4 Steps to Get Started with Automation in Wealth Management

Automation in wealth management is a key driver of change in the financial advisory industry.
  • Automation is enabling wealth managers to shift from transaction-based business models to relationship-based business models.
  • The right automation tools can save 2-3 hours of work per day.
  • Adding automation in wealth management processes can position your firm as a customer experience leader, fueling exponential growth according to recent research.

How much time could you save with automation? A survey conducted by WorkMarket, a subsidiary of ADP, found that 53% of employees estimated that they could trim an average of 2 hours per shift in busy work with automation. 

And business leaders estimated that number closer to 3 hours per day for their own workloads, indicating that companies can save between 20 and 30 labor hours per FTE/month–or roughly one-quarter of your current payroll. Is that significant enough to get your attention?

What is Automation in Wealth Management?

Automation is a process that uses technology to automatically complete tasks without human intervention. And in this digital era, automated processes are increasingly ubiquitous. At the same time, wealth managers are facing more pressure to provide a higher quality client experience while simultaneously reducing costs and mitigating risks. 

Benefits of automation in wealth management:

  • Save Time & Money
  • Reduce Errors
  • Maintain Compliance
  • Improve the Client Experience

Why You Need to Get Smart About Adopting Automation Today

Wealth managers might arbitrarily discount the amount of work that can be automated.

Sure, wealth management is heavily focused on managing client relationships and specifically on providing niche advisory services that might seem ill-suited for automation.

But did you know that 60-70% of the work that relationship managers perform isn’t advisory at all? There is a lot of work that goes into administrative burden, including reconciliation, billing and fees calculation, and compliance management.

Many of these tasks can easily be automated, saving wealth managers time and money while enabling them to provide more personalized services and build stronger client relationships. 

According to Jon Picoult, founder of Watermark Consulting, there is a significant and growing gap between wealth management firms that focus on the client experience and those that do not. 

Use Automation to Overcome Your Biggest  Challenges

The administrative side of wealth management is filled with a variety of tedious processes like research, pre-advisory risk analysis, and analytics–all necessary tasks in the interest of servicing clients and all equally draining on your resources.

These administrative tasks are prime opportunities to add automation into the mix, reducing the workload of your advisory team and their support staff. The biggest obstacle standing in the way is often the cost (and associated risks) of adopting new technology.

Robotic Process Automation (RPA) can provide a simple solution that enables efficiency, often without incurring major changes to your technology infrastructure. This automation provides improved data accuracy, faster processing times, and a clear audit trail with end-to-end visibility.

With RPA technology, you can:

  • Automate Data Entry
  • Trigger Workflows
  • Systematize Communication
  • Extract Data & Generate Reports
  • Simplify Billing

Step-by-Step: How to Get Started with RPA

The possibilities to streamline and save with automation are seemingly endless. The power of automation can be thrilling, but setting it up can also quickly become overwhelming. We recommend that you start small and grow one step at a time. Here is a quick guide to get you started:

1. Discover Opportunities for Automation

Check out up to 20 different workflows to automate in our Automation Guide.

Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is an excellent way to save time on repeatable, predictable tasks. Take a moment to think about some of the manual tasks that you complete. How many of those tasks could be automated?

Automation can:

  • Read and Filter Emails
  • Extract Data from Statements & Input in Spreadsheets
  • Translate Custodian Data
  • Conduct Quality Assurance Checks
  • And More

The first step in adding automation to your workflows is to brainstorm the possible applications based on your unique workflows. This discovery process typically begins with unstructured ideation and may progress to a detailed work study intended to gather analytics on where your company spends the most time.

2. Create an Automation Plan

The next step is to set automation goals. This leg of your digital transformation can quickly get out of scope as your team begins to see new possibilities. Ernst & Young found that between 30-50% of RPA projects fail–mostly due to a lack of effective planning.

There are a number of implications to consider when adding automation to your workflow; however, proper planning and scale can mitigate the risks of failure. In the planning stage, here is what you need to know:

  • What tasks will be automated?
  • Who are the stakeholders?
  • What key performance indicator(s) measures each task?
  • What is the current-state (pre-automation) performance?
  • What is the goal (post-automation performance)?
  • What are the risks?
  • How will these automations impact workflow processes?
  • What technologies do you need to achieve these automations?
  • What do your people need to adopt these automations?
  • Who can help?

Putting a plan together before you begin consulting potential RPA partners will help you make business decisions based on needs rather than on possibilities. This keeps your automation plan rooted in business strategy, serving as a charter to keep the automation project on course from start to finish.

Putting a plan together before you begin consulting potential RPA partners will help you make business decisions based on needs rather than on possibilities. This keeps your automation plan rooted in business strategy, serving as a charter to keep the automation project on course from start to finish.

Learn More: 3 Reasons Financial Bots Fail (and What Advisors Can Do)

3. Choose an Automation Partner

Once you know what you need, it’s time to find the right automation solution. The world of technology is full of options, but it’s easy to get overwhelmed making a decision.

Begin your search by identifying the providers that can offer the type(s) of automation that you are considering.

Then, narrow your list to the top 3-5 providers based on expertise and reputation. With these providers, dig into their approach. Spend some time reading their case studies and examining their processes and priorities so that when you meet with them, you are prepared to ask the right questions.

Look for information on how the provider supports:

  • Risk-Based Functional Testing
  • Security Compliance
  • Regulatory Compliance
  • Quality Control 
  • Mission-Critical Task Automation
  • Change Control Processes & Documentation
  • Onboarding & Implementation Process
  • Integration with Existing Systems
  • Scalability and Flexibility

Next, schedule a time to meet with each of your top choices and talk through your questions so that you and your team can make an informed decision, choosing the right wealth management automation partner for your firm.

Empaxis simplifies the process of adding automation in wealth management workflows. Our bots are rigorously tested for quality control using the Six Sigma framework with the flexibility to adapt quality testing to meet your specific function and compliance needs. 

4. Implement an Automation Solution

The final step to get started with automation in wealth management is simply to implement your solution.  Your partner will collaborate with you to create a roadmap for implementation that addresses specific action items to address pre- and post-automation. 

Depending on the project, this might include tasks like employee training, compliance reviews, pilot program implementation, and review, or an analytical review of cost versus benefits. Generally speaking, more complex automation will require more intensive pre- and post-automation support. If you are just getting started with automation in wealth management, start small and build from there. 

The Bottom Line–Automation Doesn’t Have to Be Intimidating

New technology–especially in a field like wealth management, where many companies have a strong motivation to play it safe–can be intimidating. The potential cost-savings are significant, and with some common sense planning and governance, the risk can be minimal. 

Robotic Process Automation can save wealth managers 2-3 hours per day of data entry and simple communication tasks, enabling them to spend more time focused on nurturing client relationships that drive loyalty. With the right partner, you can take advantage of RPA without a big investment in changing your technology infrastructure.

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