Finding the best fintech to fit your advisory firm
In a post-pandemic landscape, accelerating digital expectations from investors have led to a significant increase in adoption of wealth management technology by financial advisory firms. But choosing a software solution that enables firms to gain market share and drive growth-focused efficiencies can be challenging.
Consider the costs of a solution that’s the wrong fit: continued inefficiencies, poor advisor and client experiences, binding contracts that waste time and money. Here’s a five-step framework to get you started in the right direction:
1. Make sure they go deep in discovery
During the discovery phase, you and your potential vendor should work together to ensure you’ve accurately assessed your firm’s challenges and needs. This is where you’ll need to pay particularly close attention - it can reveal whether the vendor is a good fit.
The right technology vendor should take the time to understand your firm’s goals and needs according to your use cases, and be willing to dig deeper to uncover pain points. You’ll know you’re speaking with a true partner when they’re clearly interested in getting an accurate view of your unique business operations (beyond just addressing the specific issue their solution addresses).
2. Expect proof of concept using your data, models and scenarios
If you are seeking a software solution to fill gaps in desired workflows, or looking to integrate trading, order management and rebalancing, how will you know if the solution you’re vetting will meet your requirements? Asking the vendor for a proof of concept (POC) is one key way to ensure that the solution will work for you before committing to it, and eliminate the risk of surprises or disappointments later on. POCs can also uncover many other efficiencies and opportunities to improve workflows.
However, not all POCs are created equal. Rather than use “dummy” data in the POC, the vendor should use a sample of your firm’s own account data to create your trading models and workflows with your strategies applied. This helps you and your team visualize how the actual scenarios you have in place today will be handled in the system. Your potential provider should show you before and after scenarios, capture your feedback, and highlight additional opportunities to improve workflows through customization.
3. Get onboarding answers
Even if you receive a POC, that doesn’t guarantee a smooth onboarding and implementation process. Ask the vendor to explain the transition from POC to onboarding, taking into account all the aggregate use cases, assessment details, POC data and feedback. This information should be properly handed off to the vendor’s onboarding or support team, so you don’t have to explain everything you need multiple times.
4. Take them up on a trial period offer
If it’s available, don’t skip the trial period. This gives you an excellent opportunity to take a closer look at the vendor’s user training and onboarding capabilities, while also giving you the chance to opt out if the fit isn’t right.
An effective trial period should last about 90 days, provide the full set of capabilities to which your firm would subscribe, and give you 100% access to their onboarding and support teams.
5. Be thorough and transparent
If a software provider checks the four above boxes, you’re looking at a true partnership. But success depends on your ability to remain transparent and thorough, as well. Make sure to provide all of the details necessary for the vendor to assess fit on their end, deliver a valuable POC and align their solutions to meet your business’s needs.
Getting it right the first time
When we see firms making solution choices inconsistent with their needs, it’s usually because they selected a vendor too quickly or overemphasized price over partnership in their decision.
The right technology decision for your firm should result in a long-term partnership. Making another change within one to two years could cause significant disruption to your operations. Finding the right fit is crucial to your firm’s ability to acquire and retain clients, operate cost-effectively and efficiently, and scale growth. It deserves the time and attention from the vendor, and from you, to help your firm reach its goals.