Reporting is an essential component of wealth management. Monthly or quarterly, it is a key focus of the traditional client and adviser relationship. But in a time of social distancing and increasing dependence on technology, the face-to-face and paper-based format is beginning to look antiquated.
Reporting will always have a place beyond simply giving figures, gains and losses. It is an opportunity for wealth managers to build trust, familiarity and rapport with their clients. Managers achieve this through establishing real empathy when explaining changes to their client’s portfolios — something particularly vital during challenging times such as recessions and other periods of economic influx.
This continues to hold true. But these interactions must now also be digital — and with that, deliberate attention needs to be paid in order to ensure things truly translate. It’s imperative that modern digital reporting goes beyond “traditional thinking” of sending over a PDF and following up with a phone call, to deliver real value and empathy to a client.
Intuitive and holistic reporting
Contrary to what investors themselves might believe, finance — and in particular investing — is a very emotionally driven activity. Finance is one of the major causes of stress and anxiety to people, regardless of their measure of wealth.
Wealth managers have built a business that effectively takes a significant amount of stress away from their clients. But turbulent market conditions mean wealth managers’ guidance and advice is needed more than ever.
Reporting plays a key part in this. But this can no longer be a static, stale view coupled with commentary.
Good digital reporting is intuitive and comprehensive. This means that it provides clients with a holistic view of all their investment information and is accessible any time, any place and via any device. This is key to not just maintaining a transparent relationship through digital channels, but to actually increasing engagement with clients.
Advisers can achieve this through data aggregation – the process of pulling information from different sources into one view. For managers, this involves collecting account data from internal and external sources – custodians, portfolio accounts, performance data, private assets, real estate and properties, alongside held away client assets. Storing this data in a time series manner can help to display how a portfolio looked at the close of the month, or how it looks for the same period.
This provides clients, sometimes for the first time, with a look at their true financial landscape. It can open the door for more robust conversations, improve opportunities for client education and undoubtedly expand the adviser-client relationship.
Creating truly personalised experiences
Wealth managers pride themselves on delivering personal service to their clients. This must extend to digital reporting.
Where the traditional report is a static document, modern and digital reporting can offer greater value to clients through true personalisation. This first and foremost should be achieved through offering your clients the digital and reporting personas that are at match for who they are and what they care about.
This can extend to interactive reports, showing multiple viewpoints that can be selected by the client to ensure they only see the information they need or want. Or, this can be combined with external sources such as news media that can help reinforce why certain actions have been taken – or even to prompt clients to take these actions. This all helps to not just maintain the face-to-face relationships, but also expands it by offering more reasons for engagement.
This is achieved through data. Managers must combine the typical client information – age, gender, assets, and so on – and combine this with market data, news and much more. This helps to create a detailed digital picture for the client.
This can only be truly achieved by ensuring a single version of the integrated truth for all data, allowing information to be seamlessly pulled through to a report. It also – crucially – means that hours upon hours do not need put into information collection and design. Instead, this is automated, allowing managers to focus on tasks that add value to clients.
An intelligent, digital report also has many benefits for the wealth manager beyond the relationship. If delivered via a client portal, managers can receive data on what the client is looking at. This can be further used to understand specific needs and requirements – allowing the manager to pre-empt questions or needs.
We know that the more the advisor knows about their client, the better the level of service they can provide. Complete individualisation of a report also helps go a long way to achieving this.
Always-on reporting across multiple touchpoints
In today’s digital world, information is expected to be delivered instantly; accessible at any time, any place, anywhere.
It is important to apply the same principle to client reporting. Modern investors demand multiple touchpoints from which they can use as a source for answers. Catering to this basic need is critical to building loyalty and retaining customers.
Mobile access, for example, is a great start. Now more than ever, finance is a 24/7 world, and many investors are used to getting up to date information streamed right to them as it happens. Being able to access information on the go is a must – so managers need to ensure that all reporting is also optimised for smartphones and tablets, including all functionality being made available on these devices.
Interactive reporting provides many more touchpoints for clients to engage with their advisers. The ability to leave voice notes to specific points on a report, for example, allows clients to ask specific questions on a report which they might not have when first viewing it. This helps to continue the conversation beyond the traditional reporting meeting and increase the interaction between client and adviser.
The future of client reporting
The aim of modern reporting to an investor is not just about giving facts and figures. It needs to do more for both the client and the adviser. Done correctly, interactive and digital reporting creates something of far greater value to the client while also providing a tool for continuous engagement for advisers.
In times of great uncertainty, this is a powerful weapon in a wealth management firm’s arsenal – helping to keep clients close and serve them better.