Stanford Brown: Implementing a secure client portal

I recently had the pleasure of interviewing two extraordinary ladies from Stanford Brown; Lori Chapel, Head of Advice Operations and Alison Maine, Compliance Coordinator and Advice Projects Leader.

Lori oversees all of the internal processes and systems to improve efficiencies and ultimately make it easy for clients to engage with the firm in a compliant manner. With 15 years in Financial Services, Lori’s role as Head of Advice Operations at Stanford Brown focusses on driving continuous operational improvement. She collaborates with internal and external business partners to source, design and implement system and process efficiencies that enhance Advice Delivery whilst ensuring an exceptional client experience.

Alison has been with Stanford Brown for over 12 years and her role is to find opportunities to enhance the client experience and to optimise systems, which led her to have an integral part in the research and launch of the Stanford Brown white-labelled portal and mobile app developed by myprosperity. As Compliance Coordinator & Advice Project Leader, Alison implements, monitors and reports on Stanford Brown’s compliance policies to ensure adherence and leads and manages projects involving technology, providing training to all staff with the new developments.

Stanford Brown looks after 950 high networth individuals and family groups which consist of approximately $2 billion of funds under management. Alongside the private wealth business is the accounting division, corporate benefits division and the firm is soon launching a finance division to further their offering in the market. Lori mentions that within the private wealth arm, “Our main focus is to help our clients have a truly great life.”

In terms of tech, Lori mentions they use Xplan as the CRM for back office and document production and myprosperity for their client facing portal and custom branded app. The myprosperity platform won the firm’s internal Innovation of the Year award in 2021 thanks to the efficiencies and seamless client experience and brand awareness it created. Stanford Brown currently use their client portal and app across both their private wealth and accounting businesses and are looking to expand the service into their corporate client team.

Initially Alison and Lori thought myprosperity would be a great cashflow tool, but soon realised it was more powerful and collaborative. Alison and the team initially piloted the portal internally, with each Stanford Brown staff member receiving their own personal myprosperity account as an employee benefit alongside various training sessions. Lori mentions, “It was really important that we had a high level of engagement with our staff, before we even approached our clients.”

Once the advisers and in particular the client services team had a strong understanding of the app, it was then introduced to a small pilot group of clients, knowing that the team would be able to provide a sufficient level of support.

After a few months the team scaled out the introduction of the portal to all clients. Lori mentions, “The easiest way to get initial client engagement is through the digital doc signing and doc storage.” Lori also mentions that the scale out approach they took was slow and steady. The advisers would introduce the portal to clients one-on-one in review meetings which was the most effective way to roll out the new technology to their clients.

Another great feature in the portal that is frequently used for secure sharing of information with third parties is Rooms. Rooms collaboration with sharing docs has boosted relationships with referral partners. The team uploads every advice document for clients including ATP’s, FDS and SOAs. They also encourage clients to upload their own documents such as wills, insurances, passports etc.

To further the use of myprosperity’s engagement features like eSigning, storage and sharing, Stanford Brown have digitised three custom versions of their fact find in the portal, including their risk only fact find. “We love the efficiencies we have gained from the data collection piece in our portal.” Alison mentions the firm has also upgraded many clients to the full version of the client portal to receive data feeds. Their team enjoys the time savings from not having to chase information and the fact that it feeds into Xplan via the integration, so there is no double-handling of data. Sending documents or links via email is not a viable and secure solution so being able to onboard new clients via myprosperity is well received.

Even with the slow and steady approach, Stanford Brown have seen efficiencies ramp up since implementing their white-labelled client portal and app with myprosperity. The top three efficiencies Lori and Alison have seen include; a smoother client onboarding experience, time savings (with doc storage and eSignatures) and its doubled use as a collaboration piece.

The firm manages over 300 SMSFs and works with many different accountants, so myprosperity’s collaboration tools such as Rooms help streamline these relationships. Many of these external accountants appreciate the efficiencies gained from working with Stanford Brown using a collaborative piece of software like Rooms, so much so that many of them become referral partners for the firm.

In summary, Lori and Alison believe that when it comes to introducing new tech to staff and clients, the slow and steady approach is better. Get staff involved and focus on innovation, not just compliance. 

Listen to my recent discussion with Stanford Brown here.

