The financial sector has always shown slow-to-change tendencies but rapid developments in investing and technology are shifting that perspective—not to mention the reality. Many financial institutions, eager to maintain stable footing in an ever-shifting landscape, are increasingly looking to do what they can to differentiate their value proposition.
For firms that serve high-net-worth clientele, one logical step is to scale up their family office offering. Doing so opens the door to new client relationships even as it bolsters existing ones. It also helps to distinguish themselves in a crowded field.
But expanding family office services is a demanding undertaking, with all manner of angles to consider. Masttro has partnered with many financial institutions through this process, helping them to scale in a way that is as bold as it is sustainable. We have found that firms that get it right are the ones that do the following:
- Develop a client-centric value proposition. We’ve said before that “wealth-owner centric” has the unfortunate potential to be nothing more than jargon. Actually delivering on the promise starts with one simple step: asking clients what they need and want. Single out those with whom you have a close working relationship or the ones who are most valuable to your operation and talk to them about their biggest struggles.
When we’ve done this, we’ve found some common issues: a lack of understanding of total net worth (both liquid and illiquid assets) and real-time cash flow, difficulties planning for next-gen succession, and a fear of data insecurity. Now consider which of these your institution can solve. Choosing the areas that are natural extensions of the work you already perform, makes any expansion easier for you and will make more sense to your clients.
- Be intentional about scaling new services. Once you’ve determined the obvious areas of expansion, think about what it will take to make sure that expansion is a success. There’s no one-size-fits-all answer here. Different organizations require different delivery models, based on their capabilities and aspirations. Above all, these decisions need to be made deliberately.
Some questions to ponder: Will you go to market with a centralized team that has a top-down, layered-management approach to decision making, or will you rely on a team that spreads decision making across employees and teams? What is your operating model? How will workloads be distributed? How will you avoid bottlenecks?
- Invest in leading technology. Financial services firms that want to be known for their impeccable user experiences gravitate toward SaaS products that have been designed specifically for the high-net-worth market. These solutions are game-changing on multiple fronts.
For wealth owners, wealthtech platforms offer a way to easily apprehend holdings—across asset classes, and with real-time data—at a glance. For institutional advisors, they increase efficiencies, and provide the highest level of data security and the most seamless connections to custodians and banks. The result: a highly sophisticated family office that is sure to satisfy the most discerning clientele.
It’s a fast-changing world. Financial services firms looking to grow their family office services to differentiate themselves are certainly onto something. But without a well-thought-out strategy and smart technology investment, they may not change fast enough.