Intelligent Automation for Financial Intermediaries
Robotic process automation (RPA) (https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/what-rpa-why-so-interesting-financial-institutions-andr%C3%A9-h-burger/) is particularly well suited for financial intermediaries such as independent asset managers (IAMs), trusts and family offices who offer a wide range of bespoke services to their clients. This article examines the challenges they face and illustrates how automation can support them in dedicating more time to their clients based on the example of client reporting automation.
Challenges for financial intermediaries
Financial intermediaries collaborate with an ecosystem of multiple banks, brokers and custodians. They face increasing margin pressure, with the costs related to growing business complexity being key drivers as studies show, including the need to manage a multitude of partnerships in terms of data. (source: Credit Suisse, EAM Study 2017)
They balance these external factors with the client centric, bespoke service which is the key USP. To cater for the complex and individual needs of UHNWI, financial intermediaries put their clients at the center of all operations: One of the most desired features is a consolidated, holistic view on the clients wealth and risks, including non-bankable assets. This requires aggregating and updating information from different sources to provide a consolidated portfolio view. The effort invested in tasks like these is consuming valuable capacity of operations teams.
Intelligent Automation as a source of growth
Possible measures to tackle these challenges range from process analysis and enhancement of existing tools to Robotic Process Automation (RPA), Artificial Intelligence or Machine Learning. RPA is an excellent starting point on the automation journey. Intelligent automation is a well fitted approach helping to sustainably reduce costs on the one hand and enhance the customer experience on the other.
RPA plays a vital part in the operating model of efficient financial service providers: market analysis shows that an increasing number of companies is leveraging a digital workforce like robots to boost efficiency and reduce operational risk. (source: Synpulse «RPA more valuable than full-fledged solutions for mid-size IAMs, FOs” https://themagazine.synpulse.com/en/2019_07_19_rpa-more-valuable-than-full-fledged-solutions-for-mid-size-iams-fos-synpulse/).
Robots follow a rule-based logic and use the existing applications to execute processes. Existing validations, security controls and data are used, which significantly reduces risks and development efforts. As no validations, security, data models or interfaces in the conventional sense must be adapted for an initial setup, a very short time to market is achieved.( https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/synpulse-market-map-overview-rpa-software-suppliers-aptitude-burger/)
Typical use cases of RPA appear around either repetitive tasks which need to be executed in one system or the human interaction with two systems. Here RPA closes the «media break» (e.g. typing information from a form/Excel sheet into an IT-System), which otherwise negatively influences business processes and carries an element of risk for errors. With RPA, «media bridges» can be built between existing systems using the applications themselves.
Example: Client reporting automation at a family office
One classic example where automation significantly adds value is bespoke client reporting.
On a regular basis family offices and trusts report position and performance information to their clients. Specific clients or client groups may have individual requirements in terms of content, layout or consolidation, which are often catered for manually. Here automation provides a significant decrease of effort:
- A robot extracts the information on current position holdings from the internal portfolio management system on a regular, scheduled basis
- Optionally, the automated worker can aggregate and consolidate the data from different sources (e.g. logon to the e-banking platform of the custodian bank or look up an asset price from an external price source)
- The robot then compiles the information into the specific reporting templates, potentially doing some additional data calculation or charting where required
- The reports are stored in a designated folder for final inspection
- An email is sent to the client officers that the reports are ready for review
- Once the reports have been validated, the storage or mailing for clients can also be performed by a robot
The robot executes all standard steps of the process, only leaving final validation and exception handling to the human expert (source: Synpulse «RPA more valuable than full-fledged solutions for mid-size IAMs, FOs”, https://themagazine.synpulse.com/en/2019_07_19_rpa-more-valuable-than-full-fledged-solutions-for-mid-size-iams-fos-synpulse/)
Certainly, there is no «one size fits all» approach when it comes to automation, all companies have different needs, IT setups and processes. Nevertheless, the key factor making automation an attractive solution is the ability to set up processes
- independent of the current systems being used
- in a short period of time for setup.
RPA automates processes instead of using a connection between systems. Our project experience shows that you can typically gain 80% more efficiency with RPA. From experience, there are approximately 10 to 20 processes that can be automated in financial intermediaries.
Feel free to contact us if you would like to learn more about how automation can help your company focus on what you do best – serving your customers!