For the millions of American families receiving financial advice from over 300,000 financial advisors and wealth management professionals, their technology experience has never been better. For a decade or more, financial technology firms, and those that buy from them, have been focused on elevating the customer and financial advisor experience.
We have technology enabled and democratized investment product supermarkets, psychologically and scientifically deep risk profiling, intuitive and personalized marketing platforms, rich aggregated data beautifully presented, digital advice solutions that have both reduced costs and focused advisors, and more. We’ve used this technology to drive fiduciary experiences, make financial planning the norm, not the exception, and personalize the client experience at scale. In fact, there are more than 400 financial technology firms serving customers and advisors, with new ones coming to market each week.
At the heart of the customer experience
But have you ever wondered what happens behind the scenes? Unfortunately, far too often, these beautiful customer and advisor experiences are met with deep execution challenges that are rarely seen, but frequently experienced. Far too often, digital data is turned analog, paper and pens are still required, operations professionals manually move data between un-integrated systems, and firms spend millions supporting legacy, home-made operating platforms they just can’t seem to modernize or escape. The result? The customer experience remains lacking. That account you are opening takes way too long, has too many places to sign and has a shocking volume of pages. That account you are transferring seems to linger too long. Your old address keeps showing up. You remember already giving someone that data. That beautiful financial plan may have been well-crafted, but you might be questioning whether it is truly well-executed, and what that means the next time you need to make changes to that plan.
The good news is that the financial services industry is rapidly turning its attention to what actually happens behind the scenes. For advisors and the firms, they work with, their brand is a promise and they are driven to make sure that promise is fulfilled. In fact, as the customer and advisor experience begin to get better everywhere, firms and advisors are finding they can, and need to, compete on the quality of execution. In fact, according to research by consulting firm Celent, spending on third party systems will be close to 50% of technology spend by 2022, versus just over 25% in 2016.
The race is on
Firms are beginning to leverage specialist financial technology firms to move faster and improve execution, rather than continuing to maintain outdated legacy platforms that cripple execution excellence. And that spending is being directed at one of the most critical back office functions, document management. In fact, according to this same research 42% of financial services firms are in the process of adopting or replacing document management technology, while nearly one quarter don’t have this critical operating technology AND have no plans to install it in the next several years. This has all the makings of the next competitive front-line occurring in the back office.
At Docupace, we are solving these back office challenges for some of the largest wealth management enterprises in America, and small ones too, delivering a consolidated new account opening process, digital forms creation (when forms are necessary), digitally or electronically signed documents or records, integration with third-parties to eliminate duplicate data entry and ensure straight-through-processing, automated workflows, soon to be powered by artificial intelligence and robotic process automation, and secure storage of data and documents to ensure security and regulatory compliance.
This technology sits at the core of financial planning execution, ensures an integrated experience between the client, their advisors and the firms they work with, and leverages bi-directional data from a wide variety of sources. The promise of a well-executed client and financial advisor experience is being fulfilled for these firms we have the privilege to serve.
The financial services industry has done incredible work to democratize investment advice, encourage saving, empower the consumer, lower costs, and modernize the experience for clients and the financial advisors who serve them. Now is the time to start the back-office revolution and give these clients and advisors the flawless execution they deserve.