3 Ways Access to Financial Data Improves Value For Wealth Management Customers

3 Ways Access to Financial Data Improves Value For Your Customers

Here’s how access to financial data improves value for wealth management customers.

Wealth management firms have seen an increase in the global wealth management market over the last few years. Wealth management is expected to grow to $1263+ billion in 2021 at a compound annual growth rate of 8.7%. One of the major reasons for this significant growth is that organizations have effectively dealt with the impact COVID has had on their business by reorganizing operations to place a greater emphasis on digital transformation and investing in big data analytics capabilities to generate insights to enhance service offerings and improve overall client experience.

It’s common for wealth management firms to plan, advise, and manage assets across a varied service offering, such as financial and investment advice, retirement planning, and estate planning – as such, your wealth management firm needs a digital strategy to succeed and provide long-term, sustainable value to clients. Services that democratize access to financial data empower your firm, and your advisors, to gain an enriched, holistic view of your customers in order to provide them with the value they deserve.

Wealth management firms are investing in big data

Globally, wealth management firms are investing in “big data” to enable their growth and scale. Investing in financial data on your customers is a top way wealth managers can grow channels across sales, support, and client expansion effectively. Maintaining your customers’ data digitally empowers your firm to access real-time and reliably accurate data on your clients, while also keeping this important information secure yet accessible across your firm.

As per Nasdaq, “The latest generation of high-net-worth clients is increasingly likely to consider digital channels for managing their wealth.” says Brett Henderson of Henderson Wealth Management. It’s time to go digital now to improve your wealth management offerings to your clients. Below are three of the main benefits of having access to digital financial data.

1.      Provide better security

Access to financial data provides historical and holistic insights into your customers’ financial lives. This means that you can provide improved security to your customers based on their financial health and wealth management monitoring. The security your firm provides can come in the form of understanding a customer’s risk tolerance, previous investments, and other interests based on their financial history provided through data.

Beyond the above, you can also ensure that all data is accessed digitally and that no paper documents or documents shared via e-mail and other less secure channels take place at your firm. Additionally, how you store your customers’ data matters, so providing additional protection and compliance via security protocols is key for improved security.

2.    Provide better advice to customers

Knowing what your customers want, or rather need, and when for their wealth management strategy is key to maintaining client loyalty. Providing advice that is personalized to your customers can be both time-consuming and overwhelmingly challenging without having access to financial data. Quality data allows you to segment your customers and provide the best advice and planning to their specific needs – which is exactly what your customers want in order to continue investing with your firm.

3.    Make future predictions

Accessing historical financial data on commercial operations allows your firm to make future predictions based on the success and decline of various industries. Beyond that, understanding your clients’ overall financial history to know how to best predict their future investments will improve their confidence in the service offerings that your advisors and wealth managers are able to provide.

To put it simply, wealth management firms need a wealth of knowledge to be able to offer the best value to both new and existing clients looking to invest in their future. In order to better understand your customers and provide the best service you possibly can, it’s critical to gain and maintain digital access to historical financial data.

Having digital access to data you need to scale your firm’s operations across big data collection and security allows your back, middle and front offices to continue improving the level of service offering while making better future predictions for your customers and their investments.

People Process Technology - How RIAs Can Improve Operational Efficiencies - FutureVault

People, Process, and Technology – How RIAs and Financial Advisors Can Improve Their Operating Efficiencies

Financial institutions and advisors everywhere share the common goal of improving operational efficiencies in their day-to-day workflow so that they are able to spend more time with their clients and continue building their book of business.

We’re fortunate enough to be in a position here at FutureVault where we regularly talk with several organizations and industry leaders, equipping us with a solid understanding of what efficient operations look like in financial services, and really any industry for that matter.

From what we’ve heard and witnessed first-hand, we know that overall operational efficiencies and effective practice management boil down to three primary drivers: people, process, technology.

For firms looking to stand out from the crowd and continue making an impact, it’s incredibly important to pay attention to these three factors.

Let’s dive into each one of these to learn more about how firms can improve their operating efficiencies and net positive returns on their business investments.

Your people are everything and they always will be.

First and foremost, it always has and always will start with people. Specifically, having the right people behind your organization in front, middle, and back-office functions, driving forward with the goal of creating a better experience internally and externally for your clients.

