Operational Excellence

MARCH 26-28, 2024 | AUSTIN, TX

Thank you for a terrific Roundtable!


  1. Today, operational processes on their own are not a competitive advantage. Trained, “expert” servicing associates and how they develop and maintain relationships with advisors are a competitive advantage. These relationships are built on successful execution and resolutions and investor customer satisfaction for the advisors. And one step more is to “follow the money” and deliver those areas/product lines with the best processes and technology to make doing business easy (effective and efficient) for advisors and investor customers. Using automation to improve productivity of these resources enables them to add more value
  2. Advisor transitions are still largely paper driven, manual, and under FINRA’s conflict of interest radar. The process requires a significant amount of handholding, brute force manual execution, and education, education, and more education. A benefit of the manual process is the shoulder-toshoulder team building required for the heavy lift experience. So, while wealth firms are executing, attracting, and onboarding satisfied advisors and their investor customers there is always room for improvement. Future improvements need to be independent of broker-deals to limit regulatory exposure. Also, the administrative component and training component can be improved helping enterprise wealth firms bring on advisors to better scale. Prioritizing key customers and providing advisors with GDC transition insight align advisors with the effort.
  3. Artificial Intelligence (AI) is the loud buzz phrase of the year. A handful of wealth firms are dipping their toes into different tactical uses of AI. However, most wealth firms do not have AI governance teams, effective deployment/prioritization/risk strategies, lack dedicated resources, and are cautious due to security, regulations, and desire to not be the first mover. This includes enterprise LLM customized security and owning your own data independent of GPTs. Wealth firms are looking for provider firms to lead the charge on the direction and uses of AI. Additionally, wealth firms should maximize AI’s benefits, and firm data needs to evolve and improve hygiene.
  4. Many firms are struggling with their data management strategy. “Data the new gold,” wealth firms need to build more sophisticated data models. No longer is an operational books and records data model enough. Wealth firms need to turn data into actional and useful information. Now advisors and customers are expecting wealth firms to gather, manage and present functionable data. 61% of advisors are struggling with how to summarize their data to deliver quality measurements / trends. The way the firm collects, aggregates, and manages data needs to evolve. Currently, the best descriptor for the wealth firm data management state is “a sports car on a bumpy dirt road.”
  5. Doing nothing makes us feel safe and comfortable, but what is the cost? By not moving, some firms are implicitly taking an “If it ain’t broke why fix it approach.” However, there is an opportunity cost in holding the status quo. Taking a “why-based” look at organizational processes to identify points of improvement can help identify opportunities to redeploy resources if you were not doing what you are doing right now and what would the impact to your firm be of the new work? Making incremental changes driven by a well thought out strategy. can change the game
  6. Are we selecting the “right” technology – do our clients, (both wealth firms and investor clients) want what we are delivering? Are we overthinking what advisors want and need? Are we underthinking what investor customers experience and what they need when it comes to a delivered technology experience? When is the right time to engage the advisors and / or investor customers, if at all? Is this true for all users equally, or are segmentation strategies by age, business activity level, and technology acumen.
  7. Changes in technology require an organizational change management mindset, culture, and process starting from the top down. This includes cost/benefit, product life cycle impacts, vendor compatibility, and service changes, and advisor stack impacts. Technology on its own does not solve problems. Instead, what matters is how technology fits into a firm’s enterprises eco-system. How are existing and future processes enhanced by the technology change? How are technologies integrated into a horizontal data and experience framework? How is technology helping a wealth firm scale better? What is the pre/post impact on the home office, advisors and investor customers?
  8. Initial low hanging fruit where wealth firms see AI helping their firms include eliminating NIGOs,marketing reviews, data movement and cleansing, reorganizing standard operating procedures, and supporting house/orphan accounts to provide a sampling.
  9. Wealth firms’ data mining capabilities are in their infancy. Most wealth firms have a basic level of business reporting. Wealth firms can evolve their reporting capabilities, drawing on meta data from the many sources that make up their spaghetti of data and its management. Enriching and cleansing source data will be increasingly critical moving forward
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~ Beacon Strategies, LLC

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