Wealth Management

Full Guide to Family Wealth Management Software: Financial Advisor Tools

11 min read

How to transform family wealth management with the right technology?

It is becoming more apparent each day how vital efficient and user-friendly technology is, particularly in advanced wealth management software, for managing and growing clients' wealth. This holds true for all investors but even more so for wealth management companies that oversee large and often multifaceted portfolios. One key pain point for wealth managers has been coordinating and keeping track of many investments, assets, taxes, and estate plans. Fortunately, sophisticated software solutions offer a comprehensive, seamless, and stress-free way to manage these.

Let's delve into one of the most prominent features of financial advisor tools for wealth management - the dashboard feature.

Family Wealth Management Software Features: Embrace Data Analytics to Navigate Change

Annually, Gartner conducts a survey to assess the disparity between the perceived importance of various initiatives and the confidence in achieving success in those areas among wealth management leaders.

Recently, it was revealed that the most significant gaps lie in technology-related initiatives aimed at enhancing advisor and client experiences. The survey results showed a striking contrast wherein 69 percent of respondents recognized the importance of and the missed opportunity to leverage data, while only 29 percent felt confident about their success in utilizing data to benefit clients and streamline processes. Clearly, there is significant scope for improvement in this area.

Read more: Wealth Management Data: Benefits of Market Data Integration and Analytics

The Deloitte report, 10 Disruptive Trends in Wealth Management, emphasizes the substantial transformations unfolding in the sector. According to the report, the forces at play include a new generation of investors molded by advanced technologies, experiences from the financial crisis, and a shift in attitudes and preferences. The report identifies nine distinctive mentalities of this new investor: unique focus, the desire for control, independence, unlimited access, a blend of digital and personal interaction, peer wisdom, skepticism towards authority, risk seen purely as a downside, and refusal to accept second-rate investments.

As the industry is being uprooted, there are primary disruptors now and in the future. These include the newly emerging generation of investors, the potential of data, new competitive frameworks involving more digital and tailor-made business models, the surge in robo-advisors, and the wealth transfer disrupting traditional client-advisor relationships. Established firms facing challenges from rising contenders, increasing regulatory burdens, burgeoning risk-related costs, and vast assets under management (AUM) requiring data management, are compelled to re-evaluate their business model's longevity. They must contemplate the need and timeframe to integrate digital technologies to foster advisor-client collaborations.

In managing these disruptions, one thing is certain: analytics offers a robust solution to enhance client engagement, solidify relationships, and better manage risks. Even firms that haven't fully transitioned to digital platforms are expected to make significant strides in the coming years. Asset and wealth management companies that delve into data analytics will mature in their understanding and use of data. They will foster a culture of data-driven decision-making that will benefit clients and the business, even during turbulent times.

Financial Advisor Tools: Three Dashboards to Improve Risk Management, Advisor Productivity, and Client Experiences

Market risk management dashboard

This dashboard is a valuable resource for advisors, risk managers, and portfolio managers to assess systemic risks in the trading market. This dashboard allows users to gain insight into historical patterns and market volatility stemming from various events, such as recessions, economic downturns, and political developments.

With this analysis, managers and advisors can judiciously determine whether to halt trading or adopt risk-mitigation strategies. These strategic measures could include investing in put options, focusing on unaffected securities, or opting for less volatile index funds. Taking swift and effective action allows them to build trust with their clients, enhance their performance, and ensure their institution's profitability.

Business performance tracking dashboard

In continuously fluctuating markets, wealth and asset management leaders are perpetually concerned about business health and the profitability of clients and the business. This dashboard provides concise and transparent tracking of key performance indicators (KPIs). It offers the flexibility to filter by various metrics such as revenue, sales, net new money, and assets under management (AUM).

Simultaneously, this dashboard allows for comparative performance analysis over varying periods – be it year-over-year, quarter-over-quarter, or month-over-month. Also, it provides the option to filter performance by advisor, product, and geographical location (state or region). Whether markets are volatile or stable, this tool offers essential data-based insights to aid strategic decision-making.