For financial services organizations to win, it’s all about being able to attract the next generation of financial advisors and service professionals. But attracting them is only one small piece to the puzzle, firms need to make sure they’re providing the right type of value internally to retain advisors, and better yet all employees for that sake.

In fact, this is one of the major challenges that CEOs in wealth and finance are feeling the pressure on. According to PwC’s 20th CEO Survey72% of CEOs in financial services say that the limited availability of skills is a threat to organizational growth. In other words, attracting and retaining the right people is something that organizations cannot simply afford to overlook.

So, the question remains—how exactly can firms attract and retain the right people?

While there are several ways for firms to navigate this, three core solutions, in particular, stand out as clear winners:

  1. Corporate governanceYour values, policies, and overall practices as a firm set the stage for your reputation internally as well as externally to potential new hires and clients. Creating an environment that maintains a high set of standards across the organization as well as the service offering for clients is one of the major keys to success.
     
  2. Tools and technology. Advisors and service professionals are always inclined to have an understanding of the tools and technology available to them. Equipping your front office with the tools and features they need to streamline daily workflow and confidently improve the relationship they have with their clients is an absolute must for firms. Not to mention that powering your front office(s) with a standardized tech stack alleviates a ton of work and stress for compliance teams.
  3. Middle and back-office support. Last is ensuring that your back office is providing your front office with the right level of support, in addition to technology, they need to continue building their book of business and satisfying clients.

It’s imperative that firms lead by example and practice what they preach if they’re serious about retaining top-level talent that can help bring in new clients and grow the business, together.

Really, it’s all about creating a win-win-win environment.  

Building systems and processes to scale.

Next, is all about building systems and processes across your front, middle, and back-office functions to support growth and scale your organization. This heavily revolves around daily workflow and the systems in place to manage advisor-client relationships.

From client communications and advice to managing security and compliance with regards to managing, storing, and sharing information and documents, there’s a lot that takes place behind the scenes.

In fact, we know that wealth managers, financial advisors, insurance agents, you name it, struggle on a daily basis because they are constantly bogged down with administrative tasks and regulatory requirements they’re obligated to fill. Something that a combination of well-defined systems and a strong investment in technology, which we’ll get to later, can and will solve for.

Examples of workflow and processes that take place day-in and day-out include:

  • Collecting, organizing and storing client documents
  • Sharing new resources and materials with advisors and clients
  • Creating and maintaining security and compliance checklists
  • New client onboarding and processing 

Successful systems and processes clearly define the whowhatwherewhenwhy, and how. It’s about clearly identifying ownership and accountability, with the right people to execute, as well as understanding which processes can help you achieve that.

Having the right people in place, as we discussed above, can lead to sound and smooth systems and as we’ll soon see below, technology proves to be a critical role in augmenting the speed, delivery, and impact of those processes through automation amongst other factors.

At the end of the day, having the right processes and systems are what ultimately lead to an enriched client experience which ultimately leads to growing the share of wallet.  

Investing in leading technology is an absolute must.

Last, but certainly not least, technology continues to be the primary driver for operational efficiencies while acting as the connective tissue between being able to attract the right type of people, namely professional service providers, and scaling systems and processes.

Long gone are the days where an investment in technology was considered a “nice to have” for firms. Nowadays, technology is fundamental to the way business is being conducted in addition to managing client expectations. In other words — it’s an absolute must.

This is clearly evident in the market today. There is a steadily growing trend that shows advisors, and their firms, who invest in and embrace technology are the ones that reap the benefits — they are the ones who scale, grow, and ultimately win at the end of the day.

Yet despite the above, somewhere around 6 out of every 10 advisors are not using technology to the fullest — meaning that there are significant areas of operations in which technology can fill the void. Contrarily, advisors and firms using technology in all areas of their business have reported 42% higher AUM in their books relative to those who do not.

To further paint the picture, in a study with more than 1,000 asset management professionals across a range of sizes, J.P. Morgan Chase & Co found that clients who work with technology-oriented advisors see their fund operating costs fall 39 percent and their average dollar target for return increase by 19 percent versus tech-neutral actors.

While the industry has begun to shift towards adopting new technologies, there still remains a lag in adoption. This lag in adoption is less about the lack of appetite for technology and rather more so about not fully knowing or understanding exactly where to begin — and rightfully so.

