Discretionary wealth manager Ruffer LLP with £19 billion under management, recently went live on Wealth Dynamix’s Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software platform for the wealth industry which is supporting its front office operations in all aspects of Client Activity Management.
Until now the adoption of CRM systems has been relatively slow in wealth management firms. Gary Linieres, CEO, Wealth Dynamix, explains that while CRM has been around for a long time, it has only gained traction in the wealth management industry in the last few years. “Wealth management firms have been slow to adopt the mature CRM technology that we offer until now, which is strange given that is it a relationship driven industry” he says.
It is the more personal nature of the wealth management industry that has held back the development of technology, Linieres believes.
“In the wealth industry you rely on the relationship with the individual rather than the firm. Because of the highly sensitive nature of client data investment managers have often had a slightly guarded approach to putting client information into a system that the firm owns.”
The result has been that CRM systems have had a hard time getting inside wealth management organisations because the front line guys won’t use it. However new regulation and the Financial Conduct Authority’s (FCA) mandate that firms are able to deliver consistency of client data across its business as well as optimal KYC data management has brought the importance of data and records to the centre of the wealth managers’ proposition.
The change in attitude on the part of senior management means that a firm such as Wealth Dynamix has been able to provide this supportive technology and able to win quite a bit of business.
“We have a unique mix of industry knowledge in that we really understand wealth management and have spent the last 10 years working with Microsoft Dynamix developing our CRM system” he says. “We’ve scoped and developed the potential of the technology to meet with every aspect of the Wealth Manager’s role and now offer complete support to all aspects of Wealth Management business. There are a lot of people out there that can deploy CRM but we are the only specialist ones that deploy to wealth managers.”
One of the biggest challenges for CRM in wealth management is how to on board new clients.
“It’s a lengthy process between identifying a new client and bringing them through the risk profile, checking their credentials, going through all relevant due diligence and anti-money laundering legislation, asking if they are politically exposed. KYC requires a whole raft of fairly technical stuff before you get to a point where you know that a client is a cautious growth type persona, for instance, and then you have to formalise it into proposals” Linieres says. “It’s very complex and needs to be handled with sensitivity and done in a subtle way. It’s a process that requires a light touch. You are asking sensitive questions and you have to be able to adapt the technique around the type of clients you are dealing with.”
It’s a process that Wealth Dynamix has delivered to 30-40 private client managers over the years. The optimum size of firm is larger as Linieres firm tends to focus on top 100 wealth managers in the UK and EC. Outside of the UK, he has clients in Luxembourg, Belgium and Switzerland. “It becomes really effective when there is a large community of investment managers” he says, having recently been in meetings in Paris with BNP and Credit Agricole.
“The great thing about our industry is that apart from regulatory and tax differences, it is an industry with fairly common practices and requirements in the way you need to manage a client and across different jurisdictions. Wealth Management firms have a great opportunity to now optimise their operations – not only to meet FCA regulations but also to fully exploit the vast new earning potential that CRM can bring to firms through accelerated sales process and enhancements to all aspects of Client Onboarding. We’ve found that there is vast potential for deploying our CRM platform to numerous types of investment business and our technology is under continual development.”
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