Equity markets screener dashboard

When advisors craft a portfolio for existing or potential clients or plan a new fund, this dashboard is a helpful tool providing a side-by-side comparison of various investments. This tool allows for a detailed examination of factors such as year-over-year growth to identify either high-return or cumulative-return investments that can significantly enhance a portfolio or are worth considering for a new product.

Read more: Transparent Portfolios: Asset Breakdown and Risk Control in WealthTech Solutions

The data can also be filtered industry-wise, enabling smarter and more diverse investment decisions. Clients across generations, whether baby boomers, millennials, or high-net-worth individuals, are focused on cultivating a portfolio that yields robust returns immediately and over time. This dashboard proves valuable to stay updated on the market's dynamic players and deciding which investments are apt to incorporate into your client's investment blend.

Dashboards come with numerous benefits for better decision-making and efficiency for wealth advisors, so let’s get into each one:

  • Consolidated overview. Dashboards provide a close view of all relevant financial data. This helps advisors understand the client's financial state without needing to sift through numerous documents or databases.
  • Efficient data visualization. Visual presentations of data in graphs, charts, and tables allow advisors to easily interpret complex financial information. This aids in identifying trends, spotting anomalies, and deciphering patterns in the data.
  • Tracking investment performance. With customizable widgets and interactive charts, family dashboards enable users to track investment performance, monitor risks, and assess the effectiveness of wealth management strategies. They offer a comprehensive picture of financial metrics, empowering informed decision-making and strategic planning.
  • Real-time updates. Dashboards offer live updates through real-time data feeds, ensuring the information viewed is always up-to-date. This timeliness is necessary for making accurate and timely investment decisions.
  • Customization. The ability to customize dashboards according to the individual requirements of each client is a boon for advisors. It allows for client-specific views and reports, ensuring that analysis is always focused and relevant.
  • Predictive analysis. Some dashboards integrate AI and machine learning to offer predictive analysis, which can be instrumental in proactively identifying trends and making informed, future-focused decisions.

By leveraging the power of family dashboards within wealth management software, wealth managers optimize financial operations, improve decision-making, and streamline processes.

The Challenges of Operating Portfolio Dashboards Today

Modern portfolio dashboards face various challenges driven by the need for real-time decision-making and the increasing complexities associated with the financial services industry. Let's examine the significant challenges in operating these wealth management dashboards.

Fast, lock-free transactions. Portfolio dashboards must guarantee fast, lock-free transactions to avoid delays and inaccuracies in data processing. Traditional systems often fail to meet these requirements, resulting in data bottlenecks and insufficient responsiveness.

Scalable data processing. A wealth management dashboard must manage data from various sources like account records, stock market updates, and even video feeds, requiring a scalable data processing capability. Conventional systems can struggle to cope with the demands of modern financial data.

Rapid query responses. Portfolio dashboards should provide fast response times to user queries from applications, BI tools, or ad-hoc queries. The capability to answer queries within milliseconds is critical for optimal user experience and staying competitive in the market.

High concurrency. Concurrency is a crucial requirement for multi-tenant dashboards – the platform should efficiently support many customers simultaneously, with no lags or delays. As market demands change and user activities increase, the scalability and performance of portfolio dashboards must remain stable.

SQL-compliant. Wealth management dashboards must adhere to SQL compliance to ensure seamless communication between messaging systems and data stores. Non-SQL systems can pose challenges in data integration and impose heavy development burdens on application developers, BI tool providers, and end-users.

Adjusting to a growing user base. As the number of high-net-worth individuals increases, alongside the surge in "digital natives," more users demand constant access and interaction. These factors push wealth management divisions to adapt to "webscale" problems, ensuring that the platform can effectively cater to the growing user base without sacrificing performance or quality.

Meeting future requirements. Innovation in predictive analytics, machine learning, and AI continues to place further demands on portfolio dashboards' capabilities. As modern analytics tools distinguish themselves through faster processing times and better responsiveness, there is increased pressure on provider platforms to keep pace with these advancements.

