Sponsors introducing: Jaco Cebula, Multrees Investor Services
Facilitator: Mark Miles, Scorpio Partnership
Technology has become one of the main opportunities and challenges for the wealth management industry, with high risks and costs, but also offering key opportunities regarding client experience and operational advantages.
Firms still need to better understand how to articulate and align technology with the organisation’s main strategy.
- The majority of wealth management firms are playing catch-up on Digital Strategy. Businesses are aware that they need one but anticipating the emerging ‘next generation’ of wealth is a key challenge
- Technology selection is a minefield
- Wealth managers need help to address the growing issue of cybercrime. Robust security infrastructure and active vigilance are crucial.
The session started with a discussion about what the key steps are to define an IT strategy:
- To define what your IT strategy is, in terms of data, but also for your clients
- To decide across which channel(s) it will be developed and how will you use it with your clients
- To think about Technology Management: once implemented, how do you manage the technology - internally or externally?
The first debate of the session raised one of the key challenges: technology and digital strategy are currently hot topics, but rather than be managed as separate items, they should be integral to the firm’s overall strategy, thus ensuring the strategy meets client needs.
For most of the firms present, the main issue today is the risks that organisations are facing from advanced technology: cyber-attacks, financial fraud threats etc. It is becoming a major concern as firms now have greater digital exposure - and this does not apply to large companies only. Firms need to assess what and who their required internal or external resources are to manage it, and enable them to have a quick and flexible reaction when they are facing a threat.
But beyond the security and data risks, technology remains full of challenges, and the most important one is probably related to the client experience:
“How do you build a good client experience?”
Firms need to ensure that technology is effectively communicated and delivered to the client: there are lots of examples of firms that have implemented great technology but have not succeeded in getting people to use it.
Attendees discussed the fact that only a few of the organisations had an IT representative at board level.
At the end of the session, following requests from the attendees, some key pitfalls in technology development and implementation were set out:
- Know and understand the client needs
- Define those needs and expectations clearly
- Integrate the digital experience into the firm’s overall strategy
- Be aware that big data has a risk, but it can also transform your ability to analyse and know your clients better.
- Technology remains a complex topic for organisations, and participants expect regulation to drive and shape changes more clearly in the coming years.
- Wealth management firms face an ongoing challenge in terms of risk and security, but technology remains a key opportunity for competitive advantage.