5 challenges financial services companies can overcome with FutureVault

5 Challenges Financial Service Organizations Need to Overcome to Stay Competitive

The financial services industry has been and continues to be going through a radical shift as it heads towards true digital transformation.

As we survey the industry, it’s clear to see that there are several reasons and factors influencing this rapid wave of change: new entrants, disruptive innovation and technologies, changing business models, increasing regulation and compliance, as well as a change in your own customers’ expectations.

What we witnessed at the beginning of 2020 up until now as a result of the global impact of COVID-19 was like nothing else we’ve ever seen before. Once the pandemic hit and face-to-face interaction became nearly impossible for institutions, service professionals, and clients everywhere, the reliance on digital technologies became even more paramount. Needless to say, the pandemic was the catalyst for a very much-needed push and acceleration towards digitization and digital transformation for all stakeholders in the industry.  

While the above is seemingly all too good, it does come with the cost of posing several critical challenges for organizations and advisors. Keeping the above factors in mind, here are five major challenges financial firms will need to face and overcome in order to win the minds, hearts, and wallets of new and existing clients everywhere.

1. Keeping up with technology & innovation

Implementing the latest and greatest technology is arguably one of the most important keys to meeting long-term business goals such as providing a seamless customer experience and staying competitive. In a PwC Global FinTech Survey, 70% of the leaders said the speed of change in technology was a concern. When the systems and tools in place, as well as the client-facing technology lag behind the curve, it can complicate the customer experience.

Sustainable success in business requires insight, agility, and continuous innovation. To stay cost-competitive, and to have the flexibility that innovation requires, financial institutions will need to update their infrastructure to make it more agile and responsive. A successful business transformation requires buy-in across an organization from well-before technology is implemented to well-after technology is distributed across the organization. When it comes to adoption, you’re only as strong as your weakest link. We’ve seen this time and time again from organizations where departments and key stakeholders are not quite fully bought-in, slowing the overall movement of the organization.

Solution: To have the flexibility that innovation requires, financial institutions must consider consolidating platforms and investing in automation, AI, and cloud-based technologies to deliver on ever-more demanding customer expectations, manage data and information, as well as improve their ability to manage compliance requirements.

2. Limited workforce training

Most financial firms understand the need to be flexible and responsive in this highly competitive and constantly changing landscape. Team members, particularly in client-facing roles, must be properly trained on handling client interactions smoothly and efficiently. Acquiring and retaining talent is critical for the implementation of strategic initiatives, however, according to PwC’s 20th CEO Survey, 72% of CEOs in financial services say that the limited availability of skills is a threat to growth. Along with cyber threats, financial services CEOs’ concerns over technology and skills top their list of business threats.

Solution: Focus on building a successful upskilling strategy, with attention paid to implementing digital tools and new ways of working to build long-term talent for the organization.

3. Increased regulatory obligations

It seems like almost every other week we hear about regulators like the SEC penalizing and cracking down on companies with heavy fines for sensitive corporate and client data being exposed over email. With data breaches becoming more prevalent, both consumer and corporate concerns for data privacy and integrity has skyrocketed, resulting in ever-changing, more restrictive, compliance requirements and policies that soon form.

As regulations in the financial services industry continue to escalate, organizations are required to spend a large part of their budgets on meeting strict compliance standards. Building systems and processes that keep up with regulations and industry standards require resources on every level. Overcoming regulatory compliance challenges requires financial firms to foster a culture of compliance within the organization. Companies need to constantly evaluate and improve their operations to keep up with fast-changing consumer expectations, technology, and industry regulations.

Solution: Investing in the latest digital technology is a critical component in creating a culture of compliance. Technology can help standardize processes, ensure procedures are followed correctly, and enables firms to keep up with new policy changes, among several other benefits.

Note: If you’re still sending critical corporate and client documents back and forth over email, FutureVault’s digital vault and document management solutions can help by providing a much better, more secure alternative to email.  

4. Legacy systems & processes

Most of the existing challenges are struggles financial services organizations are faced with are a result of legacy systems and processes, directly impeding their ability to focus on clients and scale. Such systems have been used for so long that they are usually ingrained into a business’ processes making it difficult to move away from, however, absolutely necessary to do so.

According to Business Systems, maintaining legacy systems can be extremely costly with more than 80% of the IT budget often being consumed by it.

