Between Dodd-Frank, the Volcker Rule and the Uniform Fiduciary Standard initiatives, wealth managers will be dedicating more of their time, planning and technology budgets this year to comply with new regulatory requirements.
An SEI poll of 100 attendees at its “Connections” conference in June found that looming regulatory changes pose the single-largest challenge for 58% of respondents and that 44% said managing these regulatory changes will be their firms’ top priority.
Complicating matters for all advisors and wealth management firms is the general lack of clarity surrounding some of the new regulatory changes, something that isn’t likely to become more concrete until long after the November election.
Only 22% of respondents said they feel comfortable that they’ve received enough information to fully understand the new regulations. Sixty-one percent said they were “learning about them now” and 19% said they were still “in the dark.”
On the bright side, 94% of those queried said they were at least “somewhat confident” that their firm will be able to meet the new regulation and compliance standards by the time they take effect.
“We’ve entered a new era in the wealth management industry, where meeting regulatory requirements is a constant challenge for wealth management firms,” said Sandy Ewing, senior vice president of SEI’s global wealth services unit, said in a statement. “The challenge for firms is anticipating the regulations’ parameters before they’re finalized and bracing for unexpected changes, without losing momentum in other areas of their businesses.”
When it comes to technology spending, 24% of respondents said that integrating new technology will be their firms’ top priority. And along those lines, 97% said they’re concerned about security threats derived from making the enhancements and upgrades to their technology platforms.
“The desire to improve technology is a trend we’ve been witnessing for some time now,” Ewing added. “Wealth management providers are searching for ways to automate processes and more easily aggregate data from a variety of sources to enhance their client reports. In the end, technology enhancements will allow firms to achieve greater consistency and eliminate inefficiencies, giving them more time to focus on their clients.”
SEI’s Global Wealth Services provides investment processing, fund processing, and investment management business outsourcing solutions that help corporations, financial institutions, financial advisors, and ultra-high-net-worth families create and manage wealth.
Larry Barrett writes for Financial Planning.