Expert: David Barks Facilitator: Christine Cirani
- Growing organically and retaining clients is a big issue currently facing WM CEOs. Strong and lasting relationships are vital to referrals and brand reputation, as well as being first choice for clients’, or their next generations, next financial advice or investment needs
- Managing clients through their lifecycle rather than the relationship is important to predicting and prompting clients when their needs may change, e.g. the factoring in of costs associated with school fees and ensuring income and funding is in place
- Data in the industry is currently used very poorly, and relationships remain with advisers ahead of organisations
- In essence, approaches to deepening relationships are highly limited to the capacity and skill of the relationship manager rather than strategic approaches, as bringing all RMs together is a large challenge
Organisations focuses remain on onboarding and ensuring that data meets the burden of regulatory needs. This is time intensive but is the one time that RMs are engaged with providing CRM systems with data. However, there remains a challenge in getting the business to then use this data beyond the regulatory need to improve the client experience.
Many don’t measure the quality of their onboarding service. This is a significant blind spot as delays and issues with onboarding can mean losing clients. Back and middle office teams need to be accountable for the service they provide, so direct points of communication and accountability through shared systems are required. There is currently a disconnect between the work done and the impact on clients, those who refer those clients, and therefore business success.
In this context, ‘pre-client portals’ can be hugely valuable in enabling easy sharing and signing of documents and proposed investment ideas. In addition, prioritising who to onboard and ensuring that the systems are adaptable to changes in onboarding policy are vital, e.g. geopolitical changes influencing acceptability of clients from certain origins.
Looking at client databases needs to become more strategic and responsive to the changing clients themselves. For instance, the differing approaches of the various members of a family within a single account are poorly handled by most systems that are set up based on the principal client.
This often disenfranchises spouses and may be a leading cause of spouses who inherit leaving the wealth manager. Wealth managers need to become more sophisticated to be able to provide clients with a combination of solutions suitable for each within the family group while retaining an understanding of the family as a whole.
Complex families that may require new structures can mean restarting the processes and be an example of poor ongoing experience for clients. This level of compliance during the client lifecycle needs to be managed more effectively.
CRM systems ability to handle complexity is a growing need within the industry. For instance, the need to look at persona-based categories beyond wealth/AUM for the potential value of the client, using client interest to drive comms and engagement, enabling multiple personas within a single relationship (e.g. family or couple), incorporation of the beneficiaries of trusts (e.g. providing events and networking of relevance to trust beneficiaries), and multiple ownership from IMs and FAs.
All this in an environment where just aligning information across different systems is a huge challenge, makes much of this difficult to envision.
- Online services are an enabler of the relationship with the organisation beyond the advisor, especially as paper-based valuations become outdated and unappealing. Fundamental engagement with the next generation through apps and digital experiences needs to be enhanced
- This is also becoming the way that organisations aim to serve lower value clients in order to improve profitability. Interactivity but differentiation from banking is important. Service needs to be the paramount element above capabilities
- In addition, the advancement of technology to enable direct entry of recorded conversations with AI selecting important info may become both expected and a point of contention with clients, especially around the impact on the social dynamics of recording a face-to-face conversation, though the acceptability of this may change with time