Facilitator: Helen Clark Expert: Andrew Smith and Damian Smyth
- Data quality and data control are the crux for firms regardless of the number of systems in place.
- Consumer Duty MI will become more important over the next year. Firms need to be clearer on what is required from the FCA to maximise their MI data and how they then apply the findings to demonstrate they are adhering to the legislation.
Adviser firms need to have their Tech Strategy documented to help manage their technology stack as firms will have multiple integrated systems (up to 20 in some cases). Some firms admitted they did not have such a document within their business and will be looking at this further to help support their business.
Ultimately the CRM is seen as the source of truth for firms, but generally Platform data is regarded as more accurate and there is a reliance on the data from these systems through the integrations.
Interestingly firms felt Consumer Duty requirements around data would complicate matters further, rather than helping to simplify as the new legislation is creating an extra layer of paperwork and specific MI requirements to demonstrate adherence to the new legislation. This was the feedback despite the intention that Consumer Duty will drive better data quality and MI standards.
It was recognised that to prepare properly before technology is implemented it is important to understand and agree key processes and data. It was also recognised that once new technology is in place, it can take 3-6 months or even longer to fully bed in the system and processes to see the true benefits. This has been a key learning point for those who have recently been through system changes and company integrations recently.
Integrations between CRMs and Platforms are key to reduce / remove rekeying of data, however APIs are not simply plug and play. Most involve IT assistance and development and once in place there is usually an additional licence cost as the integrated systems are added to the tech stack, which is not always clear upfront.
Integrations between systems ideally need to be 2-way with the CRM as the source of truth. Where there are gaps between systems, many firms have built their own solutions using Excel Macros or even proprietary systems for larger firms.
Some firms are starting to move away from the traditional Financial Services CRMs on the market and using general CRMs such as Salesforce and Zoho.com as their core database. This gives the flexibility to integrate with other systems such as Platforms and remove the cost of functionality overlap between systems. This could start to reshape the traditional tech stacks and encourage Platforms to move further into the CRM space.
- Every firm has a different tech stack so it’s important to have a top down and agile approach to keep this maintained and updated as new functionality becomes available
- Operational costs are increasing as the level of technology and integrations increase to serve clients in the most efficient way possible. APIs are marketed as ‘plug and play’ to integrate systems with Adviser Firm CRMs, however these are time-consuming and costly to implement
- The level of technical assistance required to implement APIs needs to be more transparent so adviser firms are aware of the time and cost before proceeding with system changes
- Adviser firms ideally need to have a Technology Strategy in place to select, implement, maintain and update the tech stack as their business evolves to streamline their customer journey, regulatory reporting requirements and client needs