InvestLink is Datafaction’s newest product offering and we have concluded the pilot of the data aggregation version of the InvestLink product.
From the pilot we have learned a great deal about the product and how to better onboard clients. Here are five key takeaways from the pilot:
1. It's a Front Loaded Onboarding Process - We have found that the onboarding process can take three to four months to complete and that the most time-consuming part of that process is the custodian authorization paperwork. Many times this involves getting a client signature, which as most firms know from experience it can take a while to get a client to sign and send back the paperwork. Firms that are interested in InvestLink should consider creating a catalog of which clients have accounts at which brokerage firms and who the authorized signers are on those accounts. This preparation can go a long way in speeding up the onboarding process.
2. Consistency is Key - We have also found that consistency across the chart of accounts is an important component to a smooth onboarding experience. This makes the initial mapping process easier as well as reducing future exceptions and maintenance.
3. Change in Capabilities Requires a Change in Process – Technology can provide scale and automation, but in order to take advantage of new capabilities firms must sometimes change the way they do things. For example, if you had previously only posted investment updates every quarter, you will want to convert to a monthly update posting process. This will allow for a quicker implementation, but more importantly will allow you to catch errors more quickly. Not only will you be able to provide your clients more frequent updates, but you will save time in the long run.
4. Requires a Champion and a Sponsor – This is true about any major software implementation, but especially as an early adopter of new software. It is critical that each client has a champion. This person is responsible at the firm for the success of the product and ensuring they get the value promised from the solution. This is also the firm’s main point person with the vendor.
Likewise, it is important that there is a senior executive who ‘sponsors’ the effort. They can remove barriers to success and get organizational alignment. Unless a firm has a person filling both of these roles, even the best software can miss the mark and the firm will not get the value from the solution they expected.
5. Expect Exceptions – Finally, clients should expect to have to address exceptions as a regular part of their workflow. Data aggregation is a messy business. Custodians have different file formats and methods of processing information. While there are many ways in the process to try to normalize data and to ensure its completeness and accuracy, it is not always possible to accomplish across all accounts. Some custodians do not provide certain data elements and there may be cases where cost basis information is missing or incomplete. While InvestLink can automate the vast majority of information across a wide range of custodians, it is not a “set it and forget it” system. Accounts need to be reviewed every month and there will be exceptions and errors that need to be addressed. This is still a far better situation than having to deal with everything as a manual exception.
If you would like to learn more, visit our InvestLink page.
To view a pre-recorded presentation click here.
To understand how InvestLink can integrate with Addepar please click here.
Addepar is an independent company that is not affiliated with Datafaction.