What do wealth managers really think of life in the front office?

A research report by Wealth Dynamix and Compeer has provided insights into how front office professionals view the client lifecycle management process.

The report quizzed front office professionals on what were the most and least enjoyable aspects of the job. For the positive aspects, individuals cited client interaction, exceeding client expectations, variety and meeting interesting people as the most enjoyable. Finding new clients, getting investment decisions right, helping clients with their financial objectives and affairs and growing a client book were also cited as perks of the role.

When it came to the least enjoyable, administration, bureaucracy, form-filling and compliance and regulations were the most burdensome for wealth managers. Also seen as a drain on happiness was increasing focus on short-term instead of long-term clients, unresponsive clients, stress of having to win new business and barriers to new business.

Wealth Dynamix said, “Client engagement and meeting their needs is a vital part of the role, and clearly one that brings much satisfaction to the front office professionals. However, regulations and administration requirements cause much frustration, and some feel burdened by the systems they have access to.”

On the topic of setting growth targets, Wealth Dynamix detailed that over 50% of wealth managers are remaining optimistic that they can achieve client growth of close to 10% despite the obvious volatile market conditions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The report does note, however, that due to the fact the industry has performed well over the past year, some front of office professionals are even setting targets of between 11% and 25% over the next 12 months.

The research found that the most important and common source of new business for front of office workers are referrals, with 98% going with the option. Wealth Dynamix claimed that this ‘therefore shows the extreme importance of maintaining a high level of client service to encourage more of these referrals’.

However, the report found that social media – while only used for 30% of new business now – will be used at an increasing rate in the coming years, with 87% of front of office professionals believing it will be used more than it currently is as a source of new business.

When approaching a prospective client, the majority of front of office professionals said that while many will consider future potential when approaching a prospective client, they will need to meet a minimum investment threshold before signing up with the business.

Face-to-face and onboarding

An overwhelming majority of wealth managers stressed that building relationships with prospective clients has become much harder since virtual meetings became the norm, which have supposedly made it harder to build and rapport and trust with clients.

According to Wealth Dynamix, 80% of front office professionals feel the lack of face-to-face meetings is the main difficulty they face when winning new business in the current environment.

Meanwhile, the report found that onboarding of new clients can often take more than one working week and is currently dominated by manual processes. The research also found the delay in onboarding can lead to client dropping, while price was also discussed as a major factor for clients opting to use an alternative provider.

The report also found that front of office professionals believe they spend too much time on compliance and internal meetings and would rather spend more time on face-to-face communication with existing clients and prospective new clients.

Client engagement is preferred to be face-to-face at least on a six-monthly basis and often certain clients with be prioritised. This can be due to wealth of due to the demands of certain clients.

The research also discovered that many wealth managers believe a lot of time could be saved in the generation of reports and that there is a lower than expected uptake or CRM or CLM systems with below-par satisfaction levels for those currently being used.

Wealth Dynamix remarked that the lack of a good CLM or CRM system is inhibiting productivity and that too many of them ‘cannot provide a single client view’ and very few are able to be accessed via a mobile device or tablet. Many systems are also outdated, inflexible and hard to navigate.

The full research report can be found here.

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