InvestCloud offers 'periodic table' of apps to help wealth managers digitalise

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A mock periodic table of over 300 apps designed to aid wealth advisers digitalise their businesses differentiates California-based digital wealth platform provider InvestCloud’s offering.

Invest Cloud, which supports more than USD1.7 trillion of assets for managers with under USD50 billion, in addition to several of the largest financial institutions, has recently seen its UK business expanding, not least with the June purchase of rplan for USD20 million.

Andy Creak (pictured), EVP Business Development, at InvestCloud, explains that the company has eight offices around the world, including London, and is building up its capacity in the UK, with the office growing from 10s of people to 60 in the last 12 months.

“Through apps, we provide the ability for any wealth adviser to get this automated investment platform for their clients,” Creak says. “The periodic table showing the library of apps allows you to create the proposition you want.”

Creak’s belief is that over the next three years around 4-500 key wealth asset management businesses will choose digital partners, transforming their businesses from largely paper to a digital automated business.

“We are not saying robo-adviser, we are not saying people are being replaced – it’s more of a complementary thing,” Creak says.

“Clients need digital access to their investments 24 hours a day but they also want a personal relationship and they don’t want great books of paper.”

Creak has found that people have been on varying stages of the journey, having met a wealth adviser who had no access for clients online recently. “But those are becoming fewer and people are saying ‘what is my journey for the next three to five years – I need to know what I am doing’.”

The periodic table of apps is designed to allow wealth managers of whatever size to change their business.

“We do make things happen for our clients,” Creak says. “If people choose every app, we can offer a front to back business solution using our technology, but rarely do you find a client who says ‘I have nothing’. In those cases, we co-exist with your software assets. The next step is how can you digitalise it with your client and have the same empathy as you have in a face to face relationship on an app or a website.”

InvestCloud has ‘Personas’ which allows the client to adapt the offering to suit different demographics – even down to changing the font size on the screen depending on which generation a client comes from.

Research at a recent event hosted by InvestCloud produced the figure that for every 1 per cent you can make your advisers more efficient, if you are a GBP10 million turnover firm it will make your firm GBP1 million more valuable.

“Spending on technology will affect your bottom line and make you more efficient - providing you do it well,” Creak says.

InvestCloud has also observed that ETFs are playing a larger role in the construction of wealth manager portfolios. “We are seeing the breakdown of what was a big barrier between unit trusts and stockpicking,” Creak says. “The commission model has had such a long history.”

The firm is also moving into Europe. “The UK has a tremendous amount of opportunity as most of the 4-500 key firms will be taking digital partner decisions but we are getting lots of calls coming from the larger European markets.”

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