Read more: AI and Machine Learning in Wealth Management: Use Cases & Opportunities

Essentials and Technical Infrastructure of a Portfolio Dashboard Platform

Providing portfolio management possibilities is a two-stage process: it starts with designing an interactive portfolio dashboard platform and concludes by granting access to those platforms to the respective individuals and families.

Conceptualize a portfolio dashboard solution as a sophisticated command center - a platform that can assimilate and display various financial information flows. Considering clients of a financial company are likely to have a diverse and broad plethora of investments, this platform needs to be agile and responsive. Moreover, the ever-changing asset allocations resulting from advanced trading strategies aimed at maximizing returns and minimizing risks necessitate this platform's ability to adapt effectively and be agile.

Therefore, the platform must be capable of incorporating all applicable financial data promptly and accurately, sans any delay or discrepancies. For instance, a client may have invested in the financial company's index fund, a comprehensive package of various individual investments. The platform should be capable of calculating fluctuating values and assessing risks associated with the invested index promptly and precisely.

Simultaneously, the platform needs to be built with multi-tenant functionality in mind. In other words, it should be designed to offer simultaneous, seamless services to multiple customers efficiently and smoothly, without lags, delays, or barriers.

Traditional software architectures may encounter several obstacles in fulfilling such demanding requirements. A common practice involves one system being delegated for data assimilation, often processed in batch mode, which results in time delays. Following this, an extract, transform, and load (ETL) process is used to relocate the data to a data warehouse system that supports applications, business intelligence (BI) tools, and personalized queries.

Notably, this chain of processes detaches the data warehouse from the incoming data, resulting in a delay that could span several minutes to even multiple hours. These delays can be quite detrimental in a financial ecosystem where every fraction of a second can tip the scales toward a competitive advantage.

Digital Optimization Versus Digital Business Transformation

Instead of attempting to tackle everything at once, wealth management leaders should concentrate on areas that offer the most business value and lay the groundwork for scaling digital initiatives. We recommend focusing on solutions addressing today's pressing business challenges to gather support to shape the digital architecture of the future. The following technology areas will likely have the most significant impact on delivering value and scaling:

  • Advisor-supporting technology
  • Client-facing tools
  • Data and workflow initiatives

Incorporate advisor-supporting technologies into digital platforms

Although technology is essential in digital business transformation, it ultimately serves as a tool to support projects driving business value. Based on Gartner's most recent survey of executive priorities, industry leaders primarily address the following four challenges:

  1. Internal technologies (e.g., financial advisor tools, CRM, risk management) do not meet firm requirements.
  2. Client-facing technologies (e.g., client portals, wealth management reporting software, and channels) do not meet firm requirements or clients' needs.
  3. Personalizing the client experience at scale is challenging.
  4. Firms lack opportunities to leverage data for improved client experiences or process optimization.

Read more: Investor Relationship Management Software: More than Just a CRM

While companies focus heavily on client experience, advisors—one of wealth management firms' most valuable assets—experience challenges from these issues. External factors such as fee erosion, automation, emerging threats, regulatory burdens, and others make it harder for advisors to demonstrate their value proposition. To distinguish themselves from the competition, advisors must transition from backward-looking, performance-focused asset allocators to goal-based, forward-looking planners who offer personalized advice and solutions.

Besides, advisors cannot compete with emerging fintech players and existing technology-focused competitors if they rely on unoptimized legacy platforms or obsolete software solutions. Moreover, they cannot be efficient if they must enter data into multiple redundant solutions or switch between screens to deliver value to clients.

Traditionally, client-facing technology has been quite unilateral—where advisors use the tool to present to clients, but the clients couldn't reciprocate or control the experience. Besides, these offerings are often static. Astonishingly, even today, some firms do not provide a client-facing portal for their high-net-worth (HNW) and ultra-high-net-worth (UHNW) clients. Client-facing portals, where they exist, are typically rigid, leading to infrequent usage by clients.

Although most clients may not seek self-service, they may still desire a digital experience:

  • HNW clients favor executing various tasks online.
  • HNW and UHNW clients are more conversant with and likely to utilize digital advisory tools than less wealthy clients.
  • HNW clients expect their advisors to utilize cutting-edge technology.

