The COVID-19 pandemic has brought the need for wealth transformation to the forefront. The wealth management industry is today facing unprecedented challenges in a highly globalized world that suddenly needs to raise borders. It is no longer business as usual and the wealth industry needs to transition with the shifted expectations. While there are many challenges to be confronted, the fact is that each wealth management firm has unique needs, and no one-size-fits all approach will work for all players.
As the product owner of a wealth record-keeping solution used by large and small Canadian carriers and fund manufactures, I’m often involved in various transformation journeys both internally and with clients & prospects; here is a 3-step approach for product owners.
Step 1: Think Big Start Small
Revise long-term goals for clients considering the new era as everyone from senior management to internal & external end users are motivated to change because they are feeling the pain and disconnect of the current ways with paper-based interactions, face-to-face meetings and money movement.
Plan the best course of action to get there in small steps. The beauty of thinking like a startup, i.e. ‘Think Big Start Small’ and being an incumbent is the access to internal and external stakeholders to validate the big vision and prioritize the small steps.
Step 2: You are not Alone
To see your idea through to implementation, you need to ensure you are not alone in the beauty of it. Validate both the big vision and the prioritized order of small steps. Get acknowledgement in the areas where your organization is doing well and where it can do better (the acknowledged pain points). This validation step will in some cases completely derail your initial direction, be prepared for this and be glad that it cost a bit of pride and not a fortune. Validation will expose the processes that are half-baked meaning they are only partial straight through processing (STP) with some manual effort involved.
Step 3: Make it Happen
Once the big vision and at least one small step are validated, make it happen. Look for opportunities such as half-baked processes, inflight projects, and newly re-open doors to accelerate the change. Half-baked processes can be quick wins for the organization as the RoI (Return on Investment) is easier to measure and the bigger automation scope has already been validated. There could be other approved projects within your organization where shared solutions would benefit multiple business units. Doors previously closed by regulatory and compliance may reopen as organizations and governments emerge from the crisis, temporary deviations to mandatory processes such as ‘wet ink’ execution of documents will be evaluated by all parties.
The delay between validation and execution will cost you the support you need to follow through with the change. The typical risk you mitigate is resourcing, budget and changing priorities of the business. The adoption of risk change by advisors and end investors and the re-education effort on new digitized processes can be reduce while users are change motivated.
Embrace this crisis-driven expedited paradigm shift in thinking by consumers, private and public sectors to drive needed business and compliance changes to support the significant upswing in work-from-home adoption. Workplace analytics predicts 25-30% of the workforce will work from home multiple times a week by the end of 2021.
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