Alan Cole, Head of Cloud and Operations at JHC Financial
Faced with tighter regulations and changing customer needs, over the last decade Wealth Managers have not had it easy – but with the development of new technologies, many have been able to create efficiencies, reduce costs and shrink operational risk.
In 2020, add a global pandemic into the mix, however, and technology becomes vital to their very survival; the need for increased agility with delivery at pace, scalability for business growth and demand for remote accessibility means the need to make full use of the Cloud has never been greater.
And yet, traditionally, Wealth Managers have been slow to the benefits that Cloud computing has to offer. But in a Covid-19 world, is that all about to change?
A vital differentiator
Coronavirus presents challenges for us all; but for those Wealth Managers that have transitioned their technology infrastructure to the Cloud, continuing to run operations from home should not be one of them. For those that haven’t, the enforced lockdown is set to create a huge, yet avoidable, burden.
Despite recent digital disruption in wealth management, it’s no secret that the adoption of cloud services has been slow across the industry. Why? Broadly speaking, we can put this down to the fact that wealth managers simply don’t value incorporating new technologies like Cloud as highly as client facing issues such as improving the customer experience and omni-channel access, with 63% prioritising the former compared to just 50% ranking Cloud as the most important future digital investment area and third overall by wealth managers, as found in an industry report by EY.
However, in the current climate, it will be very easy to see who has invested in the right technology and those who remain stuck with old, legacy technology and IT infrastructure. Whilst the Cloud can significantly reduce costs, firms with a high level of Cloud maturity in today’s world will also have the ability to deploy scalable, secure and agile solutions to crucially deliver business continuity amidst current market uncertainty.
The alternative? Existing risks become heightened in the current climate, and those without a mature Cloud strategy may well be signing themselves up for less flexibility, more outages, limited collaboration, greater administrative burden, less support and lower cash flow, not to mention significant operational, reputational and financial risk.
Let’s face it: Wealth Managers’ time is better spent elsewhere
With face-to-face meetings postponed and increasing levels of market instability, Wealth Managers need to be focusing their time and resources on reassuring clients now more than ever.
Adapting to the new reality, unable to meet face-to-face many wealth managers have focused on improving client communication via video conferencing tools. Whilst seamless client communication at this level is crucial, the benefits of Zoom versus Google Hangout are meaningless if Wealth Managers don’t back this up with technology that enables you to remotely communicate portfolio performance, analysis and reporting at a much more sophisticated level.
Cloud technology also eases the IT burden so managers have more time to concentrate on revenue driving activities, enabling Wealth Managers to reallocate time and cost that would be otherwise spent on manual, back-office processes on higher-value tasks. As a result, the end investor experiences the same level of service that they have come to expect and trust from their Wealth Manager and feels reassured that, despite uncertainty, things are running business as usual.
Cloud technology will drive the future of your business, if you let it
To compete in today’s market, your business needs to be agile. You need to be able to take advantage of opportunities, pay only for what you use and recover from any market volatility more quickly than ever – operating on premise makes this a much more difficult proposition.Whilst the future is uncertain, businesses who are acting now to switch to the Cloud are the ones creating the agility and space to become creative, adapt and grow.
In our industry, fast access to software innovation has typically been a cost or regulatory challenge for Wealth Managers. However, in today’s climate, the continuous delivery and integration of highly available, cost effective and secure technology solutions via Cloud is not only possible but paramount to the survival of businesses.
Will Covid-19 be the catalyst for greater moves within wealth management towards Cloud services? Whilst uncertainty is fast becoming the new normal, one thing is clear: those that have invested in strengthening their key business supporting software, cyber security and technology via the Cloud will be managing well in this strange new world.