 

Karolina Kuszyk (KK)

Head of Wealth at myprosperity

Karolina brings over 14 years experience in the Tech industry. Her previous role as a Field Partner Manager at MYOB, paved her way into the FinTech space. She joined myprosperity as employee number 8 and has played an instrumental role in driving growth since.

Annature

Annature

by Annature

 

myprosperity and Annature deliver a seamless eSignature experience for you and your clients to securely share and sync documents across the two platforms. This integration gives users the ability to improve engagement and elevate customer satisfaction by leveraging the sophistication of the myprosperity platform with the power of a purpose-built digital signing tool Annature.

Login to the myprosperity client portal. From the menu, navigate to Configure – Integrations, and select Annature. Then follow the prompts, it takes just a few seconds to complete the set up. Find more information on integration setup here.

Combining tech with emotional intelligence

John Cachia is well recognised in the financial advice industry for his Direction of AFA Group Wealth. A 2021 AFA Great Advice Award Vic Finalist, FSPower50 Most Influential Financial Adviser, AdviserRatings Top 30 in Australia and most recently the National Chair of the Association Financial Advisors, John’s introduction to financial planning started back in 2003 at the ripe old age of 14, where he went to work for his cousin’s financial advisory business CCA Financial Planners and loved it. John would go help out as the office manager after school and during holidays and absolutely fell in love with the industry. Seeing what an impact his cousin was making to an individual’s life gave John enough clarity and aspiration to work his way up. Being grateful for the opportunity to learn from his cousin Christopher Cachia, John at 20 years of age decided to take a leap of faith and started his own business. 

Starting a business at a young age was incredibly hard and, wanting to be taken seriously, John would put this really professional facade on to make himself the part. After a few years of doing a lot of things wrong he learnt, adapted and started doing things right. As he built up momentum, John understood that this industry can be very, very powerful, but he realised that advice needed to be made more affordable and offered it to people who needed it most. John has a passion for helping young families with young kids going through that massive lump where they’re potentially buying or upgrading their house. They’ve got school fees that are coming up and they’re navigating through the holidays that they still want to have, because the kids are driving them mad. “Technology helps me navigate through this more efficiently, most of these people are busy and can’t get on top of their finances therefore I created the process to scale efficiencies,” he reflected. John started to build a value proposition and fortunately could connect on a deeper level with these clients as he also has a young family.

John reflects fondly that the lightbulb moment occurred when he had the opportunity to travel to Stanford University to attend a leadership course. It was here that he realised he could take his practice to the next level. “We created a seamless process for young families to find a pathway to financial freedom with the highest level of certainty in a simple, sustainable, scalable way through technology.” John’s clients don’t have the time to sit and keep up with everything, therefore the team needed to be as clear and as simple as possible. It also enabled John to be up front with them as much as possible, keeping them to the plan, managing their money and managing them. “I can tell you, the people who focus on IQ right now and do what they used to do are going to be overrun with technology. We use technology to help keep a close connection,” says John, “Technology cannot replace our emotional intelligence, therefore technology and emotional intelligence is the key to success.”

John introduces the myprosperity app and Fact Find to his clients from the very beginning of the relationship. Being a completely paperless business and conducting the majority of meetings virtually has helped scale up the business to be more efficient and profitable. John intentionally sends the full Fact Find to prospects prior to the initial meeting with a clear and strict 48-hour timeframe. “It means we get more committed clients and it eliminates the time wasters,” he explains. This allows for much more in depth conversations and to see whether the client is the right fit for AFA Group Wealth as well. Much of the first conversation is around goals and aspirations, bringing their subconscious into the conscious. John uses Time Traveler techniques to get the client to imagine they were 80 years old, and ask them to describe how their life would look and break it down to really uncover a clear picture of how AFA Group Wealth can help them. John predominantly uses the Fact Find in the myprosperity portal to consolidate all of the assets and liabilities and the Cashflow to show clients their actual expenditure and help them track it. John mentions that the next phase of myprosperity implementation will be eSigning and Rooms. The ability to collaborate with clients on specific tasks like annual reviews all in one place in Rooms will be a huge advantage and time saver for AFA.