With the abundance of technology offerings solving for different operational challenges, knowing where to start is certainly overwhelming. However, advisors who are able to visualize what their clients’ end experience will look like, and map technology from there, will achieve the deepest and most tangible business results.

Michael Kitces’ Financial AdvisorTech Solutions map provides a good starting point for firms and advisors looking for industry-leading technology.

Focusing on tangible use-cases and business results should always be at the forefront of decision-making when assessing the implementation of new advisor technology. The right technology can help firms successfully:

  • Improve advisor-client relationships with connected experiences and modern collaboration tools
  • Strengthen relationships and productivity across front, middle and back-office functions
  • Optimize data and business results by utilizing powerful analytics and AI-fueled predictions to drive actionable insights
  • Improve document management workflows and processes with respect to corporate and client information
  • Streamline compliance management activities and reduce audit readiness cycles across the organization

Firms that transform their business models and reimagine the role technology plays to personalize client engagement at scale are the ones that will be best positioned to capture a meaningful market opportunity.

This article was originally written for and appeared on Wealthtender.

How Digital Vaults Protect The Aging Population - FutureVault

How Digital Vaults Can Protect the Aging Population—And Their Money

For most people, entering retirement is a dream come true. How could it not be? There’s ample time to travel, spend time with family, and you don’t have to worry too heavily about your financial stability. However, as more and more members of the baby boomer generation hit their retirement years, a new problem begins to emerge.

The issue at hand? Dementia. With the population aging, the number of sufferers is projected to rise by 40% to 78 million by 2030.

Financial advisors are beginning to feel the stress of whether or not their aging clients are showing early signs of the psychological disorder. To better gauge whether or not their clients in fact are, advisors need to be looking for signs of dementia in older clients, such as repeating themselves or not grasping what they’re being told. However, many feel overwhelmed and unqualified to spot the warning signs—even though they often suspect problems well before the client’s own family does.

So how are financial institutions and their advisors tackling this growing problem in a proactive way?

Current advisor solutions are reactive

The truth of the matter is this—advisors everywhere are scrambling to find a solution to this growing and soon-to-be prevalent problem. With the fiduciary responsibilities held by firms and their service professionals, the current, reactive solutions simply won’t cut it anymore.

One strategy is to quiz clients with questionable mental capacities on information and matters already on their files, such as being able to clearly name their power of attorney (POA), lawyer, accountant, or even providing information about their spouse. 

“The problem with testing memory is that unless you know what the answer should be, it’s difficult to know whether there’s a memory loss issue,” says Greg MacIntosh, Vice-President of Wild Rose Group of Cos. “Sometimes, it could be temporary because of a medication and sometimes it can be part of a more progressive problem.”

Another route is to involve family members first, but in some cases, clients may be estranged from their families. In others, family members may be part of the problem as relatives try to dip into the clients’ accounts.

Additionally, unless advisors have spent a considerable amount of time face-to-face with their clients, short interactions and check-ins won’t prove to be a true barometer for noticing any psychological or cognitive impairments.

None of the current solutions seem to be sustainable or even effective in the long run—so how can the older population ensure their accounts and their estates remain safe?

Enter the Canadian Securities Administrators

There are nearly 10 million new cases worldwide of dementia every year, and an estimated 6.2 million Americans age 65 and older living with it in 2021. It’s no wonder that clients with dementia and the issues that come with them are growing faster than advisors can or are able to deal with. Thankfully, in Canada, the Canadian Securities Administrators (CSA) have stepped in.

In July of 2021, the CSA introduced new guidelines that now require registrants to take reasonable steps to obtain the name and contact information of a Trusted Contact Person (TCP). This TCP would be someone advisors could alert if they have concerns about a client’s ability to make financial decisions or suspect their client is being exploited. This TCP would help advisors protect a client’s financial interests and their assets. It’s important to note that a Trusted Contact Person does not have the authority to make transactions on a client in question’s account.

Advocis—the oldest and largest voluntary professional membership association for financial advisors—has urged its members to take the initiative to put a TCP in place. However, the client is under absolutely no obligation to provide one. Ultimately, advisors can defer matters to whoever has been appointed as POA, who does have the authority to manage someone’s accounts if a medical doctor has determined that they’re unable to due to mental or physical reasons. However, clients are also under no obligation to appoint a POA either.