Clients are looking for a cooperative digital experience with their wealth management firm, where the advisor may lead interactions, but the client can participate and exert varying levels of control. Many firms lack both self-service capabilities and a shared digital experience. However, many are aware of their shortcomings. The profitability diagnostic assessment displays that 88% of surveyed executives did not consider their client portals of high quality concerning their applicability to client interactions with advisors and useful for making financial decisions.

For addressing other significant issues, such as internal technologies (including advisor tools, and CRM) not matching firm requirements or difficulty personalizing client experience at scale, firms must prioritize addressing immediate and upcoming advisor and client needs. It also assists in boosting future empathetic capabilities.

Embrace digital tools that foster collaboration

To cater to the immediate needs of advisors and clients, firms should explore digital tools that bolster collaboration. These tools might include client vaults, robo-advisors, video conferencing, and others that improve advisor-client collaboration. Many of these solutions are already available; by tackling these pain points, firms can significantly enhance digital optimization within their organizations.

Nevertheless, for digital transformation, firms need to contemplate how these cooperative solutions meet client needs and integrate into the broader ecosystem that supports the client. This could involve social media platforms, fintech platforms, or non-financial services entities like retailers and membership organizations. Firms also need to consider wearables and other IoT devices, natural language processing (NLP) to cater to existing AI client needs, and ways to broaden limited solutions such as robo-advisors to HNW and UHNW clients.

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Focus on the broader ecosystem and consumer technology use allows wealth management leaders to cater to digital clients' any-device, any-channel, anytime preferences. It can also reveal potential new revenue streams as firms explore partnerships, new business models, and new products built on the foundation of digital collaborative tools.

Tackling data architecture challenges that hinder digital transformation

The boundary between advisor-supporting resources and client-facing technologies is gradually dissolving. Wealth firms, via APIs or microservices, are making portions of their core advisor desktop services accessible to clients. The most effective solutions to date allow clients to enhance their collaboration with advisors or efficiently update information, such as financial planning modules, performance-reporting tools, and CRM capabilities.

Concurrently, clients are divulging more data to advisors via robo-advisor platforms, social media platforms, fintech collaborations, etc. Advisors, however, require a more comprehensive view to satisfy client needs. The lack of standard data norms makes seamless integration of all these systems challenging, thereby complicating the creation of the desired digital experience for advisors and clients. This problem isn't limited to the front office. Data from advisor-client interactions must flow into middle and back-office systems for firms to act on the advice.

Firms should prioritize addressing the most pressing data issues to foster digital transformation acceptance. We previously discussed integrating advisor desktops to save time and gain digital acceptance from advisors, enhancing collaborative tools, and integrating into a broader ecosystem to pave the way for client adoption and stickiness. Similarly, firms should identify and address the most pressing data issues to lay the groundwork for future transformation.

Address data issues that frequently hamper the advisor-client relationship

At its heart, wealth management is propelled by the advisor-client relationship. However, common pain points include:

  • Internal data aggregation for client relationship improvement
  • External investment data aggregation for performance reporting
  • External financial data aggregation for holistic planning
  • Client and account onboarding

Hence, client data aggregation should be a focal point for wealth management executives striving to address current issues related to the lack of clear visibility of client assets, thereby failing to provide the most actionable advice. Firms must focus on data aggregation strategies and technology consolidation to improve this experience.

However, visualizing data isn't the only challenge. Firms also grapple with data migration and its usage for actionable business analytics. Tackling these data and workflow issues will resolve today's pain points and prepare the data for use with AI, RPA, and other efficiency-boosting solutions. This will further promote advisor, client, and firm buy-in for digital transformation.

Furthermore, the data will be better positioned for sharing within a broad ecosystem of fintechs, financial service firms, and other ecosystem members. Such structured analytics, data, and feeds could be monetized and opened up to ecosystem partners to generate a new revenue stream.

Final Thoughts

Integrating advanced financial advisor tools, particularly family dashboards for better data visualization and management provides efficiency, data accuracy, and client satisfaction. With instant access to financial information through dashboards, clients improve their decision-making and have better economic outcomes.

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