Spotlight on… Synpulse

Thomas Schaffner, Head of Synpulse UK, joined us for a recent webinar in our “Spotlight on…” series. He joined Antony Bream, Managing Director – EMEA & Americas at Wealth Dynamix, to discuss the impact of COVID-19 on wealth management, and how firms in the sector can emerge more resilient in the future.

What have been the greatest challenges for wealth managers, and how is COVID-19 shaping business operating models moving forwards?

COVID-19 has certainly had a material impact, although we’ve learnt nothing we weren’t already aware of. We already knew that clients want more two-way digital conversations, and we already knew that relationship managers need more information at their fingertips to service clients in the best possible way.

Many wealth managers had already embarked on a digital transformation journey before the pandemic struck, however the combination of sub-optimal progress and new challenges presented by home working has accentuated deficiencies in their systems and processes. Those who were ahead of the digital transformation curve have coped well and been quick to adapt to new requirements; others have been less agile, and are suffering the consequences. With many wealth managers anticipating there will be high demand for remote meetings for the foreseeable future, it is difficult to plan effectively when no-one knows what “new normal” looks like.

A recent Synpulse study revealed that few HNWIs have been contacted by their relationship manager since COVID-19 initially took hold. Whether this is due to lack of agility or lack of oversight, this missed opportunity to develop close contact with clients is risky. Clients contacted by their relationship manager reported a huge boost in confidence, trust and loyalty, and the 2019 World Wealth Report found that unsatisfactory service experience led 87% of HNWIs to switch firms.

Should wealth managers re-evaluate IT spend, and if so how?

IT spend must be focused on increasing business resilience. Priorities have changed, with focus shifted towards minimising losses, retaining clients and replicating BAU in a digital-first, remote-working world. Combine this with the need to be compliant and prepare for an uncertain future, and there are many challenges.

The start-point has to be your business goals and target outcomes. A combination of the following may be required:

  • Increase operational efficiency. Many wealth managers regret failing to address back-office inefficiencies pre-pandemic, because many manual and paper-based processes are impossible to execute in a remote-working environment. IT spend must focus on optimising administrative processes to ensure BAU, cutting costs and allowing relationship managers to spend more time on client facing work than administration.
  • Grow revenues. Key to this is building confidence and trust, and this will be the role of the relationship manager well into the future. IT spend should focus on increasing client communication, reducing friction from the client experience and increasing client satisfaction. Firms have been swift to adopt video calling as an alternative to face-to-face meetings for example, but this channel requires the IT support to ensure it is secure, compliant and integrated with wider infrastructure. It is important to leverage data to increase personalisation and communicate with clients at the right time with the right information as well as automating processes to connect data silos and accept digital signatures for easy onboarding. By providing relationship managers with the best tools and insights to optimise the quality of the client experience, loyalty and AuM growth will follow.
  • Get your data in order. Your start-point has to be the CRM, which is the golden source of client data for many wealth managers. The accuracy and completeness of CRM data underpins the entire Client Lifecycle Management (CLM) process, so apply IT spend to get this right. Then build out an end-to-end CLM platform that empowers relationship managers gain a 360-degree client view and engage more pro-actively to bring more value to the client-advisor relationship. With automated CLM in place, relationship managers can act quickly, and offer next best recommendations that are in context, at the right time.
  • Automate compliance. By automating compliance processes, potential breaches are automatically identified and remedied, and relationship managers can focus on client focusing work. During the pandemic focus on remediation work (for example, remediation, re-profiling and repapering) for compliance has been vital.

To learn more about how Wealth Dynamix and Synpulse work together to scope IT spending projects and ensure successful implementations, contact us on connect@wealth-dynamix.com

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Wealth Dynamix delivers Client Lifecycle Management solutions to the world’s leading private banks and wealth and asset management firms.

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