Despite our differences in location, experience and strategy, all wealth managers and planners want essentially the same thing — to help our clients reach their goals while, at the same time, growing our practices.

This isn’t easy to do because back-office operations take time away from serving clients and reaching out to prospects. Inefficient legacy technology systems add to the problem, keeping goals for practice growth beyond reach.

I have experienced this frustrating situation. Four years ago, my RIA firm relied on three technology applications — portfolio accounting and trading programs from one technology vendor, and a CRM system from another vendor — that didn’t share data or any functional integration.

James Casey is president & CEO of Integrated Wealth Management, financial advisory and wealth management firm.

As a result, whenever we needed to rebalance all of our accounts, it took us four to five days. Every quarter, we needed two to three days to run and review reports and then individually mail or email them to our clients. We also required a full day to run billing across all of our accounts.

LOOKING TO GROW
At the time, our practice consisted of seven advisors who serviced about 600 households, and our AUM came to slightly less than $500 million.

We wanted to grow, but we knew that our time-consuming workflows — and the non-integrated technology programs responsible for them — were holding us back.

So we embarked on a search for a new technology solution in which all the applications were deeply integrated, and we eventually settled on the Envestnet | Tamarac Advisor Xi wealth management platform.

The combination of a portfolio management and reporting solution, a rebalancing and trading application, a CRM system and an interactive client portal is a powerful one.

Four years later, our client households have nearly doubled, to almost 1,200, and we’ve more than doubled our advisor count, to 17. Our AUM has also more than doubled, to about $1.2 billion.

A HALF-DAY OF WORK
Our new system gives us the freedom to run account performance reports at any time during the quarter, instead of just at quarter-end, to verify performance data and check for outliers. What used to take two to three days to complete for all accounts now requires just half a day of work.

Our new trading and rebalancing application enables us to rebalance 500 accounts in five minutes — as opposed to four to five days for all accounts — and it automatically monitors portfolios and checks for style drifts using restrictions we can save in the system. Our annual Form ADV filings can now be completed in a single afternoon, as opposed to multiple days. Our compliance chief can also filter account data for regulatory filings in our CRM, which reduces error risk.

The time we’ve saved on all workflows is used to foster more meaningful and personalized engagement with our clients. We also have the bandwidth to recruit more prospective clients and advisors.

No matter which technology provider you choose, make sure all of your applications are deeply integrated. Having a unified technology platform with programs that talk to one another and share data can help you to tackle the challenge of bringing your clients closer to their financial goals while also expanding your practice.

To submit a Selfie commentary, email fpeditor@sourcemedia.com. Post your comments below.

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