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Three Ways Technology is Galvanising Client Engagement

Traditionally an annual review with a smattering of touchpoints over the year has been sufficient to retain an established customer base, but high net w...

Alessandro Tonchia, Co-Founder and Head of Strategy at Finantix
|Mar 7|magazine20 min read

Traditionally an annual review with a smattering of touchpoints over the year has been sufficient to retain an established customer base, but high net worth individuals’ (HNWIs) evolving expectations mean that old loyalties count for less than the lure of dynamic new market entrants. As we hurtle into a new decade many wealth managers are really feeling the pressure to demonstrate greater levels of customer care and deliver an all-round lifelong enhanced customer experience. 

Digital technologies could provide the key to improve existing practices, finding and retaining valuable business and ultimately delivering a more compelling customer experience. Co-Founder and Head of Strategy at Finantix, Alessandro Tonchia outlines three scenarios where digital solutions are helping wealth managers up their game.  

Client profiling beyond the honeymoon period

The onboarding process is the point at which wealth management firms can learn the most about their clients in one go. Not just because of the practical reason of the sign up process, but psychologically speaking – whether it is the first time they have engaged a wealth manager or they are moving from a long-standing relationship elsewhere, they are much more likely to be open and eager to talk about their goals, aspirations and expectations. It is therefore vital that wealth managers extract information on their client’s lifestyle, passions, concerns and goals as early as possible to create the most accurate profile so they can start as they mean to go on. 

In an ideal world, this kind of profiling will inform all decisions that are made on behalf of the client for years to come. But as we all know, life isn’t that simple. The truth of the matter is that as soon as the client leaves that first meeting, it is possible that one or more pieces of information they have just provided could change. 

The responsibility of keeping client information up to date often lies on relationship managers’ (RM) shoulders, but there are a number of sources that can also help them that are being underutilised, often due to the constraints of legacy systems. By using technology that complements what is already in place and to smartly apply analytics across a wide range of data sources related to clients’ profiles, wealth managers can maintain understanding of their clients far beyond the honeymoon period. With this kind of technology, events relevant to specific individual clients can be searched for simultaneously, across multiple data sources in real time using artificial intelligence (AI). 

The living and breathing usage of data to provide actionable insights, saves precious RM time to provide the best possible level of service and also grant priceless peace of mind, ensuring any and all risk is flagged and acted upon in the most appropriate way. 

Reaping the benefits of a truly customer-first CRM

When Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems were introduced in the mid-90s, they revolutionised the way firms interacted with their existing and potential clients, allowing them to consolidate contacts, leads, and opportunities in a more streamlined way than ever before. 

CRM tools have evolved immeasurably over the last 25 years to factor in changes in customer behaviour and the explosion of data and are still changing the game for industries that have relatively straightforward transactional customer requirements, such as consumer businesses. However, when it comes to industries like wealth management, where intangible elements are being sold, including cash flow and risk mitigation along a financial lifecycle, effective CRM becomes more difficult to obtain. 

Wealth management firms today need technology that allows a client-first perspective. What that means in practice is a system that can generate touchpoints when the client needs them, for example, when the markets are moving in a negative way or when the client has a life event that would require some rethinking of their current investment strategy. Tracking this kind of information requires linkages to portfolios, products and performance that generic CRMs alone just can’t facilitate. 

Upon realising the limitations of ‘broad brush’ CRMs, some wealth management firms have made further investment into technology to fill in the blanks e.g. portfolio management or market information. This approach gets closer to obtaining the kind of client-centric, proactive sales and advice symbiosis needed to make the new wealth management client engagement model happen. If those disparate systems don’t interact with each other, these firms are forced to take a piecemeal approach. To ensure prior technology investment isn’t made in vain, the best course of action in this case is to work with providers who have the specialist knowledge of getting these systems working in harmony to create an environment that captures complex and evolving information throughout the client lifecycle. 

Technology can do the heavy lifting, so you can focus on the value add

Once the aforementioned client information is obtained, it can be used in an abundance of ways to enrich clients’ experiences and shape every single touchpoint. Many practitioners may read this and think that is all well and good in theory, but what happens in reality? One could argue, a nigh on impossible task when applied to the entire client base. An understandable viewpoint when you learn the sheer extent of portfolios that are being looked after per RM at any one time. Research shows a quarter of UK RMs serve 51-100 clients each and 15% even more, while in Asia’s premier banking segment ratios of 400:1 are common.

This is where technology underpinned by AI can add considerable value. AI can lift much of the burden on RMs by automating compilations of reporting information and even preparing agendas for discussion using the status of clients’ investments, content of past interactions, the firm’s current investment thinking and any other relevant information. It can even eliminate menial tasks, making appointment setting and collating emails in preparation for a meeting a thing of the past. 

The new model of customer engagement is no doubt only possible with an injection of digital technology, but that needn’t mean ripping existing systems out and starting from scratch. There are ways of dynamically linking client data to financial events and opportunities with minimal disruption, enabling wealth management firms to achieve the ultimate aim – making each and every client feel like they are the only ones that matter.

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About Alessandro Tonchia

Alessandro Tonchia

Alessandro Tonchia is one of Finantix’s co-founders, and as head of strategy focuses on the company’s growth and overall direction. He is responsible for communications with major clients, business partners and analysts worldwide. Alessandro has represented Finantix in various capacities related to product development and global account management, and has been responsible for the implementation of wealth management platforms. Before establishing Finantix, Alessandro was a consultant specialising in the areas of process management and CRM.

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