management
Here are three examples of how automation can elevate the success of wealth and asset management firms.
- Streamline Mergers & Acquisitions (M&A)
Growing post-acquisition can be challenging as significant barriers exist to cost reduction in an acquired firm, including the need for system integration.
This integration often involves data migration, and while firms can build APIs and other mechanisms to do this, it all ends the same way: with teams of well-paid, skilled people acting as the glue between legacy systems. They’re tasked with sifting through data, often manually re-entering it into new systems. Additionally, inheriting compliance obligations like KYC and AML checks can be a manual, time-consuming process for existing investors.
IA is a game-changing solution that revolutionizes the way we overcome these challenges. Instead of relying on manual efforts or building APIs, IA tools and digital workers can be easily deployed into existing systems to transfer data seamlessly, reducing the need for extensive human intervention. IA also excels in data handling, eliminating the need for asset and wealth managers to manually sift through data. It ensures accurate, timely and efficient data transfer. This way, teams can focus on the more strategic aspects that facilitate growth and successful transition and integration of assets.
- Create More Efficient Trade Confirmations
Consider how an asset management firm handles daily trade confirmations from various financial services and institutions. Traditionally, asset managers would manually review each document, validate the trades and update client portfolios in the system. With a human worker, this process is time-consuming and introduces errors. But IA and digital workers make this more efficient and effective.
Digital workers can first receive and classify incoming documents and statements, consolidating them for easier reviews. Then, using advanced technology like OCR, they can extract the relevant information needed to facilitate the trade, such as trade details, account numbers and transaction values. From here, they can even validate and cross-check data with existing client portfolios to ensure compliance, and update records in systems. At any point in these processes, if any issues arise or predefined criteria are flagged, the task can be escalated to asset managers for review.
As a result, automation has meant that asset managers no longer spend hours manually keying and processing trade confirmations and statements. They can allocate more of their time to strategic work, and the firm experiences improved accuracy and reduced operation costs from faster trade executions and reporting. Advanced IA can even help financial advisors identify investment opportunities. IA can analyze extensive amounts of datasets and collate investment information into a concise and comprehensible document—so even if you only have time for a minute read, advisors are able to make data-driven investment decisions more swiftly.
- Increasing Regulatory Compliance
Wealth and asset management is now a heavily data-driven industry. Successful firms operate with automations and real-time reporting and valuations by inputting and extracting data from any platform.
All these process improvements are happening amid an ever-shifting landscape of increasingly stricter regulations. Firms breaking the rules can expect to suffer heavy financial penalties and reputational damage. But firms who deploy IA can breathe a little easier. IA records decision-making and actions at a keystroke level, which simplifies auditing. Furthermore, they are able to update information on a database to stay compliant with the latest changes.
For example, if KYC reporting needs to be more enhanced, digital workers can automatically scan your client database, identify and update KYC documentation. IA can also analyze and scan these documents for discrepancies, which can then again be flagged for prompt review by a human worker.
Extensive Benefits of Wealth and Asset Management Automation
Intelligent automation extends beyond the direct benefits of the specific business process it’s supporting. Beyond the benefits outlined in the examples above, IA can also:
- Reduce operational costs as digital workers are efficient and accurate.
- Enable remote work, supporting flexibility and business continuity during unforeseen disruptions.
- Enhance data security with access controls, encryptions and continuous monitoring options.
- Provide better client and customer experiences. IA enables relationship managers to have more free time to interact with clients and establish meaningful, long-term relationships.
- Helps growth as IA systems and tools are scalable and flexible to handle growing workloads and changing business needs, without additional resources.
By adopting intelligent automation, organizations expect to achieve an average cost reduction of 31% over the next three years, up from 24% in 2020.
- Deloitte Global Intelligent Automation Survey
IA catalyzes efficiency, innovation and improved performance across various aspects of wealth and asset management companies. In fact, it’s no longer a nice-to-have for firms—in today’s fast-moving competitive world, it’s now a must-have.
Learn more about how intelligent automation and its encompassing technologies can help your asset and wealth management firm stay competitive and grow with SS&C Blue Prism.
Written by Nigel Armstrong
UKIB FSI Global Account Director