In recent years, Salesforce has delivered vertical-specific products, like Financial Services Cloud in order to provide more client tailored solutions, more appropriate data models and a more enhanced advisor view. The Financial Services industry is an important aspect of our go-to-market strategy, from Enterprise level businesses to SME’s. By doing this, Account Executives like myself know the challenges that companies like theirs are facing and what tailored, specific solutions Salesforce can provide. However, in Financial Services, it is not just about a generic sales process flow, managing contacts, or working with marketing, it’s more precise and specific than that. It involves knowing the intricacies of your KYC/KYB process (Know Your Customer/Know Your Business), the documentation exchanged between client and company, the back-end financial platforms that need to interface with your CRM, understanding the FCA regulations pertaining to data retention, etc. Ultimately Financial Services businesses are different from any other industry. They have their unique processes, their partners & introducers, their back-end systems, and cultures. With all these specific requirements and ways of working, having a team that can help them to understand the full value the Salesforce platform can provide.
The Financial Services Industry Is Seeing Significant Change
While working with clients daily, across several sub-verticals of Financial Services, we have seen a tremendous change and transformation. There has been an emergence of challenger banks and how important the overall customer experience has become, in winning new customers from younger age demographics. There has been the rise of the mortgage fintech SME’s and the popularisation of online mortgage platforms wherein an end to end mortgage application could be fully automated. In insurance, we have seen the move towards enhancing how brokers and partners are managed digitally while new up and coming insurtech businesses are going fully digital and even algorithmically-driven.
However, with all of this change, some parts of the industry have stayed the same. With the impact of a global pandemic and no timelines for a full recovery, it is now forcing those more traditional businesses and sub-verticals to catch up in terms of innovation and digitization. That is certainly the case for the Wealth/Asset Management and Private Banking space. In recent months I have had more conversations with these kinds of businesses than I have in the last 2-3 years combined!
The Growing Challenges For Wealth/Asset Management Cannot Be Ignored Any Longer
Right now, this area of the industry is experiencing significant challenges and transformation. In the years following the 2008 financial crisis, the Wealth/Asset Management and Private Banking space had progressively adapted to the increased competition, the change in client demands, and the impact of tax transparency. Today, however, there are new challenges and opportunities for the players in the market to be aware of if they are to be successful.
- I have already alluded to the rise of digital and how digital transformation has drastically altered how the mortgage and insurance landscape looks. Now it is the Wealth/Asset Management and Private Banking that are experiencing in-depth digitalization. The emergence of big data, advanced analytics, and well-funded robo-advisor platforms has forced them to evolve.
- With new generations, businesses see generational turnover in their client bases. From the recent conversations I have had with companies, the Wealth/Asset Management and Private Banking industry would appear to be seeing this more and more. With recent generational shifts, clients are demanding a far more engaging overall experience. Clients want simplicity, and they want their advisors to know them. Without digitization, any business in the industry would struggle to provide a holistic advisory service, especially when they try to factor in the range of products and services they offer in conjunction with the multiple jurisdictions in which they operate.
- Regulation continues to be a headache for Wealth/Asset Management and Private Banking businesses. It has always been a complex environment to operate within. Now there is an ever-increasing number of regulations to keep track of. Each requires continued investment and cost to remain compliant with said regulations, which can infringe on profit margins.
Of the global trends, they are critical for UK businesses with operations in Luxembourg as they rely on internationalization and adaptation to any new standards. The players to move first and take on the industry challenges successfully will set themselves up well for the decade ahead.
Now that we understand the challenges the Wealth/Asset Management and Private Banking are facing, let’s pivot and look at what solutions are available to tackle those challenges.
The Rise of The Client Experience
The rise of digital and an evolving client base has put a lot of pressure on Wealth/Asset Management and Private Banking companies to overhaul their end to end client experience. That means the introduction of fully branded self-service and portal functionality that is easy to use and has as few clicks as possible. In every other aspect of their lives, clients can help onboard themselves in their own time through a slick interface, wherein they can upload their passport/proof of address/utility bills, etc. for all KYC/AML checks, and have their distinct login. Now they are demanding this of their Wealth/Asset Manager and Advisor teams. The onboarding process is only the beginning; clients want to bypass human interaction for mundane tasks or queries. If they can log a case themselves and track their progress, they will most certainly take that option. They can log in to their challenger bank app of choice right now and check their accounts and holdings in one view, so they expect their Wealth/Asset Manager of choice to be no different. It is when there is something urgent or critical wherein a client wants the ability to escalate and have human interaction with a dedicated client advisor.
