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Private bankers understand the increased importance of their digital tools: Ciriani of InvestCloud

Asian Private Banker - Private banks shy away from fully-digitalised onboarding
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It is not only PB clients who see effective digital tools as a differentiator for PBs — private bankers themselves share this opinion. And having the right tools may help the bank attract some of the most sought-after PB talent.

Christine Ciriani, InvestCloud

InvestCloud’s Christine Ciriani told Asian Private Banker that digital platforms can make all the difference in PB talent management. “In the recent hunt for PB talent, it’s the first time in the last six months that CEOs have been calling us, saying that candidates want to see what digital tools the bank uses.”

The CEO of InvestCloud’s international private banking & wealth division — formerly Finantix — observed that potential candidates at PBs started to list “having good digital tools” as key to their decision to join a bank. “They care about the level of efficiency digital tools bring to their work,” said Ciriani. “That efficiency can really become a differentiation for the bank.”

For instance, burdensome documentation has long been one of the major frustrations of PB clients and their RMs.

“It is basic servicing, but it is probably the biggest pain that takes and absorbs the most time from RMs who shouldn’t be spending the time only just doing basic servicing.”

Ciriani believes the pandemic catalysed the change in perception of digitalisation and said certain behaviours — such as accessing information digitally and engaging with clients remotely — will stay permanent. If a bank can deliver such digital features to its RMs and clients, it can be a major differentiator, she said.

CLM is the new CRM
The concerns of private bankers have mirrored the focus of PBs’ digital push, and a major part of that revolves around increasing RM productivity and optimising client experience. Over the past year, InvestCloud has seen an emphasis on the importance of client lifecycle management (CLM), which has replaced discussions around client relationship management (CRM).

“In some ways, we say CLM is the new CRM, and this is increasingly important to optimise across both discretionary and advisory businesses,” said Mark Trousdale, chief marketing officer at InvestCloud. He spoke at a webinar session by the firm — Global Private Banking & Wealth: Lessons from the Front Lines — last week. InvestCloud is planning to run an APAC-targeting session in two weeks as well.

This goes beyond a simple shift of terminology and implicates a deeper change in how PBs approach client data, Ciriani argued.

“The digitalisation of CLM (or CRM) was previously a response to regulatory pressure, which required banks to prove that they complied with onboarding and know-your-client (KYC) responsibilities,” Ciriani explained, adding that the compliance element initially drove the need for digitalisation and automation of the onboarding process.

But today, the focus has broadened to servicing the client across the entire lifecycle. “This means that rather than only addressing the regulatory questions, banks are starting to use this information as an opportunity to provide relevant recommendations.”

One instance of the effective use of CLM data is through the creation of a “pre-client portal”, Trousdale pointed out. “If the bank is in the process of onboarding a prospect, it will be easier to engage and share content, even before the account is activated. This is an extremely powerful extension of a CLM solution that allows the relationship to start at the prospecting phase and extend to servicing across the client lifecycle.”

Under constant margin pressure, PBs are seeking to level up their ability to source fresh AUM. This also translates into a more robust use of CRM for client prospecting, which has seen its importance increase dramatically for many banks — especially in Asia, with a swathe of wealth being transferred across generations.

“PBs traditionally did not hunt for clients in a consistent and measured manner,” explained Ciriani. “This is where we have an opportunity to use the same solutions which automate regulation to identify potential leads and improve prospect-to-client conversion.”

She continued: “Using data to improve prospecting, tracking and attracting new money, not just from existing clients, but also their ecosystem or extended relationships, means the banker can focus on the right prospects. Doing that in an intelligent way matters, so that the bank can immediately move onto KYC and then onboarding seamlessly.”

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