Financial Services Need a Digital Strategy

5 Reasons Why Financial Services Need a Digital Strategy

Financial services firms are facing their greatest technological change in a generation, with emerging technologies such as blockchain and artificial intelligence holding the promise of reimagining the banking experience. Other challenges and factors such as changing customer expectations, increasing competition and regulatory oversight, and the pressure to streamline operations are driving the push for innovation. […]

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.

Financial Documents Spring Cleaning Photo by Oleg Magni from Pexels

How to Champion Client Experience During Volatile Times

Now more than ever is the perfect time to be the champion your clients need with a financial spring cleaning and important document cleanup.

Consistent, ongoing communication between professionals (advisors) and clients plays a vital role in overall client satisfaction and retention. This rings true in any given circumstance and is especially true during challenging and volatile times. As a result of recent historic market downturns, it’s safe to assume that your clients may be scared, confused, and unsure of what to do next. They require special attention from their advisors.

A recent study by YCharts showed that nearly two-thirds of financial advisors’ clients feel they’re hearing from their advisors too infrequently. Meanwhile, CNN Money’s Fear & Greed index confirms that investors are currently experiencing extreme fear. The CBOE Volatility Index is down some from its mid-March 2020 peak, but remains sky-high relative to historical norms, also indicating investor fear.

Given the screaming headlines engulfing world markets right now, that’s understandable. It’s clear that most, if not all, financial clients need extra care now more than ever.

Now’s your chance to stand out from the crowd of unresponsive advisors. Amid coronavirus and the resulting mayhem in world markets, your business can thrive if you put in the time and effort to strengthen your relationships with your clients.

It all starts by taking the time to listen to your clients’ concerns, wishes, and dreams. While your experience and sense of cool under pressure often serve you well, no one has all the answers – especially during times of crisis. Listen, then walk your clients through this tumultuous time. More than just making money for your clients, offering a sympathetic ear and an open mind can win their loyalty for a lifetime.

In that YCharts study, 85% of respondents cited both the frequency and style of advisors’ communication as being important factors in deciding whether or not to retain their advisors.

One highly effective communication style is to be proactive in your client care. By helping your clients address important matters before they even think of them, you’ll build a powerful sense of trust.

With that in mind, this is a great time to reassure your clients by going over the current state of financial markets. Rather than waiting for them to inundate you with panicked phone calls, this is an ideal moment for you to reach out to them. Clients appreciate both scheduled and ad hoc contact as a way to show that you truly care about their well-being.

Financial Document Spring Cleaning Photo by from Pexels

Walk your clients through both their short-term and long-term investment goals. Check to make sure their current investment plan still works for them. If it needs tweaking, take the time to go over a plan that makes financial sense, while also giving them a sense of comfort they need.

More than just an overview of your clients’ stock portfolios, now’s also a great time to review all their financial affairs by walking them through a financial spring cleaning.

A good spring cleaning should include making sure they have all their financial affairs are in order so that they can ride out jittery markets while knowing that they’re prepared for anything. One way to ensure that happens is ensuring all of their financial documents are organized, easy to find, and up to date.

Financial Review – spring cleaning important financial documents

Review current debts: With interest rates slashed to the bone, you can help advise your clients on everything from refinancing home loans to restructuring or consolidating other debts. This is a perfect time to review it all. You can then help them prioritize their money allocation and lower the financial and emotional burden of onerous debts.

Check current insurance plans: Are your clients’ life insurance policies up to date? Do they have enough coverage to give their families their own peace of mind? The current period of volatility offers a golden opportunity to help them plan for life’s many contingencies.

Check beneficiary designations: Many people make a will as soon as they have their first child. If your clients have children who are grown, it may have been decades since they last reviewed their list of beneficiaries, considered key items such as power of attorney, or even knew where to find a copy of their will.

Review the little things: In today’s digital age, it’s easy to automate virtually every payment. Make sure every bill from cable to mobile phones to power and heating bills are up to date, automated, and seamless. The less clients have to worry about, the better and easier their lives will be.

Clean out old documents that are no longer needed and import critical financial documents into a digital vault.

One factor which can thrust all of those goals into jeopardy is clutter. Having too many papers strewn around the office, the house, and the garage can lead to documents becoming lost, or nearly impossible to find. A 2015 survey found that 54% of Americans felt overwhelmed by the amount of clutter they have; 78% had no idea how to handle all that clutter, so they avoided the problem and let it build up instead.

You know the expression, “a cluttered space is a cluttered mind”. That can apply to your clients. Being unable to organize their financial documents can leak over into other elements of their lives, causing stress that can affect their work or even their family relationships.

That’s why it’s so important to be digital-savvy. As a financial advisor, ask yourself: Are your clients’ most important documents all stored in one place, in a secure digital vault? If not, what are you waiting for?

Meet FutureVault – the industry-leading Digital Vault Platform

FutureVault is a leader in digital vault technology. Using cloud-based technology, artificial intelligence, and machine learning, FutureVault enables you to store all of your clients’ key financial documents in a way that’s 100% secure and easily accessible from anywhere, any time.

So if your clients haven’t already done so, this is a great time for them to go through their filing cabinets and old boxes. Have them shred the old documents they don’t need. For those vital documents they do need, your clients can upload them simply to their own digital safety deposit box – a digital vault powered by FutureVault.