Managing Demands for Omnichannel Communication With Client Segmentation
Automation and self-service work very well for a lot of Financial Services businesses, and as we have explored, Wealth/Asset Management and Private Banking are no different. However, in this specific space, automation and self-service work to a point. Not all clients are created equal. They can vary based on total assets under management, the asset classes their portfolio relies on, the additional services they avail of with a Wealth/Asset Manager, etc. On this basis, a business must be able to segment their client base accurately, and the segmentation can differ based on strategy and a variety of other factors.
- Client A has £200million in assets under management spread across equities, bonds and cash, and some alternative asset classes like derivatives, cryptocurrency, and real estate. They have properties in 6 countries, travel frequently, and have their assets spread across multiple jurisdictions. In addition to this, they frequent a ‘freeport’ to store their art.
- Client B has £7.5million in cash savings accounts, with a proportion of capital in short-term US Treasury bonds via the Vanguard Short-Term Treasury Fund.
These are two very different clients. It goes without saying that their AUM is vastly different. Client advisors need to look past just AUM and look at the other complex factors. Client B will naturally be placed in a lower client segment as they are in cash and short-term US Treasury Bonds, one of the safest investment options. The volatility and exposure that Client B faces are far lower, and therefore, any case or query would, on average, be less urgent.
On the other hand, Client A has a broader breadth of asset classes, each with its complexities, volatility, and risk exposure. Based on the various jurisdictions they operate and hold assets in, a client and client advisor must be able to escalate things based on varying laws and regulations. Then there is the ‘freeport’. Freeports are secure customs zones located at ports where business can be carried out inside a country’s land border, but where different customs rules apply. They can reduce administrative burdens and tariff controls, provide relief from duties and import taxes, and ease tax and planning regulations. Issues can occasionally arise wherein case escalations are required.
A client in these scenarios can reach out to their client advisors through their unique portal login. However, a client-advisor might wish to offer a higher value, higher segmented, and more sophisticated client, another channel of communication, should it be required. Client-advisors are moving towards a more omnichannel approach for Client A’s likes with limited communication channels for the likes of Client B. Businesses want to be able to offer a live chat via their portal that has some automated Bot functionality for the higher touch, lower-value clients. This would allow them the time to provide direct dial to a Client Advisor or direct WhatsApp support for the higher-value clients.
The Client Advisor Needs Data; They Need A Complete View of Their Clients
So far, we have covered the demands of the evolving client base and the functionality they expect from the companies with which they interact. All that functionality is fantastic, from onboarding and self-service support to viewing their portfolio performance online and quick response communication with advisors. However, that functionality only works well when it is built as a cohesive and integrated platform, wherein the client-advisor has the same ease of use and all the information they need right in front of them.
From my recent conversations with customers, too often, businesses in the Wealth/Asset Management and Private Banking space have pieced together multiple disparate systems over time and tried to force them to work together. For many, this has resulted in disjointed technology architecture and client-advisors several system logins with no single view of the customer. The phone isn’t connected to anything, so they don’t know who the customer is before answering. Onboarding documentation is sent via email and then manually moved to another system to be verified and stored. On the flip side, the customer experience as a whole is a slow and painful one.
Businesses are now starting to pivot and digitize. They understand they need to personalise all interactions with rich client profiles, centered on an individual’s personal goals and pivotal life events. They need to be able to connect with clients from any device, build stronger relationships by engaging in micro-moments, respond to timely account alerts, and collaborate across the household on crucial life goals. Their client-advisors need powerful productivity tools and integrated partner apps to automate routine processes with customizable actions. And client referral tracking ensures you never miss an opportunity. And to be considered the gold standard in the industry, businesses need to seamlessly connect with leading financial services partners.
When solutions to complex problems arise for businesses, this is where Salesforce steps in to help. Salesforce is the market leader of CRM and widely renowned for its Sales Cloud and Service Cloud CRM offerings. But many SME’s that I speak to are often unaware of the broader array of available solutions Salesforce offers. Even from a core CRM perspective, many SMEs in the financial services space aren’t immediately aware of the more tailored out of the box CRM offerings made especially for the likes of Wealth/Asset Management and Private Banking companies.
