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.