Think back to the financial goals we mentioned earlier. Does everyone in your clients’ families know where to find vital documents such as wills, Power of Attorney letters, and insurance documents? These documents must be secure and accessible to family members or trusted professionals that need them. FutureVault enables end-users to easily collaborate with their external network of trusted advisors, including wealth advisors, financial planners, accountants, lawyers, family members, assistants, colleagues, etc. All activities are tracked in a secure, fiduciary audit trail.

Acquire and retain clients, members, and employees, while unlocking new and recurring revenue streams. FutureVault’s platform deepens and extends client relationships as the digital hub in clients’ lives.

Digital Vaults Empower the Remote Financial Advisors & Secure Document Management- Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

In Times of Great Uncertainty, Prepare, Don’t Panic

Take advantage of FutureVault’s technological breakthroughs to build an efficient and secure document management portal that will prove highly effective now and long after COVID-19 fades away.

The COVID-19 Novel Coronavirus has caused over 500,000 infections and claimed more than 23,000 lives around the world. It’s a global pandemic and a major public health threat that’s growing rapidly in many countries, especially in the United States.

The good news is that there are proven ways to protect yourself against the effects of COVID-19. Staying home and avoiding close contact with others in the rare instance you have to leave home offers a strong defense against infection. And when it comes to the business-damaging effects of COVID-19, there are effective ways to fight back too.

Major advances in tech innovation over the past few years now give you the ability to offer financial planning, insurance, and tax advice and handle clients’ needs from the comfort of the financial advisor’s home. Those advances came not a moment too soon. With financial markets showing extreme volatility, many, if not all, financial wealth clients are more anxious now than they’ve ever been.

Rather than fretting over the lack of face-to-face meetings, you can take advantage of these technological breakthroughs to build an efficient and secure document management portal that will prove highly effective both now and long after COVID-19 fades away.

Why a digital vault platform powered by FutureVault is the most important tech innovation to date that will help you continue to help your clients as you work from home:

Digital vaults

A digital vault is essentially an online safety deposit box. It stores your clients’ financial information, providing airtight security against potential scammers and hackers, but also fast and easy access for advisors, trusted professionals, and clients, no matter where in the world they’re located.

Those are indispensable benefits in the age of social distancing. As more countries and cities go into lockdown, financial advisors are being forced to work from home, and clients are finding it harder and harder to meet with them face to face.

FutureVault leads the digital vault space. FutureVault’s cloud-based digital vault technology gives financial advisors the convenient, secure, digital document management platform they need. Powered by AI and machine learning, FutureVault enables you to manage all of your clients’ vital documents, quickly and easily.

FutureVault: An official DocuSign partner

Forcing face-to-face meetings to sign documents was already an antiquated way to do business before COVID-19 came along. Now, electronic signing platforms are surging right past tools of convenience to tools of necessity.

FutureVault offers an integrated electronic signing platform with DocuSign, a leading e-signature provider. Clients concerned about information security and document storage when using e-signatures can rest easy, knowing that FutureVault’s security features and DocuSign’s easy-to-use platform combine to make clients’ lives much easier at signing time.

Even if your client base skews, older, quick, and secure communication is becoming a highly desired tool for investors, both young and old, as part of a broader digital approach to wealth management. A 2017 CFA Institute report found that nearly 40% of investment advisor clients over the age of 55 considered robust digital client offerings as an essential tool in how they want to interact with their advisors. Given the tech advances that have happened since then and the current social distancing movement that prevents those clients from meeting in person, it’s a sure bet that such a study would produce far higher numbers today.

FutureVault’s advanced digital tools 

FutureVault features a wide array of other digital tools that offer many benefits for advisors forced into remote work; many of those benefits will carry over long after lock-downs have ended.

FutureVault’s AI-powered search platform enables both advisors and clients to quickly and easily access documents from anywhere, anytime. Its automated checklist feature makes time and task management easier than it’s ever been. FutureVault’s checklists also automate document tasks, saving companies time and money.

FutureVault’s Global Folders feature ensures that corporate documents, onboarding forms, and other vital items once tendered in the form of stacks of papers are now digitally secure and up to date. Global Folders also helps ensure that the most important corporate documents are easily accessible to the whole organization digitally, while greatly reducing the amount of paper waste you use, which in turn lowers your carbon footprint — a worthwhile goal in any climate.

Digitization as a Service (DaaS): FutureVault and Iron Mountain bridge the digital-physical divide

Iron Mountain brings the world’s leading logistical network and physical information solution that protects documents by combining security, real-time tracking, and an auditable chain of custody for physical information protection. Those features add to FutureVault’s encrypted document management platform to offer one virtual point of collaboration, helping companies build their own digital transformation strategies.

Add in FutureVault’s ability to keep advanced activity-tracking logs and complete fiduciary audit trails to ensure compliance, and you have an all-in-one solution. One that’s tailor-made to help your team to continue to work seamlessly at a time when less prepared businesses are scrambling trying to find secure solutions.

Even when advisors are able to return to corporate offices, societal changes will likely make remote financial advising an increasingly popular option for clients and advisors alike. FutureVault will help your organization adjust and thrive in that new market reality.