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WealthTech Views Report: Looking into 2021 - the view from Contemi Solutions

With William Rouse, Director, Europe, Contemi Solutions

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by The Wealth Mosaic
| 11/03/2021 06:00:00

Company overview

Contemi Solutions is a leading technology and digital software solutions provider to the Asset & Wealth Management, Capital Markets and Insurance sectors across the UK, Europe, Asia, and Australia.

Contemi’s modern end-to-end technology solutions help financial services firms to: harness the power of innovation in the evolving world of cloud and digital platforms, cost effectively streamline operations and improve agility, and attract new growth.

With over two decades of experience in financial services transformation, Contemi’s expertise covers: digitalising Wealth Management lifecycle through its award-winning, cloud-based Wealth Intelligence (WIN) platform, end-to-end Insurance technology solutions and post-trade automation.

For the wealth management industry, Contemi Wealth Intelligence (WIN) offers a suite of fully integrated front, middle and back office solutions: Client Onboarding and Lifecycle Management, Client Portal, Portfolio Management, Trading & Order Management, Fees & Invoicing, Performance Measurement, Analytics and Reporting, Custody & Settlement, Corporate Actions Management and Banking & Cash Management.

The integrated Wealth Intelligence system provides investment and wealth managers all the tools they need to service and retain existing clients, remaining compliant during a time of significant regulatory change, whist facilitating significant improvements in efficiency, supporting their growth, and allowing them to ‘do more with less’.

Thought leader: William Rouse, Director, Europe, Contemi Solutions


William is solely responsible for new business development in both the UK and European territories. With the assistance of the solutions consultancy team his key focus is developing commercial and strategic partnerships across a multitude of areas within the financial services industry.

He visualises his goal as enhancing the way that financial services firms connect with their clients as well as helping them become more efficient, transparent, and dependable. With a proven ability to understand clients' needs and focus on building relationships for the longer term, William began his career in the financial services sector in October 2008 as a stockbroker. Since then, William has progressed through and held numerous roles within the asset management and banking space with a keen interest in wealth management.

Challenges: What do you see as the main technology and technology-related challenges for the wealth management sector through 2021?

We, along with our clients, prospects, and market peers, believe there are several technological challenges facing the industry. But the availability of the appropriate technology, as well as the associated costs, doesn’t rank as highly as you’d think- even during these tumultuous times. For now, we will focus on the five key challenges that we have observed and are hearing from the wealth management community:

1. Legacy technology transformation woes
We have seen that most organisations understand the need for digital transformation but despite the intent and obvious requirement, they find it incredibly difficult. Common themes tend to be around prioritisation, implementation and resource planning, as well as building a feasible business case for change and the associated organisational focus shift. Most importantly however is the identification of specific functions that require further enhancement or outsourcing.

2. Lack of clarity between evolving digital priorities
We have noticed that many firms find it challenging to prioritise on a continual basis and strike a delicate balance between often conflicting requirements amongst multiple areas within the business.

3. Selecting the right technology partner
The majority of wealth management firms have long acknowledged their struggle to select a technology partner that can support their business through technology change. Part of this issue is finding the right organisation that they trust enough to manage such a crucial component of the overall operation. Firms need to invest time and effort into a diligent vendor-selection process that holistically considers the most important functional, technical, and commercial aspects of a potential partnership.

4. Lack of integration
Integrating the latest technology solutions with aging legacy systems is a huge burden and even bigger risk. A typical result of this is information fragmentation across disparate systems, meaning different departments in the firm cannot freely access the data they need across key functional areas, such as onboarding, compliance, reporting etc. The use of multiple systems throughout the lifecycle is costly, timely and more importantly, can increase operational risk.

5. Transformation is undervalued
When engaging with clients, prospects, and other market participants, we notice that they continue to be overwhelmed with the pace of change within the industry and in turn, still tend to overlook technology. One potentially troublesome observation that we have made is that some companies risk adopting a digital strategy on the surface. They make the necessary changes to give clients the impression of a business ideally positioned for the digital age but underneath the bonnet and at the very core the use of aging platforms and the decision to ignore or downplay the need for core modernisation is still prevalent.