Similarly, paper-driven processes for things such as account transfers, new client onboarding, and just about everything else not only costs a considerable amount of money but also constitute a resource drain from a time perspective. This results in companies dedicating FTE capacities to handle the burden of manual, paper-driven administrative tasks, taking away from their ability to spend time on client engagement and interaction.

Solution:  Financial service organizations that leverage the latest business technology like online document management and collaboration will have the key advantage of innovating faster in the digital transformation race.

5.  Optimizing customer experience

Your customers crave relationships and being understood. Ensuring that your customers feel valued and are receiving great customer service is essential to developing long-term customer relationships. In the Accenture Global Financial Services Consumer Study of nearly 33,000 banking customers spanning 18 markets, 49% of respondents indicated that customer service drives loyalty.

As such, client experience initiatives need to be prioritized and vocalized across all levels of the organization. If departments are misaligned, the client experience will suffer and as a result, so will your business.

To top it off, we continue to observe the constantly ever-evolving customer expectations as consumers gravitate towards firms and financial services professionals that are able to provide them with 24/7 personalized service. According to a study by Accenture, 79% of consumers viewed their relationships with financial service institutions as largely transactional., institutions and advisors simply need to do better.

Solution:  To effectively deal with this requires a new covenant between front-office and people leadership, connecting the worlds of customer, HR, and general management to provide a seamless customer experience across the face of the organization.

Solutions & opportunities to automate, improve, transform

The financial sector is constantly evolving, and today’s challenges are guaranteed to evolve with them. The more steps organizations take now to stay up-to-speed, the better off they’ll be when it comes to inevitable changes in the future. It’s mission-critical for firms and their advisors to secure a controlled strategy to innovate and help refine the consumer engagement model in a digitally native world.

The first step involves keeping up with the newest trends in FinTech and seeing which ones could directly impact and improve client experience. Financial firms must also consider consolidating different platforms and providing a more consistent, customer-friendly experience across internet, mobile and physical locations.

Another important factor is the need of having an agile and diverse workforce, as greater diversity allows financial service organizations to better reflect, understand, and engage with the increasingly diverse set of clients they serve.

Organizations leveraging the latest business technology, particularly around cloud applications, have a key advantage in the race to digital transformation. Without system hardware limiting flexibility, the agility and scalability of cloud technology enable systems to evolve along with your business. Lastly, for any major business decision you make, be sure to surface plans with department heads and especially with client-facing teams. That includes sharing client feedback widely, whether it’s through shared tools or in all-hands meetings.

Winning the minds, hearts, and wallets of consumers

For organizations to remain competitive in the financial services landscape, they require new ideas and innovative methods of accomplishing tasks on a greater scale with faster speeds. More significantly, the customer will always be at the forefront of the future. Today’s modern consumers expect more personalized experiences, demands faster access, and expects better results from all of their providers, financial institutions included. And it seems that firms that are unable to compete with these higher expectations will likely struggle to maintain viability in the long run.

What we’ve seen and learned is that an investment in technology is no longer a “nice” to have, it’s an absolute must. To say the least, technology is fundamental to success. And that’s where FutureVault comes in. As an industry-leading Digital Vault Platform, FutureVault works closely with financial service organizations to help them successfully overcome all these challenges through a digital transformation that focuses on people, processes, and technology.

By helping organizations transform the way they’re managing and securely storing documents, onboarding advisors and new clients, and improving compliance and audit readiness, we’re able to help them significantly improve operational efficiencies, save time and money, and focus more on what matters most, their clients.

Equip the remote workforce with FutureVault

Equipping the Remote Workforce with Best in Class Digital Tools

A University of Southern California research group led by Jack Nilles conducted one of the first major studies on “telecommuting”, now more commonly known as remote work, spurred on by skyrocketing fuel prices during the 1973 OPEC oil crisis. The research focused on a Los Angeles-based insurance company with more than 2,000 employees. Each worker traveled 34.4 kilometers a day on average, at a total cost (in 1974 prices) of US$2.73 million a year. The study concluded that technology would make it possible and cost-efficient but that organizational cultures would have to change.

Remote work, in the not so recent past, was an evolution of changing belief systems, technology, and progressive leadership. Airtasker, a community outsourcing platform, did a survey comparing the productivity, spending, and health of the remote workforce vs. in-office employees where they surveyed 1,004 full-time employees across the U.S., 50% of whom worked remotely.

Remote workers saved an annual average of $4,523 on fuel, saved 408 hours in commuting, which equals 17 days. On average, remote employees worked 1.4 more days every month, or 16.8 more days every year, than those who worked in an office. Surveyed remote workers did take more time for breaks; however, that lead to higher rates of productivity.

