Why firms should focus on client centricity and adviser/agent efficiency in digital business models

Digitalisation is no longer a niche innovation project. When it comes to client’s financial relationship management, it should be an essential part of a firm’s business strategy to survive this decade, says Uday Nimmakayala, CEO and Founder at WealthObjects.

One of the most pressing questions the Insurance and Investment industry must now answer is how they will change and improve their offering in line with different digital client demands and segments. They should offer clients the digital tools and software capabilities to enjoy better engagement levels with their relationship manager.

There is a growing recognition that the next generation coming into wealth will have different needs and expectations around service provision. They will want a different high-touch service level combined with digital that is enabled over the channel of their choice and at the time of their choosing. Going digital was an ongoing issue before Covid but has been pushed sharply into the spotlight as advisers and clients alike needed to find new ways to connect remotely and seamlessly engage quickly.

The quality of communication is also under the spotlight. Clients do not want to spend hours form filling, giving out the same information multiple times or printing, signing and posting documents in this digital age. But what they do need is quick and quality contact on matters of importance, like if they need to discuss their premiums or portfolio quickly, if they have a significant life change or event, or just need advice and help with something. The contact needs to be high quality and limited to the things that are of high value to clients.

The firm’s adviser/relationship manager needs to be given equal importance in providing a modern client management and financial planning software that offers superior interface and flexibility in terms of communication, functionality and automation wherever possible. Efficient digital tools will allow them to focus on the activities where they can add value and work towards having a deeper relationship with the clients; they don’t want to be wasting time doing admin.

Thus in practice, the adviser technology toolkit needs to make an efficient and thorough job of each stage of the client lifecycle. From client lead generation, conversion, frictionless onboarding, planning, purchasing, reporting, ongoing engagement and management, there needs to be a unified software set underneath that can automate as much as possible and serve the firm to make life easier for both clients and advisers.

And how a financial services firm attracts clients in the first place is vital. Although this is still very much about the human touch and the personal connection, there is much that a firm can do in attracting and engaging clients. The use of data and modern digital tools helps makes sense of a prospect, determine whether an approach is likely to be successful, how it should be made and what it should contain.

Using digital acquisition strategies at the prospecting and onboarding stage is another way of appealing to clients in an age where competition between financial firms is healthy. For the needs analysis process, being able to automate and customise as much as possible leaves the firm to tackle the personalisation and offer a superior service level.

This sort of fact-finding can be complicated, so having the right tools to unearth facts, record them, use them together with other information and make sense of it is critical. A toolkit with this capability is a great value add for a firm. It enables an individual prospect to be better segmented. If

you know where someone is in terms of not just finances but also lifestyle, life cycle, and interests, you can make good progress on planning and knowing what is likely to appeal and what won’t for the type of advice approach as well as product suitability.

Many steps can be automated when onboarding, leaving the adviser free to focus on the planning stage. One of the critical things here is to use e-signatures to make life easier and less time-consuming. In terms of communications, video conference, or a co-browsing model where both parties can enter data is an attractive service model in itself but also leads to better information exchange and engagement.

The aim is to use the data gathered from the onboarding stage, move it along the planning and product research stages, and develop some concrete auditable suitability recommendations. The adviser needs something customisable, but that can also use templates where applicable and mesh the two together.

The other easy win lies in accessing and using a series of lists and templates set according to the firm’s client types and segments; this helps with risk management, compliance, and all the standard documentation. Being able to enter data once but  then share it across several functions is crucial. This takes out the laborious repetition for both adviser and client and shows the client a sleeker level of service.

The same applies when it comes to reporting. Having a live client portal app rather than a static PDF adds significant value because it gives a much deeper engagement level regarding reporting and ongoing communications. It is far more engaging to have easy access to an online portal to check valuations, read the research, thought pieces and other analytics, thus making reporting so much more robust.

New thinking about digital models and technology implementation is needed, and this is what WealthObjects platform and APIs offer. Previously this type of offering would take years to build and implement. WealthObjects’ Digital/Robo Platform and Hybrid Digital Platform technology are readily available to deploy faster and at a fraction of the cost of developing everything from scratch and maintaining/supporting on an ongoing basis. Another significant feature of the WealthObjects platform is that it allows for custom business models and features to be launched without requiring a long deployment timeframe.

We think the need to provide digitalisation is overwhelmingly clear. To be successful in the future, firms need to act now to meet the digital generation clients’ needs and free up their advisers to provide customisation and value-added services with superior client engagement.

WealthObjects was recently named in this year’s WealthTech100. Read the full list here. 

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