Clearly, the remedy is to initially evaluate digital opportunities worth pursuing and their impact in the short, medium, and long term. Then consider the impact on the resources required when delivering the aforementioned solution(s). The most obvious but sometimes overlooked step is to choose a partner that will grow alongside you through the alignment of interests as well as reduction of conflicts of interests. Other important traits to consider take the shape of a thorough and ongoing understanding and knowledge bank for relevant regulatory requirements, as well as a track record of successfully delivering solutions to the market.

Opportunities: What do you see as the main technology and technology-related opportunities for the wealth management sector through 2021?

From our standpoint and as a leading fintech provider, we see the rapid and ongoing need for firms to inject flexibility into their client interactions as well as day to day operations as an obvious opportunity during the current climate. The ever-growing need to embrace innovation in technology will always provide exciting opportunities for the wealth management community, this speaks for all areas of the operation, such as;

Leveraging data
Since wealth management is a data-rich domain, technology can be leveraged to draw valuable insights by collecting, storing, and analysing the reems of data available. Wealth managers can benefit from technology solutions like analytics, and other efficient digital tools and platforms to extend their reach, finetune their communication strategy, create tailored experiences, and differentiate the offerings for their clients.

Streamlining workflows
Advisors struggle with a number of applications on a daily basis, compliance teams spend hours and days on manual processes, and clients expect to have ‘on the go’ access to everything they need; technology provides managers with the opportunity to modernise and streamline these workflows. There are innovative solutions for all such issues, for example, onboarding system for digital applications, identity verification and compliance checks, client portal and apps for enhanced client touchpoints and intuitive reporting.

Hyper-personalised digital engagement
Technology provides wealth managers with an array of opportunities to spend more time enhancing their overall client service and less time on some of the more mundane tasks that fall under the firm’s regulatory and legal statutory obligations. Firms willing to invest wisely into technology to enhance the overall experience both from a client and internal user experience will benefit greatly in the longer term. Investing in these areas as well as data analytics tools and AI will instantly empower firms and enable the provision of clearer, better-informed insights into a client’s wealth universe.

Self-service/client empowerment
The personal connection between manager and client has always been of key strategic importance to wealth management firms. Fast forward to the present day and the only real change that we have noticed is the demand for greater transparency, enhanced service levels, as well as more tools and intuitive means of a truly tailored client experience. Whilst the one-on-one relationship is still incredibly important; most clients want fast and convenient self-service options via the digital devices of their choice. Technology empowers managers to give their clients that bespoke service offering with the enhanced tools to meet their every evolving demands.

Being a leading technology provider, we’re ideally positioned to help wealth management firms ensure the best possible solution for their clients, this is achieved through a robust, agile and ever-evolving product offering in line with a meticulously planned, client led product road map. With the right partner, wealth management firms will be ideally positioned to successfully leverage the opportunities that the digital era can offer.

Client 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?

Given some of the conversations that we have had over the last 6-12 months the recurring themes would suggest that firms are focused on all three areas. The front runner however would most definitely sit within the front office function, particularly around client onboarding, client lifecycle management and greater needs for digital client engagement. If there is one thing that can be said about the pandemic, it’s that it has forced the hand and fast-tracked many firms' digital strategies.

Front end
It is no secret that the need for an enhanced digital client experience is of paramount importance, especially with so much still unknown heading into 2021. Firms need to focus on securing as many touchpoints with their client’s as possible and that means arming themselves with the technological solutions and building a greater digital presence through tools like client portal and client onboarding. Enhancing the client experience has never been so crucial in order to retain as well as win new business.

Middle & Back Office
Whilst the focus is predominantly front office client engagement based, there has also been a common trend whereby firms are using this time to review the operating model as a whole and that includes key areas such as the middle and back-office functions. The age-old debate of moving to an outsourced model or indeed simply utilising market-leading technologies to automate specific areas within the organisation, is still very relevant and hotly contested. Being a provider that can support both models has enabled us to capture requirements at a granular level for a multitude of target operating models and evolving our solution with agility at the forefront of our longer-term product roadmap.

There has most certainly been a shift in mindset towards cloud-based solutions, traditionally those who operated an 'on premise' model for cyber-security purposes are much more open to deploying cloud solutions; largely due to remote work mandates.

While there remains various functions and reasons to invest in technology, in 2021, wealth managers will look to source modular, future-proof solutions to achieve operational efficiency and reduce cost in a timely manner.

