The rise of the mass affluent market and its rapidly changing customer behaviour and preferences have been the driving force behind digital acceleration in the wealth management ecosystem. In this blog, Tanya Bartolini, Co-Founder of multi-asset investment technology provider Jacobi, explains how wealth management organizations can use institutional-grade technology to ‘lift the lid’ on investment decision-making and provide richer insights to clients.
Jacobi’s technology helps investment and wealth management firms transform their multi-asset portfolio design, analytics and client engagement. In September 2023, Jacobi partnered with Axioma to provide their end clients – asset managers, wealth managers, consultants and asset owners – with Axioma’s risk models and portfolio optimizer. The partnership provides seamless access to factor risk analytics and multi-asset class portfolio construction solutions in a crisp, intuitive interface and workflow platform.
Providing deeper insights to clients is often easier said than done. In many cases, only a handful of internal investment team members can navigate complex modelling programs and manual processes to generate analytics and reports for clients. And, as portfolios grow and increase in complexity, organizations are faced with the added challenge of delivering this information at scale.
In order to meet these challenges head on, wealth management and advice organizations have moved to adopt what has been traditionally a more institutional investment management approach, defined by two key priorities: (1) bringing institutional-quality tools and data to the wealth advisor and, (2) leveraging “front office-to-client” technology to demonstrate a differentiated and objectives-driven process. Both of which we will dive into in the below.
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1. Putting institutional quality tools in the hands of the wealth advisor
Faced with client demand for greater transparency, investment organizations are focusing on getting richer and more consumable information into the hands of their clients. To do this, many forward-thinking wealth management and advice businesses have been rewriting the role of the internal investment team in serving the mass affluent category. As organizations seek scale and governance, they are employing technology to support their advisor’s workflow processes and, more importantly, integrate their own internal data structures, capital market assumptions and modelling framework. These powerful tools are designed to support a simple and logical user interface that generates efficiencies for the financial advisor and supports the storytelling process but at the same time, leverages highly sophisticated investment models and data sets.
At its simplest, the enhanced delivery of investment information to clients includes richer, more timely access to portfolio data such as holdings and risk metrics. However, clients do not always need more detailed information, but rather more relevant information. That also extends to better insights into the investment process, for example, research on individual positions, allocation decisions or aggregated data demonstrating how the research process impacts their portfolio.
2. Utilizing “front office-to-client” technology to demonstrate a differentiated and objectives-driven process
Over recent years, wealth management and advisor organizations have sought better integration of their front-, middle- and back-office systems and data to help to improve efficiency and reduce operational risks. These projects have consumed swathes of resources and time, and in many organizations, are still in motion. But through this period, organizations have neglected the need to improve the connection between the investment “front-office” and their most important stakeholder: the client.
Organizations need to stretch beyond the historical concept of “client reporting”, which is typically based on pre-canned templates, set time periods and reports distributed in rigid ways. Already, progressive organisations are shifting from a reporting mindset to one that enables clients to have a rounded understanding of their portfolios on their terms.
Servicing clients at scale has always been a challenge as the investment management and the client experience process has lived in two very separate silos. This separation worked for decades; however, the heightened customization demands of the mass affluent client are making this more difficult. Like in other industries, consumers are demanding (and being delivered) more bespoke experiences and products.
Wealth management and advice organisations still have work to do in identifying the optimal balance of scale and customization. Importantly, the very same tools and inputs used to customize a solution should be used to create output that contextualizes how a client’s unique objectives are represented.
The rise of the mass affluent investors and changes in behaviour and preferences have proven to be a challenge to the wealth management industry’s digital and engagement strategies. Closing the information gap and creating a dynamic client experience will only be achievable if organizations solve the data problem and leverage technology that allows them to rapidly deploy workflows centred around client demands.
In an industry under pressure from the commodification of investment products and advice, providing a differentiated client experience is how the winners and losers will be defined over the next decade. The firms that have been able to rapidly allocate resources to technology and adjust their client engagement strategy will be able to capitalize on this defining time in the industry.
To request a demo of the enhanced portfolio construction, risk management and client engagement tools in Jacobi’s platform, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Founded in 2014, Jacobi’s technology helps investment and wealth management firms transform their multi-asset portfolio design, analytics and client engagement. Jacobi provides its services to top-tier investors across the globe with a client base representing assets under management of over US$7 trillion. Its award-winning technology is white labeled and highly flexible enabling firms to build their own models, data, tools and applications on the platform.
About Tanya Bartolini
Tanya is a Co-Founder and Chief Revenue Officer at Jacobi. Tanya has over 25 years’ experience across business development, technology and investments. Prior to Jacobi, Tanya held increasingly senior roles at Australia’s largest financial institution, Commonwealth Bank of Australia (including Colonial First State).