Why Advanced Performance Reporting in Wealth Management is a Competitive Advantage
Investment management is a burgeoning industry worth over $100 trillion. However, the market can change on a dime based on a myriad of variables out of anyone’s control.
As Gartner® has noted in recent research, “Changing client requirements, cost, complexity and regulation make reporting capabilities a key factor in selection by investment firms. Clients demand that their money managers make investments in forward-looking, personalized performance and risk reporting.”
Those firms that make investments in dynamic client reporting solutions for investment managers will be able to adapt their reporting and messaging around volatile market conditions and risk far more quickly than those that have to manually put together reports or that use outdated or legacy systems for their reporting needs. As a result, performance reporting in wealth management is a competitive advantage. Specifically, investment managers looking to stand out can do so with wealth management reporting software that delivers customization and also real-time data.
In fact, many firms may be considering changing software providers for trading and portfolio management and are seeking more robust wealth management reporting capabilities. Having advanced reporting as part of the firm’s core portfolio management and trading systems is also more cost-effective and practical than trying to integrate stand-alone reporting solutions.
Understanding how performance reporting for wealth management is a competitive advantage starts with exploring the two most commonly used types of reports, paginated and interactive reports. While traditional paginated reports are valuable, relying on them alone is a recipe for failure. Firms that can also utilize interactive reports can best align with today’s best practices for wealth management reporting.
Traditional Paginated Reports
Paginated wealth management reports have been around since the very beginning. They are part of almost every investment reporting software for asset managers.
NAV reports, transaction reports, and client statements are good examples of paginated wealth management reports that investment advisors typically use. One of the central challenges with older or legacy wealth management reporting software is that it’s more difficult to update or customize reports on an ongoing basis.
Moreover, customization is essential whether companies are using paginated reports internally or for end client needs. When customizing them becomes difficult or prohibitively expensive, it’s time to consider an alternative solution that delivers performance reporting for wealth management.
Report Customization Challenges
Despite the opportunities that performance reporting for wealth management presents, many investment management firms attempt to customize reports in-house using Excel. They do this by exporting “canned” reports from underlying wealth management reporting systems to Excel and rebuilding them using macros.
While this is seemingly an easy and cost-effective solution, challenges arise around data quality as well as the amount of time spent comparing the data with the underlying system reports that the Excel macros utilize.
Additionally, there is the greater issue of the scalability of Excel itself, which is often problematic and creates unnecessary business risk. Being overly reliant on Excel is universally seen as a disadvantage. Because this approach doesn’t follow best practices for investment reporting for asset managers, it is typically another driver for firms looking for alternative investment management reporting software.
Moreover, the inability to customize wealth management reports is a roadblock to creating timely reports that allow investors to understand dynamic market conditions.
Interactive Reports – The Rise of BI (Business Intelligence) Reporting
In addition to paginated reports and Excel, another type of reporting is becoming increasingly prominent and popular with wealth managers. Business Intelligence (BI) reporting delivers reports through interactive dashboards that clients—or end users—can extensively customize which can also include real-time data.
To overcome hitting the scalability “brick wall” encountered with Excel, third-party software work with real-time data in an “Excel-like” format. Starting with Power Pivot (now called Microsoft Power BI) and other solutions like Tableau (now owned by Salesforce.com), investment firms can use BI-type tools for their wealth management reporting needs.
The main challenge these systems pose is that they are not usually integrated with the underlying software used for portfolio management and trading. Ultimately, this means that firms must find a solution that can reliably bring in the necessary underlying data to create BI reports.
Problems with data integrity, data lineage, and other data management challenges can feel endless. As a result, trying to integrate stand-alone BI reporting solutions frequently becomes a frustrating endeavor that is prone to failure.
The Need for Fully Integrated Data Management Tools Within Reporting
Instead of relying on inflexible statement reports or trying to integrate stand-alone BI Reporting solutions, another option is available.
Investment firms should look to providers who offer both types of reporting, particularly those that fully integrate the reports into their underlying software solutions for portfolio management and trading.
The ability to offer performance reporting for wealth management requires a robust data management infrastructure that most software systems lack. Moreover, by supporting regular updates and feature releases, providers demonstrate their long-term commitment to delivering a stronger solution.
Providers offering fully integrated investment management reporting software and managed reporting services deliver countless benefits to firms and their clients.
By offering managed reporting services, providers can eliminate the typical hurdles firms experience regarding wealth management reporting. As firms bring performance reporting for wealth management online, they and their clients can be confident that they have the latest tech in place and the ability to deliver ongoing and “on-demand” report customization.
Factors Fueling Changes to Asset Management Client Reporting Software
The more proactive an investment firm is in finding a better wealth management performance reporting solution, the sooner it can help clients better understand changing market conditions, as well as the investment manager’s own investment decisions and performance. However, while people do need to understand the dynamic marketplace, it’s not the only factor firms should consider.
As younger generations grow wealth — whether through initiative or older generations passing wealth down — investor demographics are shifting. Younger investors have more modern expectations for app-driven access to real-time data within their wealth management reports.
Demands for Transparency
The industry continues to experience increased government oversight in response to security and privacy concerns, and changes to regulations. As a result, clients require more transparency than ever before, which is more readily available within advanced performance reporting for wealth management available to advisors, fund managers, and institutions.
What worked 20-30 years ago is no longer good enough. Today’s investors—and the industry at large—require accuracy and accountability. Older Excel-based paginated wealth management reports simply can’t deliver on a zero-margin for error.
Advanced Performance Reporting for Wealth Management is the Future
Ultimately, investment management firms need both types of reporting in order to be competitive. Clients require a blend of easily-customizable traditional paginated wealth management reports and real-time, highly interactive visualization reports.
The ability to customize reports remains important. However, investment firms can gain a clear competitive advantage by choosing a provider with a managed reporting service and a robust data management infrastructure.
In addition to delivering on the expectations of increasingly tech-savvy investors, choosing a tech-forward solution is an investment in the future. As a result, optimizing reporting capabilities is the best practice for firms looking to maintain and grow their position as an exceptional choice for investors.
The bottom line is that advanced performance reporting for wealth management represents a commitment to future success for investment firms and their clients.
*Gartner, “3 Criteria CIOs Can Use to Evaluate Asset and Wealth Management Reporting Platforms”, li Merji, Darrin Courtney, June 17, 2022.
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INDATA provides best-of-class software, technology, and managed services to a wide variety of buy-side clients including asset managers, registered investment advisors, wealth management firms, pension funds and hedge funds. Find out how INDATA can optimize wealth management performance reporting for your firm.