Three ways technology has proven essential for client management during Covid-19

The coronavirus crisis has made it near impossible to meet new clients face to face, which is why technology is playing an increasingly important role in the process of managing customer relationships.

At a recent webinar, Wealth Dynamix’s managing director for Southern Europe Francois de Lescure spoke with Christian Gmünder, head private client operations and services at Vontobel, Cyril Bouchu, principal and managing director at Decisive, and Loïc Paquotte, director at Chappuis Halder.

Through the conversation they identified three areas in which financial services firms can benefit from technology: client acquisition, onboarding and management.

Starting with client acquisition, the people speaking at the webinar suggested that technology can be a huge tool during the prospecting stage, but that wealth managers still view tech as an enabler rather than a replacement for human interaction.

Essentially, wealth management professional remained sceptical that firms can develop meaningful relationships with potential clients based entirely on digital interactions, but technology can be advantageous for building trust, such as treating a prospect like a valued client before they actually become one by giving them access to an online client portal.

Looking at client onboarding, this is where webinar participants suggested that technology could prove particularly useful as it would make the process faster and more painless.

“One tip for speeding up onboarding is for firms to view acquisition and onboarding as one combined process where client data can be gathered during the prospecting stage and then automated to more rapidly onboard that client,” Wealth Dynamix summarised the conversation. “This is an area where established wealth managers need to focus their tech investment given that new entrants, who are unencumbered with legacy systems, can create more streamlined and simplified onboarding processes.

“Wealth managers also need to think about how to enhance this digital onboarding experience in the same way that they have made their physical receptions and meeting rooms plush and inviting.”

The sentiment echoed that of Kristoff Zammit Ciantar, CEO and founder of KYC Portal, the RegTech company specialising in know your customer solutions, who recently told RegTech Analyst that the Covid-19 crisis has accelerated the adoption of digital onboarding processes.

“Covid imposed restrictions [and] lockdowns [that forced] branches to close,” Zammit Ciantar explained. The physical branches closing meant fewer walk-ins to sign up for accounts or face-to-face meetings to complete due diligence processed for prospective clients. In other words, they needed more digital onboarding solutions.

The third area, client management, was also highlighted as being ripe for disruption thanks to the ubiquity of digital channels wealth managers can utilise to keep abreast of their customer relationships.

“This could be as simple as making communication more convenient, such as using compliance-friendly messaging apps,” Wealth Dynamix stated. “There is also an opportunity for firms to go beyond using video conferencing software and embrace technology as a way to improve client interactions, such as providing a live simulation of an investment proposal rather than sending it a week later via email.

“Another way firms can use tech to more efficiently manage client relationships is through a dedicated advisor dashboard where all client information and digital tools are located in one place. Integrating technology such as AI can also give wealth managers tailored insights and product recommendations, enabling advisors to engage with clients more thoughtfully and provide a better all-round experience.”

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