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 2021?

It is fair to say that 2020 has not been without its challenges. One prominent theme that has been pretty consistent throughout however is firms’ abilities to learn, evolve, adapt and ultimately overcome whatever hurdles have come their way. We believe that 2021 won’t be smooth sailing for these organisations and those ideally positioned with the right technology partner will be in a strong position to not merely survive in this climate but ultimately thrive. As a cloud-based, modular solutions provider to the wealth management community, we’re excited to see an accelerated adoption of technology and new digital capabilities in this space, which was long overdue.

Legacy retirement
Those who were behind the curve in their deployment of secure and scalable cloud-based solutions pre-COVID have experienced business continuity challenges and are now ready to accelerate their migration to the Cloud. We have noticed that wealth managers are now preparing for what comes next, reviewing the technological implications and setting priorities to ensure that they’re agile enough to accommodate a host of potential eventualities.

We are also seeing a significant interest in the industry for agile technology partners and solutions that could operate at the speed of the market and safeguard business growth, even in times of extreme volatility. We are excited to see agility, communication, and integration carrying the most weight in the digital transformation journey.

Accelerated digitisation
The pandemic has most definitely altered, or in some instances fast tracked, technological priorities in wealth management. Companies have accelerated the introduction of digital collaboration tools as well the introduction of e-signatures, digital KYC, AML, and onboarding. Firms are still on a journey of relieving their clients from the burden of rafts of account opening forms and paper-based suitability documents. The thinking has now shifted from organisational priorities to “how do we make this easier for the client, which, in turn, will ultimately serve to benefit firms in the longer. Going forward, investing in technologies will be the most obvious way to gain a competitive advantage in the very near future and the longer term.

Data, Analytics & AI Readiness
There has most certainly been a shift in attitude towards the true power of data (when used correctly of course), analytics (enabling firms to use their data to its fullest potential) and artificial intelligence. The importance of being able to quickly analyse and then respond to business requirements in turbulent times is of paramount importance. We’re excited to see this change where those who would simply react instead of forecast are slowly but surely coming round to the essential need to think ahead using the tools and technologies that are readily available to them.

The future of wealth management is digital, and it is exciting to see the industry finally embracing it going into 2021.

Focus for 2021: As a solution provider to the wealth management sector, what will you be doing in 2021 to help your clients and prospects meet their main technology and technology-related business needs?

One of the key factors that we consider and keep a close eye on when developing our technologies is evaluating the market trends, issues and developments. Given the fact that this is crucial to helping our clients continue to grow, compete, and succeed in an increasingly more complex and competitive business environment, and allowing them to ‘do more with less’. In 2021 that means:

Expanding the functionality of our next-generation
Onboarding and Client lifecycle Management System to ensure that wealth managers cover all their business and compliance needs on a modern and user-intuitive digital front-end, whilst digitising the key processes between the relationship manager and his clients.

Analytics is going to be a key focus for us too
Our award-winning analytics solution can empower wealth managers with the necessary means to visualise their business-critical data in a way that is simple, intuitive and in turn, easy to digest. Data analytics will play a huge role in wealth management throughout 2021 and beyond whether it’s gaining insights on current business performance, projected future performance, individual manager or branch performance and future forecasting or very simply compliance monitoring, the ability to turn otherwise complex data patterns into easily digestible forecasts and visualizations will be a necessity.

Further expand the capabilities of our modern Wealth Intelligence (WIN) platform which delivers end-to-end wealth management solutions - from flexible customer-facing services, to robust and market-leading middle and back-office solutions. We are now in a very strong position and maintaining our healthy lead over our competition will be our priority. We intend to achieve this through the constant engagement with our clients and on-going product investment.

Overall the wealth management community has been, and is still, on a digital drive. The need for the so called “bells and whistles” is more apparent than ever, particularly with regards to client engagement and client retention. Client service levels have never been held under such scrutiny and in order for managers to truly focus on that critical part of the operation, they need to automate in order to truly focus on meeting the ever-evolving needs of their clients. At Contemi, we will continue to evolve our existing solutions to aid our clients in achieving operational scalability, seamless client and adviser engagement and experience in a cost-effective manner.

This article is from The Wealth Mosaic's WealthTech Views: Looking into 2021 Report. Access the full report here.