Article

Key technology capabilities to future-proof wealth management

The wealth management industry is in the midst of significant change. While COVID-19 has significantly altered the realities of everyday work, the expectations and preferences of investors have also changed due to new technologies and exposure to financial crises. 1

Wealth managers are faced with the unique challenge of activating capabilities and products to help their customers navigate these turbulent times. Technology leaders across the wealth sector need to help drive change and guide their organizations to better equip wealth managers to meet the needs of their customers.

Key mandates of wealth technology leaders typically include2:

  • Business innovation
  • Business process improvement
  • Cost and efficiency management
  • IT systems and operations maintenance 
  • Cybersecurity management

In order to meet these mandates, it is imperative for wealth technology leaders to improve their technology capabilities with a view to future-proof their wealth business. Wealth technology leaders should look to close the gap between the business expectations of IT and currently developed IT capabilities within their organization. There is a higher dependency on IT for digitization of business processes, implementing big data and business intelligence, driving predictive analytics, and blurring the distinction between traditional IT and the business.

Key technology capabilities to help future-proof wealth management:

  • Enterprise architecture: Effective management of architecture and standards; high levels of code and component reuse; proactive drive to standardization throughout the development lifecycle; fewer integrations; and simpler architecture can lead to lower operational costs and increased efficiencies rather than a collection of disjointed, siloed initiatives
  • Technology innovation: Pragmatic innovation is a key to success. It helps bridge the gap between IT and business priorities. However, innovation needs to be controlled and leaders need to be careful to not get stuck with science experiments that do not add any material value to the business. 
  • Business agility: Deliver more innovative and intuitive technology and services faster and cheaper than ever before by adopting an agile way of ‘doing’. Being agile means practicing a group of delivery methods in which business and technology work together to deliver incremental value in short intervals to the stakeholder. Value proposition revolves around adaptability, risk, transparency, and business value realization.
  • Digital: Digital practices create new sources of value. An increasing focus on delivering a complete customer journey requires organizations to deliver products and services across digital as well as traditional channels. Digital represents the channels users’ access to facilitate transactions and interactions, which may include a combination of mobile, social, analytics, cloud, and emerging exponentials. Digital platforms and services can allow retail investors and businesses to gain easy access to stock market information, financial advice, and investment opportunities, including digitization initiatives. 
  • Intelligent business processes automation: Digital transformation works best when the business processes are streamlined, automated, and can meet the increasing demand in a timely manner. Implementing robotic and intelligent automation technologies and tools can simplify business process, reduce redundancies, reduce costs, and increase overall efficiency.
  • Cloud: Cloud models enable the flexibility to scale on demand and hence help streamline the IT infrastructure cost of ownership. Cloud providers, due to their sheer scale, can also offer built-in resiliency for business continuity. Adoption of Cloud means that the focus of technology operations moves from infrastructure management to ensuring the availability of a service to the end user. The adoption of Cloud service delivery models also increases the need for a strong technology vendor management function with good understanding of Cloud service providers in order to ensure services are delivered as promised.
  • Data analytics: Wide access to large volumes of data enables the development of automated cognitive solutions. Such solutions already allow for instant analysis of dozens of informational sources, searches for patterns, anticipation of changes and threats, and, therefore, enable faster and more effective decision-making. Building on analytics capabilities, like consolidated customer analytics, will help wealth organizations identify and prioritize digital opportunities that will have the greatest impact on customer experience and the business bottom line. Wealth technology platforms must not only accurately record, manage, and report transactional data but also provide consolidated dashboards and insights that can be used to improve the overall customer experience. 
  • Artificial intelligence (AI): AI can be used to invest in a better way, evaluate the wealth market, and gather customer-specific behaviour data. Highly popular automated services currently use algorithms and machine learning to offer investment advice and management to clients. Robo-advisors will manage around US$1 trillion by 20203, and around US$4.6 trillion by 2022. Wealth managers can make effective decisions for their customers by using AI to automatically research customer data and other data troves, and determine next best actions for the customer. AI can also enable streamlining wealth processes end to end by replacing human interventions and thereby reducing costs for the kinds of services offered by wealth businesses. 
  • Cybersecurity: Responding to cybersecurity requirements and managing security risks must be at the heart of everything. With ubiquitous digital channels, IT needs to provide secure access to information, anytime, anywhere, and on any device. Technology solutions need to ensure that the risks associated with cyber and the steps the organization is taking to combat these is well understood across the organization.
  • Service operations management: Service operations should focus on integration and interaction across the key service management processes. As more services come online, it is imperative that the wealth technology platforms have a single Integrated Service Desk (Single Point of Contact), focus on ensuring agreeable customer service, focus on first time fix, and root cause analysis to resolve persistent incidents. These technology platforms should also embed a single integrated toolset to track and manage events; ensure incidents and problems have clear history and resolution actions; perform proactive analysis of incident stack to identify trends; and have formal handshakes at handoffs between different resolver groups.

There is more need now than ever for wealth technology teams to have skin in the game and be accountable for business results, i.e., not serve as a sideline agency to the Lines of Business but have a better understanding of the business model, needs and priorities, and align priorities accordingly.

Given the current changing market scenario, it is important that wealth technology teams are nimble and innovate through minimum viable products (MVPs) that test key assumptions about customer interactions and preferences with the product.

Recommended key performance indicators (KPIs) that can be customized depending on the maturity of the organization4 :

  • Innovation: % of innovative ideas proactively proposed to and accepted by the business, % of innovative ideas turned into new products/services
  • Maximizing ROI on IT investments: average return on investment (%) of technology projects, technology spend against defined investment categories
  • Improving IT cost effectiveness: cost savings ($) delivered to the business through targeted technology spend
  • Increasing portfolio execution confidence: % of projects delivered on time, to budget, and quality; resource plan, utilization, and forecast against demand
  • Enhancing control of IT: % of solutions aligned with enterprise architecture
  • Optimizing services: % change projects that are focused on the improvement of operational processes and services 
  • Increasing customer satisfaction: % incidents fixed after first call to Service Desk; % availability across applications categorized as “Business Critical”; % of incidents classified as security related
  • Improving data quality: % of accounts with incomplete or missing data, Average Database Availability Time

Emerging technologies will continue to disrupt business-as-usual and reshape the future of wealth management. While wealth technology leaders continue to bridge the gap between business and technology, they also need to champion learning and growth. Technology is changing at a faster pace than what we can adapt to. Building a culture of work-integrated blended learning today will be more impactful in the future.


Acknowledgments

Radhika Bansal
Senior Manager, Consulting
Tel: 416-775-8518

Vithal Ketkar
Manager, Consulting
Tel: 416-601-4369

 

References

  1. Deloitte, 10 Disruptive trends in Wealth Management
  2. Deloitte, Global CIO Survey - Navigating Legacy
  3. Business Insider, Evolution of Robo-Advising
  4. Deloitte, Technology Capability Model 2.0
     


 

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