The world has changed. Business and technology leaders have come face-to-face with a global pandemic that continues to impact businesses, consumers, and communities. How organizations confront and respond to this crisis and its economic impact will reshape the outlook and attitudes of people for years to come.
This enduring, and perhaps, forever changed landscape has called upon leaders to quickly shift strategy as they are compelled to re-think and mobilize new approaches for their companies’ interactions with clients, customers, and employees. While retail and service companies are fast focusing on resiliency and digitalization of the supply chain, this crisis has highlighted the need for broad and deep digitalization across multiple key areas in the value chain in the case of wealth and asset managers.
Today’s climate provides a motivating catalyst for enterprising wealth and asset management companies to drive meaningful actions that support immediate needs with transformative efforts that will benefit their business and better serve end-investors. Being successful will require rapid response and strategic alignment of operations, technology, and business priorities and cohesive integration from cross-functional teams. With that in mind, we must answer the call to accelerate broad and deep digitalization—there are practical, achievable steps organizations can take right now. Here are some examples from my own product team along with some future-thinking implications:
- Learn and Quickly Mobilize
Many of us have experienced our fair share of challenges but this current one is unlike any we, as business leaders, have experienced or could have prepared for. As a result, we have had to assess and quickly mobilize to address a crisis with ramifications far beyond the record market volatility we witnessed. With continuity plans quickly put in place, employees working remotely have had to closely monitor trading operations during significant increases in market volumes and volatility.
In this new age of social distancing, wealth management firms’ advisors have adjusted how they communicate, using technology and digital communication tools to support operations and stay close to their clients. Creating open communication and transparency among working teams is crucial to promote collaboration and help organizations effectively address current challenges. First-hand experience is revealing that advisors’ interactions with their clients cannot be limited to a daily email update on market dynamics. Clients need and demand more from their advisors.
We at Tegra118 have also experienced the need to stay connected to our clients while they adjust to a remote environment. Anticipating their needs for rebalancing portfolios at a scale beyond normal, we were well-prepared to ensure that all critical functions worked smoothly to support the business. By quickly mobilizing to digitally connect our product management team to support customer operations teams, we can address issues and questions coming from the field faster and more effectively.
- Build Dynamic Cross-Functional Teams With a Sense of Urgency
Building dynamic cross-functional teams is the key to helping organizations quickly address and respond to firms’ and clients’ most immediate and pressing needs. My recommendation is to discard the traditional, methodical way of building a dynamic team; instead, act with urgency and create smaller teams that are empowered to experiment, learn, adapt and make decisions quickly. We’re seeing positive results by creating teams that are balanced with unique functional expertise (account management, product, technology, operations, client services) who share a clear mission and a common goal.
Like many organizations at the start of the outbreak, we tested the ability for our entire team across our organization to work remotely—all was stable and steady. Our cross-functional Tegra118 client teams then made personal contact with clients offering operations guidance during a period of increased market volatility. To assist with the high volume of calls to our clients’ advisor help desks, we assembled a support group for advisor questions offering guidance to help them navigate our system and accomplish tasks. This dynamic Tegra118 team included members from our customer operations, product management, and training groups. Drawing from our team’s deep knowledge of our client’s business and their expertise in Tegra118 products and industry best practices, we quickly adapted to address the challenges facing our clients.
For clients experiencing challenges with their own staff shortages or those required to put continuity plans in place for supplemental resources, Tegra118 is providing additional operations support with account setup, reconciliation, and trading and rebalancing support. In this way, our professionals have been able to complement and, in some cases, assume their operations based on specific needs. These strong touchpoints or ‘moments of truth’ between clients and first-responder teams during crisis can be powerful opportunities to strengthen the relationship bond and instill lasting loyalty.
- Shaping The Future
The questions, suggestions, and feedback we have received from clients are having a direct impact in shaping how we meet future responsibilities and maintain a culture of collaboration. By revisiting our guiding principles around product management along with what we have learned during this crisis and observing the actions of other successful businesses, we’ve created a more nimble and responsive organization.
Future blueprints for digitalization, once resisted by many in our industry, are now “must have” capabilities and solutions that will position more resilient and flexible firms for success throughout this pandemic and beyond. Exploring the impact of broader and deeper digitalization compels us to revisit and identify those unique ‘moment of truth’ opportunities across various investor, advisor, and home office operations personas in wealth management.