Occasionally I attend a webinar that is more than a product push or thinly disguised advertorial. The webinar “7 Technology Innovations for Wealth Management” I attended last week was both blissfully concise and informative, so much so that I decided to write about it.
So as not to keep you in suspense, I list these innovations below. The plain English, somewhat tongue-in-cheek definitions in parenthesis are mine.
- Batch reporting (customizable account performance reports)
- API calls (applications that allow different technology systems to talk to each other)
- Data Integration (aggregation of data for marketing, analytical, processing or other purposes)
- Dashboards with Drill Through (‘drill through’ refers to the ability to view data at multiple levels and layers of complexity)
- Client Portals (similar to dashboards, but for client viewing of accounts)
- Document Management (documentation for portfolio tracking, accounting, tax reporting, etc.)
- Software as a Service or SaaS (the ‘Cloud’)
The webinar presenters were kind enough to share the above list online, complete with elaborations of the significance of each innovation. Rather than repeat their observations, I am going to relate these above functions to the broader changes taking place within the wealth management business today.
Let’s start with the observation that private banks, asset managers and the like are adopting the digital practices of the broader financial services marketplace. And why not? Just because a client is affluent doesn’t mean he is a technophobe or a Luddite. In fact, he is more likely than the average Joe to be engaged with his investments portfolio, and may well have less time to do it. And he’s going to be a lot less patient with the advisor unable or unwilling to address his preferences.
Clients are often more tech savvy than their advisors, and wealth managers are scrambling to catch up by providing real-time access to data as well as mobile delivery options. Look at items 2 through 5, a nice mix of internal and client-facing systems. All of these are predicated on real-time access to data.
What about the other items on the list? Document management systems can enable the paperless office. Batch reporting capabilities can slice and dice information to the specifications of an advisor, or to those of his client, who then can access that information via a mobile device. The ‘cloud’ is perhaps the ultimate enabler of mobile in that it allows information to be accessed securely, from anywhere and at any time.
The world of money is changing, all across the asset spectrum, and wealth managers are getting into the game.