Taking the Digital Journey to Meet Clients and Advisors Where They Are

In response to the growing demand from clients and advisors for all things digital, a top global investment banking firm engaged North Highland to support its multi-year journey to evolve and integrate digital touchpoints and channels. Through this partnership, the bank improved operational efficiencies and attracted the next generation of clients with flexible options for engaging with the firm.

Client Situation

With the next generation amassing wealth and entering the workforce, digital capabilities have never been more important than they are today. Whether it’s instating paperless operations for advisors’ assistants, giving compliance teams better oversight over digital client interactions, or accelerating virtual client acquisition, financial services firms say “digital disruption” is the top factor driving change in their strategic agendas.[1] Additionally, 53 percent of global wealth management firms reported a major increase in client demand for digital capabilities compared to a year ago.[2]

Our client, a top global investment banking firm, recognized this growing demand for all things digital and engaged North Highland to help them adapt and find new ways to serve clients. Since then, the firm has been on a multi-year journey to evolve and integrate digital touchpoints and channels to improve operational efficiencies and attract the next generation of clients with flexible options for engagement.

With our support, our client has successfully developed and implemented an industry-changing digital strategy for their wealth and asset management business that has enabled the firm to deliver an unmatched, seamless digital experience for clients and advisors.

Our Approach

Through engagements over several years, we worked alongside our client to craft a customized blueprint for their digital journey. We took a holistic view of the firm to cut down silos and enable collaboration horizontally across the business.

We leveraged our industry knowledge to serve as their trusted advisor, helping our client test-and-learn quickly with a partner who could build digital capabilities with them, for them and make change happen.

We helped the firm define team structure and roles, streamline agency communications, navigate strategic decisions, establish and implement new processes, adapt and overcome unforeseen challenges, and prioritize efforts to maximize impact. This included demonstrating ROI quickly to build momentum and secure buy-in across the organization.

In the early stages of the client’s digital journey, we utilized digital enablement to create a platform appealing to the next generation of clients.

In subsequent phases of the digital journey, we helped our client incorporate and evolve digital capabilities to enhance the advisor-client experience. They tapped into our seamlessly integrated teams that consisted of experts in wealth management, advisor strategy, UX/UI, data and analytics, technology, organizational design, change and adoption, and training and development. We put our first-hand understanding of the nuances and complexities of the advisor-client relationship to work to determine what needed to change about the client experience, advisor behavior, compliance constraints, marketing support, data cleanliness and controls, and technology integrations.

Along the digital journey, our client experienced a handful of learnings:

  • Digital enablement requires new ways of working across lines of business (LOB).

  • Digital strategy and execution must be centralized and coordinated across LOBs and functions to ensure the client and advisor experiences are connected and streamlined.

  • Profitability does not happen immediately after implementation. Key performance indicators need to track leading indicators toward longer-term success.

Value Delivered 

For our client, going digital fueled a cohesive, integrated client experience across front-, middle-, and back-office touchpoints. After our multi-year partnership, we have equipped them with the lasting capability to stand on their own and carry this momentum forward. The firm continues to operate with an always-on transformation mindset, constantly seeking new ways to operate more efficiently and exceed client expectations with digital capabilities. In fact, this journey generated over 50 percent increase in Assets Under Management (AUM) over the first, three years and an additional over 200 percent over the next five years.

As our client learned through our partnership, digital must permeate everything and everyone—anchored on the client, but realized through coordinated front-, middle-, and back-office innovation. With this holistic, ecosystem point of view, the firm has been able to connect the client and advisor experiences with streamlined multi-channel digital touchpoints that outperform industry standards

[1] “The Future is Horizontal: Competing on Enhanced Experience and Efficiency in Financial Services,” North Highland, 2020.

[2] “COVID-19: A Global Perspective on the Impact on Wealth Management,” Aite Group, 2020.