Future of wealth operations: An impetus for change
The need for wealth operations to increase enterprise value is stronger than it’s ever been, requiring leaders to think differently
The impetus for change in wealth operationsWealth-operations leaders need to think past optimizing simple cost-cutting and processes, and instead create value for their firms.
Trends and implications for wealth operations
Digital services focused on enhanced client experiences
Powerful social and digital trends are reshaping retail- and institutional-client needs, with investors now seeking continuous, omnichannel, and less transactional relationships with their advisors. IT and other support teams need to operate seamlessly, given this new reality.
What this means for wealth operations: While there’s been emphasis on modernizing tools for advisors (e.g., client portals) and others who deal more directly with clients, many firms are realizing they didn’t capitalize on opportunities to streamline and automate work processes end to end. As a result, there’s been a lack of efficiency for advisors and clients alike.
Innovative talent for the operations workforce of the future:
New ways of working in a digital and remote environment require adaptability on the part of IT and other support teams, including a willingness to adopt new practices and tools. Wealth firms need to focus not only on technology, but also on reimagining how work gets done—building up the technical-professional employee pool, defining the required employee skill set, and then updating talent strategies.
What this means for wealth operations: These staff members need to adapt to continuous improvements in order to better meet client and advisor demands. With new design and automation tools for work processes and services (e.g., use of RPA), operations workforces will combine human and virtual agents, resulting in a change in the nature of the work and in employees’ required skill sets.
Increased need for transparency and regulatory control
Clients are demanding more transparency in their wealth management and want to be able to access and monitor their digital investment files.
What this means for wealth operations: Companies need integrated service and operating models in order to streamline processes and allow for transparency (e.g., fee transparency) for a wide range of business strategies, advisor decisions, and fees.
Increased need for holistic client data
Having a 360-degree view of clients—including access to balance sheets, non-financial goals such as well-being alternative / external data, and other information specific to them—is essential to advisors who hope to gain insight into their investors and then act swiftly on this information. This will also help set them apart from their competitors.
What this means for wealth operations: How and what type of information is compiled will be crucial for lowering costs and driving profits. Wealth-operations staff will need to have increasingly digitized and automated access to relevant data and data-visualization tools, if they’re to help advisors have improved client interactions. Moreover, operations will need to work with IT to ensure there is a common data ontology within the organization to ensure advisors have a full understanding of their client’s relationship within the organization. Advisors will then have more time and opportunity to focus on more profitable elements of client portfolios, versus simply trying to beat benchmarks.Offering advice that takes into account clients’ financial and personal goals will also allow advisors to increase client engagement and ultimately grow firm revenue3.
Strategic opportunities for transformation in wealth operations
- Common tasks: Be aggressive in finding the lowest costs needed to complete these tasks, all the while trying to automate or eliminate them altogether.
- Wealth-specific tasks that don’t contribute to moments that matter: Find smart ways to fulfill these obligations faster, cheaper, and better without using too many resources.
- Tasks that add to specific and core values and are critical to moments that matter: Align team strategies with those of the business so that the company can offer the best services among similar options available from competitors. In this category, teams can invest significant resources with the expectation that these will lead to future dividends. Here, you can truly commit to transformation by reinvesting the savings gained from the previous two cost-cutting efforts.
Wealth Operations need to determine which tasks on the value chain fall into which value buckets in order to make strategic choices on what opportunities to pursue and how
There are six core opportunities for transformation, each with strategic questions to consider:
Shift focus to the client, and then transform and simplify end-to-end processes
- How might you redesign the work, so rather than automating manual processes, you cut out daily upkeep tasks?
- What processes would render service centres obsolete?
- How can you spur innovation to complete activities better or more efficiently?
Reduce or remove tasks to help transform costs
- What can you stop doing altogether to lower costs?
- What’s the best mix of strategies to target specific cost-cutting goals?
- How can you maximize cost- efficiency to fund changes that benefit clients?
Make assessing and using relevant client data a critical priority
- How can you create a case for change at the highest levels of the organization?
- What customer data and data-mining processes must you have so that advisors, operations employees, and risk-management staff can maximize their opportunities to gain meaningful insights?
- How might you use artificial intelligence—including intelligent automation—to prioritize gaining and using critical customer data, all of which would then help reduce the cost-to-serve?
Rethink future work, workforce, and talent-acquisition models
- How do you build key skills for tomorrow’s workforce using today’s workflow tools?
- How do you create a company-wide culture of inclusion, transparency, and trust—irrespective of roles and titles?
- How does your future talent balance sheet look different (i.e., what can be done by a contingent workers)?
Collaborate with external teams to enhance value creation and work with regulators to simplify the complicated
- How can wealth-management organizations ensure plug and play compatibility with new functions, third-party innovations, and/or industry utilities?
- What will it take to shift from fixed to growth mindsets—that is, to accept that progress is possible—thus allowing for industry-wide innovation?
Modernize operations to anticipate business risks, monitor performance, and manage capacity demands
- In the evolution toward a digital environment, what changes do you need to help ensure proactive risk-monitoring and management?
- What do you need to change so that you can more easily balance work capacity with spikes in demand?
Taking bold steps toward reimagined wealth operations
- “Lessons learned during COVID-19: A Canadian banking study,” Deloitte, https://www2.deloitte.com/ca/en/pages/financial-services/articles/lessons-learned-during-covid-19.html.
- “COVID-19: A global perspective on the impact on wealth management,” Aite Group, July 15, 2020, https://aitegroup.com/report/covid-19-global-perspective-impactwealth-management.
- “The future of financial planning is now: An Aite Group executive forum,” Aite Group, January 21, 2020, https://aitegroup.com/report/future-financial-planning-now-aitegroup-executive-forum.
- “Navigating towards a ‘next normal’ after COVID-19: Lessons from APAC wealth managers,” Deloitte, https://www2.deloitte.com/ch/en/pages/financial-services/articles/navigating-towards-a-next-normal-aftercovid19-wealth-management.html.
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Kendra is a Consulting Partner at Deloitte, leading our Wealth Transformation initiative and one of Canada’s Top 50 Women in FinTech in 2019. She has over 20 years of management consulting experience in the financial services industry, specializing in strategy for advice-led sales, with focus on large-scale transformation, post-merger integration, digital distribution, and customer strategy for banking, insurance and brokerage clients in North America. As a market leader in the wealth industry across North America, Kendra is focused on the future of advice for clients, helping leading Wealth management organizations transform... Read more