On Thursday, March 21, several hundred investment, operations, and compliance leaders at private and commercial family offices, and other wealth management firms, gathered at The Convene Center to discuss the challenges and opportunities facing the industry as it continues its technological transformation.
We were fortunate to be in attendance and our CEO, Seth Brotman, participated in a panel discussion titled, “How the Next Generation of Family Offices Will Win on Technology.”
The conference was hosted by The Family Wealth Report, a publication from ClearView Financial Media Ltd.
Throughout the day, three interconnected themes emerged: alignment, efficiency and digital transformation.
Theme #1: Alignment
Before any efficiency gains can be achieved through the use of technology, firms must get clear on their vision and align that vision with its processes, people and technology needs. Through this alignment process, firms can uncover the aspects of their workflow that are most time-consuming, and look for the right technology tools to make those activities more efficient, both from human capital and time perspectives.
Theme #2: Efficiency
Once alignment is achieved, firms can incrementally work on replacing manual and human-capital intensive processes with new technology solutions.
One panel discussed the question, “Is a Truly Integrated Technology Platform Possible?” That answer, and the optimal technology stack required, is unique to each firm. By performing extensive due diligence with technology vendors, performing calls with references and establishing a clear implementation timeline, firms can help ensure that the most effective, integrated technology platform is created.
When it comes to achieving gains in efficiency through the implementation of technology, panelists discussed human capital allocation as the primary driver for change. As accuracy is paramount in reporting, using the right technology to make this process more efficient and flexible is vital to the future success of many firms and their clients’ expectations and experience.
Theme #3: Digital Transformation
As wealth is transferring from baby boomers to the next generation who are more familiar with operating in a digital world, the time is now for digital transformation. During the keynote presentation, “Embracing disruption – leveraging technology to redefine the value of the advisor,” Michael Cole, CEO of Cresset Capital, described how technology has improved firm productivity, resulting in steady advisory firm profitability, despite lower advisory fees. Additionally, the increased interest in alternative investments and direct investing requires firms to invest in additional tools to help automate and manage human capital and related operations.
Moreover, in the final panel discussion of the day, How the Next Generation of Family Offices Will Win on Technology, panelists reiterated this trend and described manual data entry as one of the biggest pain points right now. With the growing allocations to alternatives across family offices and institutional investors, and the increased digital transformation in other industries, firms are ready to increase efficiency and use technology to do it.
As with any business change, alignment among all of the people, processes and technologies involved is paramount. Our industry is embarking on a substantial digital transformation and we are looking forward to continuing to partner with family offices, wealth managers, institutional investors and others in the investment community to make the transformation process as seamless and efficient as possible.