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Asset Management: When tradition meets technology

Author: David Derrier, Regional Manager, Nexell GmbH

 

Introduction

Although Financial Advisory is a traditional and well-established area, the Asset Management industry is entering a new era. Competition is growing worldwide and clients need a high level of confidence to entrust their money to someone. This is why Asset Managers need to work in a more professional and secure way to retain active clients and engage new ones. 

Companies need to select the right tools that will enable them to work more efficiently and boost their impact, by reducing the administrative burden and allowing Relationship Managers to focus on business development and investments optimization. Good news! This is what CRMs are about.

 

Trends

CRM is a buzzword that can embrace a lot of things that are more or less relevant. In the Asset Management industry, needs are quite specific and the aim is to have a 360 view of the clients and keep an eye on the day-to-day situation,

Build a clients and partners database

CRM is still too often seen as a contacts details database. Yes, this is part of it. But 1) you can also benefit from collecting information about your partners and intermediaries (custodian banks, tax advisors, etc.) and 2) you need to better understand how this world is working together and how the different stakeholders are influencing each other. Investors have their own eco-system that you need to map if you want to work efficiently and identify key influencers in the decision-making process.

Onboarding Process

The way Sales are handled in the Financial Services industry is very specific, and compliance / due diligence play an important part in there. Asset Managers need to collect KYC-related information to make the client onboarding process quicker and more reliable. Relationship Managers also need to quickly identify the investor profile and the level of risk that is acceptable for each client. The onboarding process is the real start of the relationship and Asset Manager need to show their clients that things are progressing quickly and in a professional way.

Investments and Performance

Once you have a well-established client base, you want to track what you effectively do with them and what your interactions with them are. Follow up on investment recommendations, track transactions, calculate commissions / arranger fees, and monitor the value of a client’s portfolio and its evolution day by day to their best possible ROI.

Business Intelligence

When you operate in the Asset Management industry it is vital to understand who your customers are, what the current trends are, and how you can adjust your strategy according to the behavior of the customer’s portfolio. If you know what funds are getting more popular, if you identify an emerging market, or if you understand what communication channels drive the biggest number of leads, you will then be able to focus your efforts and increase your impact in the market.

Communication / Reporting

If you know what is happening in your business, you can spread the word. Investors need transparency and ongoing updates. Knowing your customers will help you quickly identify your different target groups in order to send the right information to the right audience. Active / Passive investors, Swiss-based clients, partners, etc. Sending monthly factsheets or corporate communications should be as easy as a couple of clicks.

 

4 steps to follow to get a solid basis

Managing clients in an efficient way means that Asset Managers need to collect relevant, valuable and useful information about their clients and partners. These 4 principles always apply:

 b2ap3_thumbnail_4steps.PNG

 

Centralization

Having all client data in a single place and making it available to co-workers has obvious benefits. But implementing a new CRM solution in the Financial Services industry quickly raises a simple but essential question: is it safe to have a cloud-based CRM? Our answer is often a question “what does safe mean for you?”. And two aspects are generally dealt with: external security (making sure that confidential information cannot be accessed by people outside my organization) and internal security (control who can see & do what on client data).

External access is often seen as the main threat, whereas all the scandals that happened in the past few years came from inside the organization. It is vital to define data governance and security rules that will drive the CRM usage and prevent data loss / theft. In Switzerland, FINMA keeps a close eye on such topics.

Categorization

Managing clients and prospects cannot be done efficiently without a good understanding in terms of needs for categorizations: what do I want to collect about my clients? How far am I ready to go? Do I only need contact details? Do I want to have KYC information? Do I need to track funds? Getting a 360 view of your clients is the ultimate goal, but you should ask yourself 3 questions before going ahead:

  • Can I collect this piece of information easily?
  • How complex will it be to maintain the information?
  • How do I plan to use and exploit the information?

Some Asset Managers want to know exactly what the real-time situation of the client is, and collect up-to-date information about funds, subscriptions, redemptions, including daily market values.

Standardization

Relationship Managers need to be shown the way. From both usability and reporting perspective, and in parallel with categorization, you need to have a pre-defined way of collecting information. This means that information you collect needs to be standardized, in terms of contents and format. If you need to know what your client’s car make is, you will not make a free text field available, but you will configure a dropdown menu with pre-defined values like Bentley, BMW, Mercedes, etc.. This will ensure fast data entry and high-quality, reusable, reportable data.

Prioritization

Having a lot of data is good. But you need to identify what part of the data you collect is critical for your business and have a substantial impact on the way you manage relationships with your clients. As an Asset Manager, what do you absolutely need to be able to work efficiently in line with compliance rules? What is a nice to have? The goal could be to define the guidelines when a client is involved in the onboarding process and Relationship Managers should absolutely collect certain information before moving to the next step. Setting up clear, relevant and straightforward procedures will not only enable RM to save time, but will also ensure that the information collected is compliant with laws and regulations, be it local, national or global.

Conclusion

Start small and grow. Like everywhere, you should play it safe at the beginning so that you build a solution on a solid basis while you still have the opportunity to grow the scope through a scalable tool.

Salesforce.com with add-on FinServ accelerator packages, is seen as the perfect platform & tool for asset managers, whatever their size or business domain is. Customizable, flexible and scalable.

Are you ready to jump into a new era?




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Nexell GmbH, based in Switzerland & Germany is your Salesforce.com and Salesforce.org, Pardot and Fonteva partner.

Founded in 2002, we help our customers and non-profit organizations in the field of CRM (Customer Relationship Management). Our services, technologies and strategies culminates from years of experience with large and small firms, resulting in a set of best practices which are applied to all our projects, big and small, locally and internationally.

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