Thought Leadership

The pandemic made digitalisation urgent – now wealth management firms need to focus on ROI

There’s no turning back from the digital revolution but wealth management firms can use new technologies to increase efficiency and add value to investors.


he pandemic may have altered the trajectory of digital transformation in the wealth management industry as firms adapted rapidly to an evolving situation. They kept their focus on their clients and found new ways to deliver the same premium services from home. Without the infrastructure to send out letters and paper reports, secure messaging came to the fore. To keep the personal touch, many used video calls to stay in touch with clients. These may have initially been stop gap measures, but as the situation escalated and continues to interrupt our daily lives, the seeds are being sown for rapid digital transformation.

Wealth management firms have discovered the value of digital transformation by employing tools that have increased efficiency and – far from creating a distance from investors – has brought them closer to their clients. The need for digital transformation may have been amplified by the pandemic, but it is the added value of those tools that is driving digital transformation forward.

Digital client services: no going backwards

The world has changed irrevocably for everyone and we will all be moving forward with new expectations about working patterns, business practices and communications. Investors will be no different – some may prefer the convenience of digital communications and with all businesses and services in a period of intense innovation, their expectations may keep rising.

These factors, combined with the very real value that has been realised by digital wealth tools suggest that there is a clear path ahead, at least for digital transformation in wealth management firms. What may have started as a necessity is already paying dividends and it’s likely that wealth management firms are now pushing digital transformation up the agenda.

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Measuring the Benefits of Digitalisation

What firms have learned over the last year is that “going digital” is not a minor or one-off project. A successful strategy is one which involves all the stakeholders – across the front office and client services as well as in technical / IT roles – in a long-term value-building effort. Advocates of greater and more rapid digitalisation within wealth can point to the following commercial drivers to set goals, demonstrate success, and help prioritise successive new initiatives:

Commercial aims of digitalisation in wealth and investment firms

  • Radically cut paper use
    Reduce or eliminate printing and postage by redesigning processes digitally

  • Empower front office
    Focus expert staff time on customer relationship building, not manual admin

  • Modernise technology
    Identify legacy systems and practices which are only creating costs and friction

The cost benefits are clear, but digitalisation doesn’t take away from the primary focus on good client service and can deliver benefits in this area by building and leveraging a higher customer lifetime value. Improved engagement over digital channels can boost loyalty, and more personalised digital services and related data can improve client fit. In time, outstanding convenient integration of online and in-person services will lead to creating brand advocates as clients recommend the service to their personal network and create digital “word of mouth”.

Digitalisation can also support strategic goals relating to growth in the customer base and AUM when it comes to inheritance, the family wealth retained over generations, the overall share of wallet and the capacity to win bigger, longer-term asset allocations from clients.

These are all commercial performance levers which the firm is pulling on by investing more – and more smartly – in digitalisation. Some benefits – particularly by definition, client loyalty and lifetime value – are hard to measure in the short term. Therefore, digital initiatives should be justified with more directly measurable benefits in order to build confidence and consensus required for a successful long-term digital strategy.

Quick win KPIs

Examples of “quick win KPIs” in digital transformation might include measuring what proportion of your clients are active users of your digital services. Digital satisfaction scores, app ratings and client feedback will also be an invaluable resource. Calculating the cost saving of just a fraction of your clients opting out of paper statements and other communications can deliver a clear ROI from digitalisation that eases the pressure on margins.

The benefits of digitalisation are only really confined by the functionality of the solution. For example, measuring the volume and handling of customer support enquiries online can not only operate as a KPI, but can also help with ROI when considering the cost saving and speed of resolution compared with phone calls. The speed of onboarding and conversion rate of prospective clients can be another KPI that also aligns with commercial goals.

What is clear is that wealth management firms have now learned that digital solutions aren’t the end of their personal service offering, they’re an extension of it. Firms which move faster to achieve measurable and commercially impactful wins at an early stage will find it easier to align leadership and all stakeholders around the broader, longer-term, more transformative benefits of digitalisation.


CREALOGIX is a publicly-listed, global leader in fintech and has been working with some of the world’s leading banks and wealth management firms for 25 years. CREALOGIX Invest solution helps firms to deliver outstanding, intuitive client service online, seamlessly integrated with existing high-value, in-person services. The front-end client portal technology uses existing processes and data to provide an enhanced digital experience for clients that can be implemented in just eight weeks.

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