Greg Pollock, President and Chief Executive of Advocis, recently told The Globe and Mail, “you have to put these things in place when the client is of clear mind. Once something has occurred where that’s not the case, it’s really too late.”

Still, even with these guidelines in place, it feels as though neither clients nor advisors are adequately protected. However, there is a solution that can provide the protection both parties are looking for.

Managing critical information with a Digital Vault provide protection for advisors and clients

As we continue to power forward into a digital age, technology can provide the tools needed to address these issues upfront. Digital Vault solutions provide an adequate solution for just that.

First and foremost, most Digital Vaults offer advisors and their clients a way to securely deliver, store, and manage important documents, files, and critical information. With world-class security and compliance as a core competency, advisors and firms can gain confidence knowing that their sensitive information is kept safe and secure.

Second, Digital Vaults allow clients to have complete control over who gets access to each of their accounts, and when. As an example, FutureVault’s patented Trusted Advisor permissioning provides family members and other third-party service professionals with access to specific information if granted permission. This, in turn, streamlines necessary processes in a transparent and compliant way as clients can delegate the management of certain files to selected advisors, all being tracked securely within the Vault.

Lastly, Vault platforms allow firms to create standardized templates and checklists as a way to streamline the process around information and document collection at various stages in the advisor-client relationship, including initial onboarding. This makes it incredibly easy and efficient to collect information, including being able to indicate and name a Trusted Contact Person almost immediately.

Moving forward with FutureVault to protect important information

FutureVault’s Digital Vault Platform is equipped with the right tools and features to help advisors connect with their aging clients and streamline the way they collect and manage information assets. By providing both families (clients) and advisors with secure Digital Vaults, we’re empowering firms to significantly improve operational efficiencies, get ahead of compliance and audit obligations, and ultimately, enhance the level of service offering by being able to focus on what matters most, clients.  

Meet Saul Pardillo

Team Spotlight: Meet Saul Pardillo

“Design is a key element in effective visual communication, and it’s the main ingredient that makes people pay attention to the core message we want to get across.”
Tell us a little bit about yourself and your professional background – what’s your “story”?

I have always been interested in arts and creating compelling visuals to tell a story. Naturally, Design seemed like the perfect field for me to study. After graduating in 2001, I worked in several advertising agencies and small studios around Toronto where I gained a lot of experience in motion graphics, design, and advertising.

I truly enjoy the diversity of my work, which can range anywhere from creating web graphics to directing, producing, and editing corporate videos. Design is a key element in effective visual communication, and it’s the main ingredient that makes people pay attention to the core message we want to get across.

What motivates you and keeps you “going”?

The most important thing for me is constant innovation in design and delivering creative outputs. The daily exercise of finding new ways to improve product design and visual communication has always been my main motivation.

In just three words, describe what it’s been like working at FutureVault.

Exciting, Constantly Evolving, and Fun (haha that was four words). Resolving product design challenges and working closely with a team of experts has been an overall amazing experience during my 6+ years of working here at FutureVault.

What does your typical workday on the Marketing team look like? Can you share what some of your top priorities are right now?

There is usually no typical day for me, and that’s the main reason why I love my job. One day I might need to help with designing our web and mobile interfaces and the next I might be working on Adobe Illustrator and creating a detailed design brand book.

Currently, my top priorities at the moment are working on new designs for our user experience and product interface. I’m also currently working closely with the marketing team to develop collateral materials and creative assets for our corporate website.

Can you share one of your favorite experiences working here?

After all these years of working at FutureVault it’s hard to find a single one but I guess one of the most exciting experiences was to be able to finalize our new design brand guidelines. It was a joy to work on from start to finish.

Last but not least, what excites you most about the future of our company?

Working with a talented and hard-working group of people, and the fact that not even a global pandemic has slowed us down just shows how committed our team is in making sure that we create the best product possible for our clients and partners.

Feel free to reach out to Saul and connect with him on LinkedIn.

Three Ways FutureVault Reduces Cybersecurity Risk and Protects Documents

3 Ways FutureVault Helps Reduce Cybersecurity Risk

In the wake of COVID-19, businesses worldwide have shifted their focus to digital platforms that help to carry out day-to-day business as usual. This rapid digital shift has expedited the importance of data privacy and security. With rising internet usage, an increase in cloud technologies, and the growing reliance on digital devices, the importance of cybersecurity continues to grow exponentially. 

