“The wealth management industry is a people business,” says Tim Waterton, VP of UK Business at M-Files. “Financial advisers look at the life events on a client journey and are focused on trying to deploy the right range of products at the right time. It’s a huge information challenge which often sees advisers needing to work across fragmented systems and struggle to get a single view of the client.”
Having originated in Finland, the M-Files core proposition focuses on delivering intelligent information management solutions to a diverse range of markets across the world. According to Waterton, what makes the business unique is its approach to how information is stored.
“We all have complex structures on our personal computer or laptop where we store information,” Waterton says. “When storing documents, we tend to focus on what it is rather than where it is. Typically, the decision is made on which folder or drive you will save to.”
The M-Files’ approach is to describe what the document is, giving it metadata and properties. “That means we can organise content in a way that makes sense for the business. In the case of one of our biggest sectors – wealth and financial services, this might mean that all documents – from insurance policies to advisory notes – are all stored to the individual client. The key is having a single view of the client, which means we can present all the supporting documents in context.”
M-Files employees close to 600 employees, servicing 9,000 customers across the globe. Having grown organically in the Nordics, it expanded seven years ago into the US, opening in Dallas, then into the UK, France and Germany, followed by Australia and Canada.
Elaborating on the use case for M-Files in the wealth management space, Waterton outlines the challenges the industry has faced when trying to digitally transform.
Waterton believes that technologies, like artificial intelligence (AI) have the ability to connect and automate fragumented systems but any implementation of the technology must be done smartly.”
“Historically, personal service has often acted as a driver for loyalty amongst high net worth individuals (HNWIs), but the emergence of the millennial generation is shifting priorities. NextGen HNWIs have grown up with instant access to information and see cutting-edge technology tools as a basic requirement for any investment scenario. The emphasis is on the wealth managers to provide the resources to meet these demands, but many are not doing this. Not only is this frustrating for investors but also for staff of those wealth management firms.”
M-Files includes a whole set of artificial intelligence (AI) services that are built within the platform which allows the servicing and identifying of information from within the documents.
Using the M-Files system, an adviser can identify from a client name the dates of communications and products associated with that client.
Doing so means investors are provided with not only much needed visibility over the health of their wealth but it also enables wealth managers to become more productive in their roles, Waterton says. “Advisers spend less time managing information and more time thinking about and advising their clients which frees them up to focus on their job rather than being part time data managers.”
Waterton believes that AI can help to automate on-boarding processes, provide smarter access to data and create new customer experiences, and sees it best applied in small-steps,
“This starts with automating and streamlining manual processes, such as onboarding a new client. This could include all forms of engagement from initial communications, anti-money laundering checks, risk profiling, and all the legal documentation in between. Additionally, by using intelligent information management solutions, staff have the means to simplify how they access, secure, process and collaborate on documentation. Doing so will aid productivity, enabling staff to find and access information across their systems much faster so they can build stronger relationships with their clients.”
Concluding, Waterton says, “it is important that organisations don’t sit back and let technologies like AI pass by. Equally, a gung-ho approach of automating every process is also not the answer. It’s important to strike a balance which enables information to be managed, secured and shared in an efficient and intuitive manner”