Financial Services Cloud
For Wealth/Asset Management & Private Banking businesses, there are many elements within Financial Services Cloud CRM that offer a lot of value right out of the box. Features such as specific data models, client and contact management hierarchies that are prebuilt. It comes with enhanced analytics components that provide tailored client alerts or allow you to segment by a client’s household. Advisors can easily automate routine processes for working with their client bases resulting in improved productivity. One significant benefit is that there is so much much out of the box with Financial Services Cloud, meaning there would only be slight tweaks here and there instead of doing a lot of custom work within the standard Sales or Service Cloud CRM. The preconfigured elements save a lot in the initial setup and configuration of the project, helping customers see the value of their investment in Salesforce and having a piece of mind that you have future-proofed their business.
I speak to many clients in the Wealth/Asset Management space and often, they don’t realise the breadth of the Salesforce ecosystem and broader product offering outside of CRM. Salesforce does offer portal style technology for a whole host of customer experience use cases. Things like FAQ pages on websites, a customer self-service portal with a unique login, customer onboarding, automated KYC or KYB and AML checks, partner management, etc. Through the use of the Community Cloud product set, businesses can manage all of these processes on Salesforce. Thanks to the open APIs, it is very straightforward to integrate other software providers like ID-Pal or Onfido to carry out the KYC/KYB/AML checks if necessary. Furthermore, when a business customizes and brands their Community Cloud Portal, with the use of an add-on called Mobile Publisher, companies will be able to turn their Community into a fully-fledged App available for their clients on the Apple App Store or Google Play Store.
Salesforce Inbox provides full Outlook/Gmail integration, allowing advisors to have all relevant emails and meetings attached to the right CRM record/account/contact adding to everyone’s productivity by eliminating manual data entry. The product has several other neat productivity tools like repeatable email templates, the ability to add tasks and contacts to Salesforce CRM straight from your inbox, and integration with your calendar to sync client meetings and ensure you never get double-booked. It also enhances overall compliance rates, ensuring that paper trails and correspondence with clients are tracked. This means that when audit time comes around, your business has that peace of mind that everything is covered.
Pardot harnesses all your Salesforce CRM and portal data and provides a full solution that improves and automates communication with your customers throughout the entire customer life cycle, from onboarding to ongoing portfolio management. You’ll be able to automate emails throughout the journey while also plugging in Social Studio to manage your various social accounts. Pardot works well in the onboarding journey as it helps keep the client engaged. In a real-life scenario, Client A may begin the onboarding process via the portal, but may have another meeting pop up, or may have to go and collect their children from the creche. Either way, Pardot helps keep clients engaged via automated reminder emails, reminding them to complete their onboarding, and keep them in the sales funnel.
Salesforce Shield is a trio of security tools that protect businesses with point-and-click tools that enhance trust, transparency, compliance, and governance across all business-critical apps. Shield was developed on the back of requests made by customers, specifically in the Financial Services industry. It provides the means to monitor app and data use, encrypt sensitive data, automate security policies, run compliance audits, etc. Specifically for Wealth/Asset Management and Private Banking, the Field Audit Trail module of Shield extends your CRM field audit trail from standard 18months up to 10years to be compliant with FCA regulations for retaining client data up to 7 years.
The Financial Services space has been a fascinating one to work in over the past few years. Now with Wealth/Asset Management and Private Banking moving into a period of significant digitization and change, it’s only going to get more exciting. Salesforce continues to enhance its current product offering with new features while also assessing what might be suitable acquisitions to add to the Customer 360 platform. With all of this in play, there is undoubtedly a clear benefit for Wealth/Asset Management businesses to strategically partner with a sophisticated technology provider like Salesforce going forward.
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About The Author
Carl Delaney works as an Account Executive for Salesforce in the Financial Services arena, helping them join the Salesforce platform and scale over time. He also started CarlDelaney.com to help SME’s to start lean, scale efficiently & grow their brand. His blog aims to share knowledge that may add value to start-up & scale-up businesses as they make their way through their journey.
Disclaimer: This guest author blog and the site (CarlDelaney.com) and all associated social channels/publications (inclusive of this LinkedIn Profile) was prepared or accomplished by Carl Delaney in his personal capacity. The opinions expressed in all articles/videos/shared content are the author’s own and do not reflect the view of any other employer that Carl Delaney is employed by or associated with. This publication and content is advisory only based on the experience of Carl Delaney. There is no guarantee of results financial or otherwise, as a result of following advice given or attending an event.