This rings especially true for financial institutions and wealth management firms along with other highly regulated industries where compliance and security are an absolute must. Thankfully, businesses can reduce their organizational and cybersecurity risks while protecting important documents and data with a Digital Vault Platform.

In this article, we’ll break down three significant ways FutureVault’s Digital Vault Platform helps financial service providers improve compliance regimes while reducing cybersecurity risks across all levels of the organization.  

1. Tackle Technology Risks With Active Cybersecurity Oversight

If your organization had no choice but to make a sudden shift to digital document management (and remote working) due to the pandemic, your current technology stack and the processes built around it might not be as secure as you may think. Be sure to be aware of any potential security gaps in your workflow, especially where critical information and data are required to be migrated manually between various online applications.  

A Digital Vault Platform can build the foundation for your business plan to protect against cybersecurity threats and ensure that you’re satisfying the compliance requirements of regulators in several ways. With enterprise-grade security, your teams can confidently request, receive, store, and manage critical documents and important files across all stakeholders from the back office to advisors and third-party service providers to your clients.

FutureVault’s platform equips you with the ability to distribute information on a 1-to-1, 1-to-many, or many-to-1 basis all while ensuring information assets containing sensitive corporate and client data are kept safe and secure. When it comes to protecting information and documents, few platforms, if any, come close to the capabilities of what secure Digital Vault Platforms have to offer.

2. Reduce the Impact and Risks of Human Error 

Basic human error is often the driver behind successful cybercrimes and data breaches. Commonly, the perpetrators of these fraudulent attempts leverage their victims’ trust—and ignorance—to their advantage. Many of these attacks come as phishing attempts—a seemingly innocent email from a familiar but fraudulent sender asking internal staff to hand over classified information or click on malicious links.

This highlights the importance of training teams on spotting and avoiding online scams and having the right processes and platforms in place for securely storing and sharing information.

It’s especially important to note that regulators, such as the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), are enforcing fines on organizations and firms that do not have active policies in place to protect against cybersecurity risks. These prosecutions include punishments for non-compliant standings dealing with data breaches over email.

By implementing a Digital Vault Platform as a core part of operationalizing back and front office document management workflows, organizations gain clarity and confidence in knowing that only individuals with granted permissions can access and view information; no one else. FutureVault’s platform in particular also provides organizations with a real-time audit trail of account and user activity that tracks and records every click, open, share, you name it, taking place in user Vaults so that every action is held accountable for audit readiness purposes. Having this type of functionality is a game-changer for managing compliance and reporting requirements.

FutureVault’s platform ensures good compliance standards across an entire organization by enabling institutions—and its professional service providers—to share, review, and manage critical documents directly within the Vault instead of a less secure and less efficient platform such as a personal email. 

3. Protect Member Data with Advanced Security Protocols

With cybercrimes becoming more and more prevalent in our digital world, your business must take the proper action now to protect itself—and clients—from cybersecurity threats. FutureVault’s Digital Vault Platform provides your organization with the right technology necessary to proactively manage potential risks while building the foundation for your company to grow its protective processes and compliance protocols for the future. 

As a SOC 2 Type II certified organization, we remain committed to providing our partners, customers, and their clients with best-in-class security and compliance policies to store, manage and protect their information. 

Especially when it comes to compliance for financial service organizations, companies need to start thinking about it holistically. Compliance extends across all areas of the business and involves every employee — it’s not relegated to just one committee, group, or department. Because of this, your business needs secure solutions that help multiple aspects of your business when it comes to client data protection.

FutureVault’s security and privacy standards go above and beyond the requirements needed to prevent data loss and interruption. To make sure that all your compliance requirements are met, all Vault data is encrypted and backed up in different regions.

In addition to making sure that all your data is kept safe to meet any and all compliance frameworks, our security protocol adherence also includes advanced features such as vulnerability scanning, penetration testing, patch management, access controls, and secure around-the-clock monitoring, ensuring that your client’s data and information remain safe, secure, and accessible.

What Happens in the Vault, Stays in the Vault

At FutureVault, we believe that information is the ultimate asset class, which is why we incorporate the best security and privacy standards to safeguard important corporate and client data now and well into the future. By leveraging our industry-leading platform, we’re helping financial service providers everywhere significantly improve compliance across their organization while streamlining and improving audit readiness cycles.