With all of the day-to-day rigors of running an investment operation, it is difficult to devote the time to look at your overall operations, but it is important to pause and consider areas to improve and your longer-term future needs. In my role as a product manager, I often hear from wealth management firms that are struggling to optimize their operations and feeling they lack a compass to help them chart the path forward. As one firm representative told me, “We just don’t know what we’re looking for.” I’ve seen hundreds of clients and implementations, and in this post, I share my perspective on some of the key aspects you should consider to grow and optimize your business.
As much as we all like to feel we are the masters of our destiny, we must admit that success is often a culmination of the interaction of disparate components. Today this is more true than ever, and system and program interactivity are more important than ever. When I think of open systems, I think about the entire business ecosystem, for example: open connections to execution venues for trading, real-time links to supporting platforms such as CRM and financial planning, and even real-time integration of all types of data for your team’s analysis and internal reporting. This type of interoperability marks the difference between a software package and a business enabler. When pursuing overall operational advancements, look for integration flexibility such as APIs, web services, user-definable file formats and the ability to run these “headless” to reduce labor costs. Open systems have to reduce business risk, not increase it. For example, when you trade in a system such as our Global Wealth Platform (GWP), your positions update in real time as trades are released to market, which ensures a consistent view of your clients’ holdings at all times.
Operational Efficiency and Agility
In today’s world of fee compression and needing to do more with less, I’m often asked how a firm can change its current paradigm. To do so, look at where time is spent and what is required to run a quality operation. I often say if it doesn’t make you money or save you money, there is no reason to do it. With that said, you can stop doing certain tasks without negative impact to your business, while saving time and effort. Examples include business continuity provisioning, system audit reporting and basic system maintenance and updates. Most contemporary platforms have moved to what is essentially a continuous release cycle, where all users are on the most recent version of the software all the time, and thereby no longer need to be concerned about upgrading or lengthy testing cycles. As business changes come about faster and faster, it is important that your service provider can get you what you need, when you need it. A vendor’s customer-driven development agenda is a nice way to ensure you can be agile in your business, and with a strong service provider backing you up with strategic enhancements that stem from user group feedback, you will ensure your firm remains aligned with the market.
Your business is an ecosystem that must work in harmony today and position itself for what comes tomorrow. Any platform selection should support referential integrity, whereby your data is consistent whether you view it through performance, accounting, client reporting, or other outlets—new or in place. As your business grows, maintaining your focus on core competencies to optimize your business could mean freeing up resources focused on less value-generating work, and a vendor with a rich offering of outsourcing services can provide options for extending and improving your operations. Lastly, change is inevitable. Three, five, or ten years from now, your business will evolve and so should your service provider. Ask them what their strategic roadmap looks like. Their answer should include the latest concepts such as artificial intelligence (AI), bot assistants, and other leading-edge technology and business solutions that will arm your business with the tools and intelligence it needs to thrive.
To learn more about our Global Wealth Platform (GWP), download the "GWP for Wealth Managers" brochure or contact us.
Asset Management, Wealth Management