John’s biggest advice to firms that are trying to implement tech for efficiency and scale is to analyse their current situation and how they can make it more efficient and more engaging for clients. “Paper based Fact Finds are ludicrous! Printing out documents to sign and scan is ludicrous! Advisers need to question what is the alternative? If you’re not going to digitise, you’re losing efficiency. If you’re not efficient, well, then what else is it costing you?” Using myprosperity and other technologies in other parts of the business have allowed John to free up his time so that he is doing what he needs to do, which is seeing clients and managing the business. 

John’s biggest ambition is to help be the voice of advisors to the boards that are governing this profession. That also includes the people and the suppliers, and everyone who’s integrated in the advice profession, so that everyone can thrive into the next decade, stronger than we’ve ever been before. Collaboration among advisors and these professional bodies will strengthen the industry and create more accessible advice. “Rising tides raise all ships, so I’m excited to see what’s to come,” he said, adding “I’m collaborating and sharing along this journey so that we all are in a better place in years to come.”

 

Karolina Kuszyk (KK)

Head of Wealth at myprosperity

Karolina brings over 14 years experience in the Tech industry. Her previous role as a Field Partner Manager at MYOB, paved her way into the FinTech space. She joined myprosperity as employee number 8 and has played an instrumental role in driving growth since.

4 key ingredients for an engaging mobile experience

In the last two months, the myprosperity app experienced a record number of mobile logins, expressing the demand clients have for on-the-go connection with their trusted accountant or adviser. In fact, 66% of all clients using myprosperity prefer to login on mobile over other devices. The future is mobile, and it’s taking off.

When Nokia launched the popular game “Snake” in 1997 it took the world by storm and was declared the “first mobile app”. It was simple, engaging, and anyone could easily learn how to play. Since then, mobile apps have undergone a rapid change in complexity and functionality, expanding from entertainment to inform, assist, connect and engage people across the globe. 

Coupled with the introduction of the smartphone, we’ve seen mobile apps rapidly expand into every industry – including the financial sector. People expect their accountant or adviser to be across all channels, but especially mobile – because if I can order groceries, check into flights, make purchases and find love on my phone, why shouldn’t I also be able to access financial advice, view my cashflow and track my investments on there too?

Admittedly, it’s all very well to have an app for each of these tasks (or one that does it all) but this falls to the wayside if the app lacks a key ingredient – an engaging experience. Here are a couple ways to ensure your clients use your myprosperity mobile app effectively and find value in it;

1. Onboarding & Change Management

When using any new product or process there is a level of change management that needs to occur to move people from their current solution to the new solution. For our app this starts with onboarding new clients. myprosperity’s National Training Manager, Karen Kairouz, provided insight on the importance of onboarding your clients so they can use the app effectively. “There are a few things to consider when you introduce your clients to your mobile app for the first time

  • Explain the basic functionality of the app so your client can immediately understand the value that will be gained from engaging with you on this channel.
  • Have a clear focus on what they will be using the app for initially e.g. Signing their tax return or completing a form like a fact find or tax checklist. 
  • Give clear guidance on how to use the app ongoing with you and by themselves – Whether it’s to upload documents, sign forms or communicate with instant chat. I suggest starting off with Rooms. 

Be careful not to overwhelm your clients with too much information at once. Explain that when they use the app, they can use Rooms to collaborate with you on specific tasks such as tax planning. Finally, it’s important to review how your clients are engaging with your mobile app. What features are they using well? Which areas do they need help with? Research and develop education strategies and focussed communications around these areas to help grow and improve your mobile strategy whilst enhancing the client experience.”

2. Personalisation

A report from McKinsey&Company revealed that mobile sales engagement for financial services can be increased by personalising your clients’ app experience. If we consider that an increase in user engagement leads to more opportunities to offer additional services, personalising your mobile app can observe up to 15 percent growth in revenue.

Customising your clients’ user experience can be done in numerous ways, but the most effective techniques revolve around your clients’ needs, demands and behaviours. Once you establish this, consider using personalised push notifications with relevant content or configuring your services so that clients aren’t sifting through solutions that are not meant for them. By putting the features and functions that are most relevant to your clients first, you can create a more engaging digital experience whilst streamlining your team’s workflow by getting forms filled in and eSignatures completed faster on mobile.

Director at Integral Private Wealth, David Simon commented on the transformation a branded app has brought to his practice, “We recently undertook to have myprosperity build our own branded app and we are delighted with the client engagement that it has delivered. The customer interface is impeccably clean and easy to navigate which makes for a far better client experience and helps to reinforce our brand as a digitally progressive advice firm,” he said. 

