Four Big Ideas from the First Rate Wealth Management Conference

Published by Marshall Smith, CIPM, Managing Director - General Manager, Products
March 29th, 2016

First Rate held our annual conference for clients and partners March 20-22nd in Hilton Head, South Carolina.  For those of you that missed out the event, here are four key takeaways that you missed:Harold Presentation

1. New Name, Same Experience. You might have noticed that we have changed the name of our annual conference from a “Performance Conference” to a “Wealth Management Conference”.  While the name is new, the experience is very much the same for our clients and partners but the content and discussions are more broadly applicable to the investment industry.  While in the past, attendees were excited to hear and debate the intricacies of performance measurement methodologies and practices, today it covers a wider array of topics including economic trends, partnered solutions, technology innovation, regulations and best of all, clients sharing their best practices.  Our brand and look has been refreshed, the content is broader but the First Rate culture and customer experience is still the same.

2. Compliance, Compliance…. & Compliance.  While the trend isn’t really new but the escalation of the regulatory pressure on investment management firms continues to rise.  One firm noted that 300 compliance staff was hired in 2015 alone.  In addition, the upcoming DOL ruling is giving everyone unease about the new reporting, disclosure and fiduciary requirements at stake as well.  During a panel discussion of the challenges in oversight of portfolios, two clients discussed how they are being pushed to do more to ensure that portfolios are managed consistently, benchmarked appropriately and central oversight is firmly in place.  First Rate unveiled the Execview solution which was created to help firms provide a scalable and automated management oversight and surveillance of client portfolios.  You can see a demo here.

3. Design = Empathy.  First Rate partnered with Electronic Ink, a design firm, to help us redesign our flagship reporting solution, Advisor Express.  Harold Hambrose, CEO of Electronic Ink, presented a fascinating take on the traditional pitfalls of software design and helped to redefine what successful software design means.  One of Harold’s main points is that design is really empathy.  Empathy for how our clients utilize our solutions and a goal of making their experience more simple, elegant and truly fits their behavioral patterns.  A key takeaway is that often users will report a long list of “it would be cool, if….” and in reality appeasing all of these wish list items can make a user experience so complicated that it defeats the purpose is serving its intended users.Fun

4. Creating Compelling Client Conversations Through Reporting.  Stephen Campisi joined us again for a spirited session on “Creating Compelling Conversations”.  As usual, Stephen shines a light on how the traditional usage of returns, statistics and reporting doesn’t satisfy our clients and misses so much value of the investment process along the way.  Two big takeaways were that clients don’t need returns, they need money and Don’t overlook being invested is the best job a manager can do to serve their clients.  Stephens goal was to help draw out key elements in client facing reports that could help create “Compelling Conversations”, he did just that through encouraging those attending to

  1. Understand client goals
  2. Show outcomes of investing
  3. Look at risk, not just returns
  4. Show value in the investment process decision making

If you attended, you should be receiving a link in the next few weeks to be able to replay any session you missed in the First Rate University Learning Management System! 

We look forward to seeing everyone at next year’s Wealth Management Conference!

About the Author: Marshall Smith CIPM, Managing Director of Service Bureau, has been with First Rate since 2006. In this role he oversees Service Bureau, the business line responsible for clients that outsource their performance processing function, develops and maintains client relationships, and develops strategic planning for all Service Bureau operations. In addition, he leads First Rate’s Marketing team. You can follow Marshall on Twitter @1stRateMarshall, or connect via LinkedIn.

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