Starting a new job has its challenges, but with the right mindset and a sound strategy, COOs can make a difference for their wealth management organization.
Joining a new firm is exciting, and the move comes with its benefits.
The compensation, the perks, the prestige...
However, with great benefits come great responsibility.
You were brought in to take investment operations to the next level, but the challenges could be larger and more complex than you anticipated.
With the right attitude and a methodical approach, wealth management COOs can make meaningful, long-lasting contributions.
Starting a new job, there's a lot you have to deal with as COO:
... where to begin?
Recognize you can fix all these problems, just not all at once. If you try and tackle everything, you'll get easily flustered.
Come to terms with this, and it'll help you focus on what you can control, step by step.
So yes, take a deep breath.
After taking a deep breath, now you can think with a clear mind as you map out your strategy.
Identify the issues, establish priorities, and figure out what resources and personnel are needed to get the job done.
You can't get it all done at once, but if you lay out a strategy that gets you to the end goal, executive management and the board of directors will appreciate your vision.
They all know operations needs to improve, but either they don't know how to make those improvements or they don't have the time to do it. That's why you're here.
Other leaders will appreciate you doing the thinking and heavy lifting for them so they don't have to.
If you want to make a seriously positive impact, then you should focus on digitizing your entire operation.
Digital transformation is part of a long-term strategy, and it means doing away with manual, paper-based, and Excel-heavy processes.
It also means moving away from locally stored and disconnected systems.
With rapid advances in machine learning, systems integration, and widespread use of cloud technology, there are numerous benefits to going fully digital.
Faster processing, more accurate and easily accessible data, and increased organizational scalability are just a few examples.
According to one study, over half (55%) of wealth management firms say that digital transformation is their most strategic initiative.
In short, let technology do as much of the work as it can for you.
Digital transformation is a clear priority, but start with the low-hanging fruit. Get those early and small victories that build momentum.
For example, it can be as simple as scheduling daily or weekly meetings. If lack of communication and accountability are a problem, these meetings are opportunities to fix those issues.
Even if the workflows and deliverables are bigger problems and harder to fix, at least you are laying the foundation for real and positive change by getting the team together.
Joining a new organization, you have a vision and way of doing things.
But in order to successfully implement your vision, your new colleagues need to be on board.
You might change people's routines and understandings of how work gets done. Furthermore, you may disagree and get annoyed with some of the firm's current processes, but be mindful of how you critique.
Team members will need to change their ways, but they'll respond more favorably when they're treated with respect.
Don't underestimate psychology. When staff feels like you see them as part of the solution and not as part of the problem, they will buy in to your vision more quickly and step up their game.
In addition, your team will respond more favorably when they feel like their voices are heard. Be prepared to listen and consider their input when making decisions.
We mentioned above that you can fix all the problems, just not all at once.
There's one more point to add: you can fix all the problems, just not by yourself.
Some issues are so big that your team realistically cannot handle, and it's not worth the time and effort performing in house.
It could be reconciliation and performance reporting, accounts receivable and accounts payable, or implementing automation.
You need vendors who can do these things efficiently and at a lower cost. This is where a firm like Empaxis helps.
When evaluating vendors, consider qualifications and compliance credentials. For example, our ISO 22301 certification demonstrates Empaxis's ability to help wealth managers protect against business disruptions while improving their operational efficiency.
Starting a new job can be fun and exciting, but as a wealth management COO, the pressure will be on once the honeymoon period ends.
You're tasked with fixing things that predated your arrival, and the problems may be larger and more complex than you once thought.
You won't solve all problems at once. That's why it is important to take a deep breath, create a plan, think about digital transformation, and implement small changes at the beginning to build momentum.
In the process, be a good leader; you need the cooperation of your team to successfully implement the plans.
By following the above methods, you're on path to achieve your operational objectives.
Empaxis helps wealth managers improve their operation by providing middle- and back-office support, finance and accounting services, and systems integration solutions.
Schedule a consultation to learn more.