Though reports indicate flexible work arrangements and a remote workforce equals more productivity and happier employees, according to an OWL LABS report published in late 2019, 44% of companies globally were not allowing employees to work remotely.

COVID-19 changed everything.

Now that remote work is a reality; businesses remain focused on ensuring that teams can continue to work collaboratively & securely not only across the organization, but with their clients as well. For remote work to be successful, a variety of factors have to come into play, including open communication, trust, a well-defined remote work company policy, proper training for managers and employees, and the leading digital tools. Without the right infrastructure in place, managing the digital connection across organizations and with clients can become complicated; but with the right infrastructure and tools, now that’s a game-changer.

Digital tools for the remote workplace

With the world moving towards a digital workplace at an astonishingly rapid pace, those who fail to adapt will soon risk losing any sort of competitive edge they currently have. It is critical that companies aim to get ahead of the curve and equip themselves with innovative and efficient digital tools to manage this change. To speed up their digital transformation process, companies can choose to adopt different tools from customer relationship and recruitment to client collaboration and secure document storage, to name a few.

A major driver influencing the transition to a successful digital workplace is choosing the right toolkit —integrating complementary tools that enable employees to communicate and collaborate effectively across locations with each other and with their clients, importantly. The benefits of doing this are immense; increased return on investment, improved internal and external communication, centralization of information, enhanced employee and customer experience, improved operating efficencies, all of which leads to higher revenue and profits.

The right tools will help a business organize its knowledge base, allow for the seamless exchange and storage of information, as well as enhance collaboration with clients. With a myriad of options available, the goal for any organization should be to choose their digital tools in a way that they complement one another and help employees be more productive, whether they are physically present in the office or working remotely.

Championing the customer experience during volatile times

The expanding digital landscape is constantly creating new and quicker ways to connect with customers. During these times where people are frequently bombarded with new information every second, buying goods and services is just one click away. With limitless options available in the market, providing an exceptional customer experience is becoming ever more important. Particularly in times of crisis like COVID-19, client interactions with advisors and organizations can trigger an immediate and lasting effect on their sense of trust and loyalty.

Digital delivery options have become a necessity for most customers who were confined at home. Even among the most “digitally resistant” customers, adoption seems to have significantly grown since the start of 2020. For businesses, this means that the rapid development of digital functionalities is the true key to success by ensuring continuity of services. According to a report on improving customer experience by McKinsey, 80% of companies believe that their core business model should be digitized to remain economically viable.

Now more than ever is the optimal time for executives with purchase power to consider investment in the data, technology, and systems required to deliver exceptional experiences. Having the right digital tool at your disposal can enable this business transformation through streamlining communication channels, improving internal and external collaboration, meeting reporting requirements and even fulfilling auditory obligations.

Improving productivity and collaboration through Digital Vaults

A Digital Vault works like a safety deposit box to manage all your valuable information and documents, giving you a convenient single point of reference so you can easily access your digital assets. While secure document storage is at the core of what Digital Vaults can offer, the benefits extend well beyond storing documents by providing additional tools that enable organizations to easily improve their operating power as well as client collaboration, including allowing clients to securely share their documents with people they trust in their lives such as family members, lawyers, doctors, accountants, wealth managers. In addition to the security and convenience offered by Digital Vaults, they also make it far easier to organize, manage, and find the documents you need, often in just seconds, saving your organization and your clients several hours looking for key documents.

From both an operational and compliance perspective, Digital Vault solutions solve many business challenges by ensuring that all critical business documents are secured in one central location that is accessible across devices, anytime, anywhere.

FutureVault’s Digital Vault technology eliminates the need to rely on paper-driven processes or worry about having to be physically in the office to manage important company and client documentation. With all of the critical documents available in one central location FutureVault helps organizations free up time and resources that they would otherwise spend on completing administrative tasks.

Within FutureVault’s multi-tiered platform you are easily able to bulk upload, download and distribute documents, as well as streamline overall business processes through advanced features like e-signature integrations and workflows, dynamic checklists for collecting information and onboarding clients, audit trail to track all interactions, notifications and reminders. This enables institutions and advisors to invest more of their time into providing a good experience for their clients, which allows them to build more trust at scale.

