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  • In a word, it’s trust: the stuff that holds relationships—and the business—together.

    No prisoners taken

    Until quite recently, the bond between adviser and client could be expected to remain robust through thick and thin. Providing the trust was there and the chemistry was right, the client/adviser relationship could endure the occasional rocky patch. Then along came ‘digital’ and life changed for businesses and consumers. Digitalised entities move quickly; they’re highly transparent and ruthlessly well-organised. As such, buyers are becoming less and less forgiving of tardiness, mistakes and oversights. The same is true of the clients of wealth management firms. Managers which adhere to inefficient working practices will not be capable of serving their clients’ interests as well as they should. Once failings are noticed, trust is eroded.

    Mastery is effective, impressive, builds confidence and strengthens ties

    Being able to demonstrate to the client that the adviser has complete control of their affairs—at all times and under any circumstances—strengthens the union between both parties. Digital tools reveal underlying trends and patterns in a portfolio which helps advisers identify opportunities and/or take corrective action. Digitalisation demonstrates that the adviser is looking after the client’s interests, has their ‘finger on the pulse’ and is acting ethically and responsibly—all of which builds confidence with the client. (Plus of course, 99% of the time, machines don’t make administrative and accounting errors…)

    Technology is a key element in the complicated equation that is trust

    Firms that can provide reliable and comprehensive portfolio details on demand, eliminate admin mistakes, proactively find opportunities and ensure mandates remain suitable, will develop strong client/adviser relationships.

    Other facets of digitalised working which engender trust include:

    • Higher degree of personalisation: digital can identify a client’s unique needs and requirements, create tailored reports and bespoke portfolios designed exclusively for those with non-mainstream requirements
    • Proving provenance: the appealof ethical/sustainable investments continues to grow. Technology will enable managers and their clients to immediately examine the core of a candidate investment to ensure there are no hidden direct or indirect conflicts such as unacceptable governance practices, conflicting subsidiary activities or inappropriate revenue streams. The paucity of data which addresses those matters and the absence of standards or arbiters remains a challenge. However there's little doubt that demand for this level of transparency exists and is increasing rapidly
    • Knowledge on demand: Clients value digital tools and platforms which arm them with instant information

    Taken in its totality, every aspect of digital working further enhances the rapport between clients and their trusted advisers.

    In the age of digital, trust no longer depends solely on chemistry and the people in the front office. it’s about quality of service—across the board.

    Andrew Watson – Head of Regulatory Change, JHC