 

3. Security

The number of mobile apps for banking, investment and financial services have skyrocketed since the 2010s, with 6 in 10 users preferring to complete their finance related tasks like checking investments via a mobile app. People worry less and less about cyber theft, with the introduction of Multi-Factor Authentication, Biosecurity and rigorous security audits. Security and privacy policies have become so substantial that we no longer blink an eye at the thought of using a mobile app to check an account balance or make a purchase.

A key focus for myprosperity is providing a platform that both our partner firms and their clients can trust. Therefore, we continue to invest in platform security to provide peace of mind. One element of this is maintaining our ISO 27001 certification, which verifies our platform across mobile and desktop at the global standard for data security and compliance.

4. Omnichannel presence

Having a presence across clients’ mobile, tablet and desktop screens means your clients won’t feel restricted to using just one channel to engage with you. In fact, a study from Invesp revealed that firms that employed an omnichannel digital presence retained 89% of their clients. Compare this to firms that used a single digital channel (i.e. desktop) to engage clients and retained only 33% – it’s clear to see that if you’re not on mobile, you’re nowhere.

If you’d like to know more about myprosperity’s mobile-first plans, book a demo today.

Josh Centner

Chief Product Officer at myprosperity

With a background in product innovation and agile management consulting for organisations such as IOOF, NAB, ANZ, PageUp and Xero, Josh brings over 13 years of knowledge in product innovation to the myprosperity team.

Hamilton Wealth: Adding client value & driving efficiencies

It was my pleasure to interview Tom Hamilton, Head of Operations and Marketing from Hamilton Wealth, a client of myprosperity for over two years. Hamilton Wealth started 9 years ago when Will Hamilton, Tom’s father, founded the company and later partnered with John Green and Kane Baranow. The firm today has four advisers, a CSM team, Head of Operations and Marketing and roughly 100 clients. Tom explains that essentially the firm is a ‘wealth manager’, where predominantly pre retiree families seek assistance in managing and protecting their investment portfolios to secure the future of their retirement and inheritance for their children and grandchildren. 

Tom shared the journey of unprecedented growth the firm has experienced over the last two years since the pandemic. ‘The uncertainty of the market has presented an opportunity to look after more families seeking guidance and security in managing their wealth.’ The adoption of myprosperity was timely, as it has helped tremendously in the onboarding of new clients. Tom admits the biggest challenge the firm faced was not having visibility of a client’s position and it would take several follow ups. ‘With our Hamilton wealth portal and app, we can access consolidated up to date client information seamlessly which has created immense efficiencies for our advisers and CSM staff.’ Tom mentions that a few of their clients would track their wealth in spreadsheets, so when he introduced them to the app, they were incredibly impressed. ‘Showing all our clients their up to date balance sheet has been a huge value add for our firm.’

The portal has uncovered other opportunities for Hamilton Wealth too, which has strengthened their relationships and built trust. Tom states that it’s critical to show your clients a demo account of the app, so that they understand the value and can be guided through the initial set up. ‘It’s about setting a clear vision, that this is the tool we will use in the client journey moving forward.’ The Rooms feature has helped Hamilton Wealth move clients away from email. ‘Being able to securely share documents in a chat room, sign documents, send digital forms and set push notifications as reminders has eliminated the need to follow up.’ Another big plus that Tom expressed is the ability to store wills and power of attorneys securely in the portal. The advisers encourage clients to upload a copy of their will to the portal. Tom notes that their clients have begun adding their children and grandchildren into their team areas, so god forbid something happens to them, they have access to all of the up to date data including the wills in one place.

Tom’s advice to firms that are looking to digitalise in 2022 is to trust the process. ‘Technology used the right way can be incredibly powerful, you need to trust it and you need to start somewhere.’ It has taken the firm two years to fully implement the portal and app, so it is a process that is worth starting to drive practice efficiencies and add value for your clients.

 

Karolina Kuszyk (KK)

Head of Wealth at myprosperity

Karolina brings over 14 years experience in the Tech industry. Her previous role as a Field Partner Manager at MYOB, paved her way into the FinTech space. She joined myprosperity as employee number 8 and has played an instrumental role in driving growth since.