Document Digitization For Forward-Thinking Financial Firms | FutureVault

Document Digitization as a Service: Modern Wealth Management for Forward-Thinking Financial Firms

Paper in the corporate world has been on its way out for about 20 years, a trend inversely proportionate to acceptance of digital technologies at work and at home. We’ve been walking the digital walk in our personal lives since smartphones hit the market en masse in 2010 and 4G network speeds gave millions of people easy access to information—instantly.

As the 5G network rolls out, the Internet of Things (IoT) and Big Data analytics will make digital assets more valuable than ever before. In 2021, we accept the digital world—we tell smart devices to play songs, turn up our heat, turn off the lights, and close the garage doors. Digitization gives us real-time control.

On top of digital advancements, we’re acutely aware of the environmental destruction caused by clear-cutting trees for paper, the inefficacy of paper recycling programs, the security and physical risks associated with paper files, and the benefits of turning a paper-based office into a digital one.

The unexpected new wealth management work model

In March of 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic sent the corporate world away from its center and remote workforces popped up haphazardly overnight. But only a few businesses were able to hit the ground running. Most scrambled to fix the gaps in their sudden, unexpected new work model. The major gap was lack of access to information—paper documents locked in desk drawers and filing cabinets at an office with the lights off.

How companies maneuvered in the roil of location-based lockdowns wasn’t pretty.

Document digitization service companies worked double-time to convert “need now” paper documents into digital files—bandages to stop the bleeding. Work-from-home (WFH) employees attempted, uncomfortably, to use these newly-digitized documents to conduct day-forward business that kept the lights on at headquarters. It was an expensive tactical response for employers. But not as expensive as the potential security gap threat actors were anxious to exploit.  Digitization kept work flowing in the short-term but gating that digital data as it found its way to the Cloud meant carving out more finances from tight budgets and flinging that money at cybersecurity companies like a trebuchet.

The digitization industry was suddenly busier than ever turning mailrooms, office floors, and filing cabinet archives digital. And Managed IT Service Providers were overwhelmed trying to protect newly digitized assets in the Cloud with Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) and biometric-based permissions that met security and compliance protocols.

It was messy.

Q2 through Q4 of 2020 upended standard operating procedures, workers stressed under the weight of a pandemic-forced situation, and the financial world would never be the same. Though these measures happened at knifepoint, the upheaval pushed the wealth management world in a direction it didn’t know it needed. Until it had it. And now it can’t live without it.

Document Digitization-as-a-Service (DaaS)

Document digitization lit up a sleepy finance sector, pulling open the curtains to analytical insights that unlock a cascading chain of trackable efficiencies.

Wealth managers were slow to adopt digital transformation. Perceived cost, complexity, and time commitment made it a subcategory to traditional, tangible levers. But the benefits of operating paperless have quickly stripped away doubt. A digitally-transformed business provides faster service, greater transparency, higher security, and improved collaboration while deepening end client relationships.

Online tools and mobile functionality give your clients a modern, agile connection to their wealth-based documents on the surface. Underneath, advisors take advantage of faster IIROC audit cycles with digital indexing. Legacy records become trackable assets that grow the value of your firm.

A turnkey solution for financial firms

The focus on document scanning created a turning point in 2020. Those who embraced digitization, however ugly that looked last year, will ride that wave to the beach. But those who bury their heads in pulp will be left behind. Your competition is adapting and navigating the exponential potential that comes from a digital model.

Mountains of paper documents have been replaced by less expensive, more efficient, digital files that minimize security risks and maximize productivity. You still have hills of paper to get through and, now that you’ve come up for air from the 2020 crisis, you have time to think about how best to tackle what’s left (the documents still coming in as paper and all those archives).

FutureVault’s partnership with Iron Mountain creates a top-tier turnkey solution. From digitally capturing information trapped on paper to applying index tags and AI-based Smart Filing* for fast retrieval to porting digital records to the Cloud to managing assets on a document platform that revolutionizes client experience, to securely retaining (or destroying) scanned documents, FutureVault modernizes how you manage client assets end-to-end.

Digitization-as-a-Service (DaaS) turns your legacy records into electronic files, tucking the last of your sheets in tight. This reduces the risk of data exposure, data loss, and compliance penalties while adding value to your practice. But that’s not where FutureVault’s services end.

Digitizing what’s important to you is the first step to controlling the chaos. Once those documents are digital, we load them into a secure platform that makes managing them safe and easy—for your staff and your clients. Then we add integrations to streamline workflows like DocuSign for e-signatures.

DaaS puts a focus on client experience because your clients expect “always-on” access and they want enhanced features. That engagement comes from digitization. That’s how you entice new clients and that’s how you retain them.