Human user display

Behind the Scenes: Areas for Technical Innovation Beyond Core Services for Financial Services Firms

Innovation in financial services technology is typically based around its primary services such as trading, clearing, advising, investing, etc. This makes complete sense as it’s part of the firm’s primary business, is client facing, has a direct impact on sales, and is easy to create buzz around. Now the latest innovations in FinTech, are focused on internal processes and operational areas to innovate and grow.

New technologies from the cloud to cross-system connectivity provide firms with cheaper, faster, better, more secure access to data and offer new capabilities for connecting various systems and functionality. Carl Gilmore, a clearing firm consultant in a recent Engine 39 blog post said, “Reorganize workflows around a central technology spine or framework in a way that allows all of the functional disciplines in an organization to communicate with each other in an effective way.” Combining and connecting software-as-a-service products with customized applications is now even easier than ever.

Based on my experience in speaking with a number of clients and prospects over 15 years of business, I’ve identified areas that are ripe for innovation but are not always prioritized and sometimes even ignored.

Operations optimization: streamlining operational tasks to create efficiencies that serve clients faster, more accurately and cost effectively. An example includes performing requests such as account withdrawal requests online, while having the entire process completed online (including all approvals, client notification, and the actual execution of the transaction).

Regulatory: utilizing changes in technology to ensure or streamline the tasks needed for compliance reasons. RegTech is the buzz word used for this tech. For instance, we developed Quick1FR as a direct response to solve the problem of posting daily financial statements to an FCM’s website as required by CFTC Rule 1.55.

Customer Experience: this range can include design improvements such as improving the customer’s user experience (UX) in the client portal, performing support/operational tasks that are largely self-serve or easy to request, or accessing additional information and resources previously not available. As customers increasingly interface more with portals and tools provided by a firm than with customer service, they expect attractive, easy-to-use interfaces and judge the service provided based on their user experience.

Intelligence: creating meaningful data displays, reporting and “smart features” that add value to your overall service based on aggregating and processing data. These features provide customers with more insight and access to information that can make them a better trader/investor, increase their reliance on your system, and create loyalty.

Marketing / Sales Connectivity: when it comes to CRMs, many firms often use them like a giant (and expensive) Contact Book. CRMs should be more than just a place to store contacts and log sales calls. Instead, tie CRM data to actual account information, your website, support center, and automated marketing tools. CRMs can not only execute better marketing campaigns, but also help manage the overall customer relationships (that’s the R in CRM).

Some of the areas in this list like Marketing / Sales, and User Experience related changes are easier to push through to approval, while others such as operations streamlining and intelligence don’t have the same luster or are perceived to add little value because they are harder to quantify.

For companies with the mandate or the desire to innovate, balancing improvements across various areas of the enterprise and incorporating various groups’ needs are vital to continuing to be competitive.

 

Put our innovative solutions to work for your firm. Learn more about FCM1, our client onboarding and management portal, and the customized development solutions we provide to leading firms. Our applications help streamline processes, provide access to data, and can reduce overall operational costs. Contact us for a free consultation and review of our products and services.