DEEP INTEGRATION: THE DEVIL IS IN THE DETAILS
How should banks compare digital advice platforms, when all of these products seem to offer the same basic online access to wealth management?
Platforms that are integrated with the bank’s operational, custodian, and customer relationship management systems make it easier for clients to create and use their accounts, for advisors to onboard and service all clients, and for the home office to streamline process and to scale efficiently. On the other hand, platforms that aren’t deeply integrated can add complexity and duplication, even increasing the number of errors and inconsistencies when systems relying on the same data can’t talk to each other.
Beneath the surface
But that’s just the tip of the digital iceberg. Looking below the surface, it’s clear that there is a wide range of integration capabilities. Integration across wealth management services requires ongoing investment. A platform that claims to be integrated might not actually have the level of operational integration required to meet a bank’s needs and expectations. Well-designed integrations should support a quality end-to-end client experience, provide leverage for advisors, and enable operational efficiency. In contrast, a lack of operational integration often requires banks to fill the gaps with dated or work-around processes, which doesn’t address the fundamental problem of siloed systems and disjointed processes.
Custody services may be the most important component of comprehensive integration for digital advice, because banks rely on the platform to deliver processes for safekeeping and transacting assets that are consistent with their traditional non-digital channel. A deeply integrated digital advice platform should:
- Provide a seamless client experience
- Increase ease and speed of enrollment and ongoing service
- Add efficiencies for advisors
- Lower costs to serve all clients
- Incorporate portfolio management, trading, and rebalancing functions
- Reduce complexity in oversight and security
- Support compliance policies and procedures of the home office
- Offer straight-through processing (with the flexibility to add or modify approvals)
Platforms that cannot fulfill these needs typically are not effectively integrated. As advisory firms consider digital advice partners, they should ask whether a provider can support a bank’s operating environment, today and in the future. The answer can be found in the platform itself (it adapts to meet a bank’s changing needs), the people who support it (they have the depth of experience to know where automation is practical and where customization is key), and organizational commitment (there is sufficient support and investment to continue to improve).
Guiding clients for successful outcomes
Jemstep believes that few firms have the platform, people, and organizational commitment to achieve the depth and breadth of integration expected by banks. We work with a range of financial services firms - from a local credit union with smaller-scale operations to a top-five US bank with extensive branch networks and highly automated and customized processes. All of these firms rely on Jemstep’s digital platform to modernize their wealth management service and on our experience and flexibility to ensure effective integration into their unique environment. Jemstep is committed to continued investment in industry-leading integrations, including the most recent enhancements to our long-standing partnership with Pershing which streamline the account opening process, increase the efficiency of transfers, and simplify back-office processes:
1. Streamlined account opening:
Advisor Pro has fully digitized this process, giving banks greater consistency and cost savings, without compromising information security. Advisor Pro’s single sign-on capabilities pre-populate new account forms, making it easier for clients to open accounts. Consistent and validated account applications reduce the time advisors need to spend resolving form omissions or inconsistencies. We support requirements for handling client information, reviews and approvals, form types and formats, e-Signatures, and archiving. Meeting these requirements starts with an understanding of the bank’s processes and constraints:
- Client information - What additional information will you need to collect from an existing bank client opening a wealth management account?
- Forms - Are your forms standard, customized, branded, or supplied by a custodian? What are your signing rules for joint account holders? How do you conduct document reviews, and what fields are forced versus optional?
- Authentication - What is your current method and what is your plan for development? Does that include knowledge-based authentication or access codes?
2. Increased efficiency of money transfers:
Advisor Pro validates user input to improve accuracy, limit interruptions in transfers, and set client expectations for transactions. That includes setting maximum amounts and contribution years for retirement account deposits, and accounting for market hours and holidays. Field validations and transparency help clients and advisors complete the account funding process efficiently, making it easier to manage transfers. Once a new bank account is verified and approved, transfers can be completed with straight-through processing.
3. Simplified back-office processes:
Advisor Pro facilitates back-office workflow, with signed documents that are uploaded for quick review of new accounts. Other documents are registered in the system as needed. Configuration allows the bank to lock specific account information fields for client-directed changes or to adapt approval processes according to home office preferences, and to structure how fields are populated in required Pershing documentation.
With Advisor Pro as their digital advice platform, banks can guide clients along the path of achieving their goals and aim for successful outcomes. Our commitment to continue investing in broad and deep integration capabilities means that we can apply the bank’s existing or modified processes to the digital advice platform, rather than requiring the bank to change their process to fit the platform or create expensive manual work-arounds. We can advise on how to configure the platform for a more efficient, streamlined, and cost-effective process. This often includes discussions on ways internal bank processes could be improved to best take advantage of digital capabilities offered through our platform.
Partnering with your providers
The collaborative environment created by the Jemstep–Pershing partnership extends to the firms' parent companies, Invesco and BNY Mellon. Our growing Pershing integration provides a virtually seamless client experience, to foster higher adoption and usage rates, while helping to avoid potential operational and compliance problems. Starting with the discovery phase, we uncover operational opportunities and potential issues, and develop creative and practical solutions. Jemstep and Pershing work together closely, implementing a digital solution that fits the firm’s needs and priorities.
Jemstep partners with leading enterprise firms that our clients use as core service providers. Our Pershing partnership reflects this. In addition to Pershing, Jemstep’s relationships and integrations with firms such as Salesforce, DocuSign and LivePerson help to create a compelling client experience and add operational efficiency to our enterprise solution - from initial engagement and goal definition to investment mapping, account opening, and ongoing servicing, including trading and rebalancing.
More than a technology decision
Banks offer digital advice to meet client expectations and achieve business goals. Selecting a digital advice platform provider is about selecting the right technology and depth of integration, but also the right firm. Jemstep is committed to partnering with you to deliver a compelling client experience that connects to your firm’s value proposition and an implementation approach that connects to your business goals.