Understanding that technology is an enabler will allow firms to attract new clients, retain existing ones and ultimately prosper, is the view of John Motley, Director at IMVS. Millennials may well act as a catalyst as their digital expectations will need meeting.
Challenges: What do you see as the main technology and technology-related challenges for the wealth management sector through 2020?
Technology has definitely become the focus point of the wealth and asset management marketplace throughout 2019 and will continue to be the case throughout 2020 and beyond. Firms that cannot grasp this reality, could easily find themselves losing their clients as a result of standing still. We believe that wealth managers who understand the importance of technology as an enabler and do not view it as an additional cost to their bottom line will be the firms that attract new clients and their money as well as retaining the existing ones.
The IMVS target market is geared toward smaller to medium-sized firms. As a consequence, we find that the biggest prohibitory factor is their perceived perception of the additional cost to them to keep pace with technological advancements. In an attempt to overcome this perception, we strive to encourage our customers to engage with us collaboratively to provide them with cost-effective solutions whilst also improving their end client(s) overall digital experience.
Our customers probably do recognize that the wealth/asset management sector is transforming faster than ever over recent years. This is particularly the case with new money from millennials. They could transform many aspects of wealth/asset management in the future mainly because they are often more comfortable with digital technology than human wealth managers.
So the biggest challenge that we find in our particular target market is cost, not all necessarily all associated with keeping pace with technology and the general need to create digital solutions for the changing face of their client database, but also having to trade this off against absorbing costs for the continuing regulatory compliance conformity.
Opportunities: What do you see as the main technology and technology-related opportunities for the wealth management sector through 2020?
Implementation of digital channels will provide wealth/asset managers with greater access to new clients and will lead to a greater end customer experience. This, in turn, could equally help with avoiding attrition of existing customers. For us, the challenge is getting this message across to our existing customers and our target market and equally building their understanding of the amount of valuable data that is already available and not currently being used to target products and services.
There are obviously clear opportunities out there but wealth/asset management firms need to be better equipped to keep pace with the ever-changing regulatory marketplace and meeting the demands of their customers’ expectations. They need to get to grips with the fact that technology has to be recognized as an enabler to fulfill these given aspirations, not a prohibitor.
Market focus: When considering your wealth management clients and prospects, where are they currently focusing their technology investments and resources: clients, advisers/staff or their business infrastructure?
We do believe that the wealth/asset managers now accept that they have to invest first and foremost on client-focused initiatives, efforts around their staff or things more related to the broader business, like cloud or outsourcing initiatives. This equally applies to businesses like IMVS which is why we will continue in our efforts of a more collaborative approach so that everyone benefits from technological advancement and business sustainability.
In the latter half of 2019, we have seen a positive shift from our customer base. This is reflected in the installation of new IMVS modules, particularly in the area of digitalizing quarterly reporting requirements, client communication and proactive compliance monitoring..
Excite: When you look at the technology capabilities and resources now available to the wealth management sector, as a solution provider, what excites you most in 2020?
It is quite evident to us that at the higher end of the market that wealth management firms have been investing heavily in technology with the expectation that they will be able to offer better performance and an upturn in results. For our target market, their perception is that a more balanced approach is required as they do not accept that technology alone is the answer. Indeed, many of their clients are not comfortable with purely interacting through technology and still want a human interaction as well.
We are delighted that we have seen an upturn from our users with the implementation of additional IMVS modules. These steps in the right direction were achieved by direct collaboration between our customers and us as a software vendor. We believe very strongly that this collaborative approach is the best approach within our target market for the mutual benefit of all. It enables the software development to be in line with our customers and their client expectations, keep their systems compatible with the ever-increasing regulatory regime and importantly providing cost-effective solutions.
Your support: Finally, as a solution provider to the wealth management sector, what will you be doing in 2020 to help your clients and prospects meet their main technology and technology-related business needs?
We intend to continue with our drive for collaborative interaction with our existing customers, prospects and other third-party suppliers to ensure that our solutions continue to keep pace with ever demanding requirements of their clients and regulatory framework, thus enabling the longevity of our relationships.
We intend to keep on enhancing and expanding our digital modules and solutions to ensure that our customers and prospects are continuing to keep pace with technological advancement and adhering to the compliance and regulatory landscape.