A scan across the wealth management and financial services industry shows there is a growing movement of advisors looking to differentiate themselves by offering a more comprehensive, private wealth, or family office business structure that deeply embeds their services into (and across) the client’s financial, family, business, and aspirational life.
This represents a shift in business management mindset to focus firm-wide goals towards more comprehensive client engagement and investing financially, culturally, and strategically in the digital client experience. The need for this more encompassing business model of ‘Client Life Management’ is supported by research and reports like Accenture’s Wealth Management: The new state of advice which highlights the rise of newly engaged investors with growing financial advice needs and expectations.
It goes without saying that in today’s modern era of wealth management and financial services broadly, technology plays a significant role. This could not be truer when bringing Client Life Management to the table and actualizing this more comprehensive engagement model both at the firm and advisor levels.
Digital Vaults are one piece of technology emerging as a must-have for all types of firms, scale, and sizes, with their ability to transform financial firms into delivering these modern, high-touch wealth and advisory relationships. Digital Vaults enable financial information, data, and documents to converge in your firm as a single source for the modern professional and client, ultimately providing better insights, deeper engagement, and more value across all stakeholders and family members in the client relationship.
What exactly is Client Life Management and what does it cover?
Client Life Management is emerging as a new category within wealth management, and importantly, representing a new paradigm in the way everyday client information, data, and critical documents are managed, accessed, shared, and advisor services are delivered.
Managed (and delivered) through Digital Vaults, Client Life Management drives deeper engagement and results in more value delivered to clients by extending the value proposition outside of the traditional confines of wealth management to a more comprehensive service model that embodies the key areas of the client’s life and household dynamics.
At the core of Client Life Management is the centralization of data, information, and documents that span across a client’s personal, financial, and business life. It offers a powerful driving force empowering firms and advisors to now confidently center themselves in their clients’ lives through their advisory relationship with them — from prospecting, onboarding, and engaging all aspects of a client’s financial, business, and personal life to wealth transfer strategies, legacy planning, and more.
Client engagement is the new alpha for advisors and firms
According to the recent WealthStack Study along with findings from Franklin Templeton, investing in technology to deliver a unique digital client experience and drive client engagement will pave the road to success for the modern advisory relationship.
The firms and institutions taking this approach and investing financially, strategically, and culturally in client engagement will undoubtedly come out on top. The stakes are high, and the competition is heating up for firms looking to get the “closest” to clients and their family members, especially during the era of The Great Wealth Transfer.
More engagement leads to better conversations. Better conversations lead to quality advice. Quality advice leads to establishing more trust. And trust enables firms and advisors to gain access to more critical information, data, and documents, where understanding the client’s entire life and household dynamics are at play.
What role do Digital Vaults play in Client Life Management and enhancing advisor-client engagement?
Digital Vaults are the ultimate linchpin when it comes to Client Life Management and creating a multi-generational strategy. There’s a huge misconception across the industry about what Digital Vaults are – Digital Vaults are far more than static file storage systems or document dumping grounds, and advanced Digital Vaults extend well beyond being a secure platform for document handling and exchanges to take place.
Digital Vaults are secure, compliant, efficient, and structured platforms for managing, protecting, and automating the delivery of critical information, data, and documents. The information, data, and documents in Digital Vaults empower and drive deeper discussions and actions between firms, advisors, and their clients.
Digital Vault solutions like FutureVault serve as the single source of truth for the client’s life from onboarding, KYC, and planning through to ongoing life planning, legacy, and succession processes that revolve heavily around access and understanding of information, data, and documents.
By having everything centralized in one spot, everyone wins. The home office and compliance teams win, advisors win, and, most importantly, clients and their family members win.
How can Client Life Management create client family loyalty and stickiness across generations to help advisors win The Great Wealth Transfer?
More than 70% of heirs to wealth are likely to fire or change financial advisors after inheriting their parents’ wealth, per Cerulli Associates research. This number has massive implications for firms and advisors.
But there is a silver lining here. This impending challenge presents a real opportunity for institutions, firms, and advisors to build trust across generations by delivering more value and finding creative ways to engage with clients and family members.
This is precisely where Client Life Management and Digital Vaults play a significant role. One of the most effective ways firms and advisors can execute and maintain a multi-generational strategy is by implementing a Client Life Management Vault for family legacy information, data, and documents.
A well-structured Digital Vault serves as a central repository for all the important documents and information that clients and their families need to access in the event of a change in circumstances, such as the passing of a family member, liquidity events, or the retirement of an advisor.
Having everything centralized in one place is not only a huge time-saving benefit for clients and their next generation, but it is also of massive value for institutions and high-touch advisory professionals.
How else is Digital Vault technology driving Client Life Management and empowering advisors to be more competitive?
Digital Vault technology is a major driving force of Client Life Management and enables firms and advisors to be more efficient and build a digital moat around the competition by addressing and solving many industry-wide challenges.
Notably, Digital Vaults equip the modern firm and advisor with the right tools to securely request, collect, and exchange critical documents from clients, family members, and their network of Trusted Advisors. With document delivery automation capabilities, Digital Vaults like FutureVault are providing massive value for back, middle, and front office teams, improving efficiency and cutting costs by more than 30% by automating the delivery of custodial, tax, and portfolio-related documents.
Next, it’s important to understand client needs and expectations when working with firms and advisors when it comes to their personal data, information, and documents. Clients expect best-in-class security to protect their data and information and that becomes table stakes for any financial advisory business. Clients expect, and assume, that advisors are always meeting regulatory requirements around the protection of their sensitive information and documents; this goes hand-in-hand when working with technology companies. And importantly, clients expect a digital-first experience and interaction where their information, data, and documents are readily available to them, on the go, 24-7.
An often overlooked area is the evolution of the role of the modern advisor. As more and more firms lean toward a family-office or white-glove approach with highly personalized services, especially for HNW and UHNW families, the primary financial advisor is slowly emerging as the family’s most trusted advisor in their life. This has steadily paved the way for additional services and information being managed by the advisor and by the firm. This begs the question, how and where can all of the critical information and documents be kept and maintained? This is where advanced Digital Vault technology that supports householding, entity tagging, checklists, secure document requests, trusted collaborators, and so much more, delivers massive value.
Last but not least, data and information within the documents are what ultimately drive engagement and tell the client’s story. By being able to extract structured and unstructured data from documents to normalize the data and leverage it to drive workflow via advanced Digital Vault solutions, institutions, firms, and advisors, will win when it comes to Client Life Management.
Conclusion: Client Life Management provides a competitive value proposition for the modern advisory relationship
Client Life Management positions the modern advisor to thrive by being relevant and instrumental through the entire relationship with a client – from onboarding and engaging all aspects of a client’s financial, business, and personal life to wealth transfer strategies, legacy planning and establishing their children with structured holistic financial plans of their own.
This level of value and engagement adds a competitive business alpha — a digital moat strategy — to your firm where you can engender more trust, access additional family members or centers of influence, and develop a highly referable business. It is really about creating an environment where you are building loyalty across a family, across generations.
We will undoubtedly see Digital Vaults continuing to emerge as a must-have piece of the modern advisor’s tech stack and continuing to play an incredibly important role in bringing all areas of the client’s life together and centralized in one spot, for everyone.
Access to information from every level – head office, advisor, client, and family members – can and will ultimately drive the modern relationship in a world where the advisor’s role continues to change. Positioning yourself at the center of your client relationships, by having access to their information, data, and documents, will ensure that you and your clients work together, in harmony, from a trusted position.
This article was adapted from an exclusive article with FutureVault executives and Bill Hortz of the Institute for Innovation Development.