Carrying out due diligence for new clients can be time-consuming and laborious, but automating the process through regtech could be a game-changer, believes Dolfin COO Amir Nabi.
There has been a lull in new financial regulations over the last year, but nonetheless, onboarding compliance is still a demanding process for advisers and wealth managers. Much of the work involves researching, handling and organising data. However, improved technology can perform the bulk of these tasks much more efficiently and securely.
Dolfin continuously looks at streamlining the entire client journey. This journey starts with onboarding the client, carrying out due diligence as well as suitability risk assessment. Taking into account identification and verification, know your client amongst other checks, to deeply understand them from the outset. This is underpinned by a document management system that allows for initial and ongoing compliance monitoring.
Automating the process – once
Automating the process will capture information once, digitally, in one system and then run screening checks using APIs (application-programming interfaces). These facilitate a broad range of checks such as adverse media, Google searches and sanction-checking. They can be carried out automatically by simply starting with basic information such as; a passport number, date of birth alongside other personal information. This verification process will allow Dolfin to spot anything negative that should be flagged.
"A key benefit is staff time saved - which we use instead for more value-added interaction with the client."
An important aspect of this automation is that it gives us access to real-time screening and monitoring, which we use to populate a compliance dashboard. Then it is easy to pick up the items that we need to be concerned about or that need further investigation. A big benefit of this approach is the staff time we save, which we can instead use for value-added interaction with the client.
How to use the technology needed for this approach requires careful consideration. Part of what is needed can be acquired through best-of-breed regtech offerings that automate traditional manual tasks such as; verification checks and form-filling. However, in addition to this we build our own tools, such as; structure chart builder and approval workflows, to complement vendor solutions. Employing this twin-track approach, Dolfin can automate a considerable amount of data handling, which is central to improving the client journey.
Future-proofing compliance and relationships
For us, automating the onboarding process fits well with concepts of digital wealth management and digital private banking, which many wealth managers and advisers now employ. The idea of bionic wealth management has been widely discussed for some time, and it can now be extended to regulatory compliance as well. With this in mind, much – although not all – of the manual work can be removed altogether.
"Improving the onboarding process also empowers relationship managers so they can better serve clients."
More complex cases will require an exception-based involvement of a human professional who has the right experience and knowledge of reviewing such cases. However, the result of making the onboarding process as smooth as possible is not just beneficial to the back office, it greatly assists the front office too by empowering relationship managers to capture all the right information and in turn offer the right products and services.
Our message to advisors and wealth managers who work with us is that the onboarding process represents an opportunity to digitise and automate the bulk of client relationship compliance. This includes one-off and ongoing tasks, whilst the industry constantly evolves.
We will always be faced with new requirements. Those who combine agile technological tools based on solid real time data with value-add human interactions, will most likely succeed.
This article originally appeared in Dolfin Diary, Dolfin’s weekly look at the people, technologies and ideas shaping the investment landscape.