Toronto-based Designed Wealth Management is an independent introducing brokerage firm with $550M in assets under management and a mission to put client experience first. As a new firm, “we really wanted the top-level technology that we could find,” says CEO, Gillian Kunza who selected Mako Fintech as the solution provider for their IIROC channel Designed Securities.
The firm has over a dozen new advisors in less than a year, and is growing quickly. The Mako Fintech system allowed Designed to easily perform bulk repaperings in record time for each one.
Using Mako, Designed can onboard new investors through their advisors, at the carrying broker level, in a matter of minutes. By leveraging Mako’s integrations with Dataphile and Aviso Correspondent Partners, the firm allows clients to start transacting immediately. Gillian explains that even with other technology providers, this type of action can take upwards of two weeks to complete.
We sat down with Gillian at her Toronto office to unpack her journey with Mako. We asked her about her selection criteria, any concerns she had, what the process was like, and wanted to learn more about the experience she’s set out to create with Designed Wealth Management. Watch the full interview here:
The transcript of this interview is available below.
“When you use technology, and that’s pretty much any technology, there’s an inherent expectation for speed and accuracy. Clients these days and advisors don’t even want to wait a single second on a page or have to type something in more than once if they don’t have to. With that expectation, it’s hard to find solutions that keep people happy, especially because there are so many components and perspectives that you have to consider - with head office, with clients, with advisors…so for us, it’s really exciting that we have a partner with Mako and they understand that expectation.
My name is Gillian Kunza and I’m the Co-Founder and Director of Designed Wealth Management. We’re a wealth management platform that serves advisors across all regulatory channels. In the last seven months, we’ve had a lot of activity in our IIROC channel Designed Securities. We’ve had a dozen advisors join us with a few more on the horizon, and we now have about $550M in assets under management.
...we were seeking top security as well as something that would be really simple to use for clients and advisors, as well as our staff.
As a new firm, we were looking at what our solution would be for electronic onboarding and forms. There are a lot of options out there, a lot of different solutions, but we really wanted the top-level technology that we could find. So we were seeking top security as well as something that would be really simple to use for clients and advisors, as well as our staff, which a lot of solutions don’t really accomplish. So that was pretty key in coming up with Mako.
Our biggest concern was flexibility. We’ve used other systems in the past and the problem we found was that when we wanted to make even a small change, it took weeks to make. Or what we thought was quite simple, was something the developers simply couldn’t do for us. So we were pretty skeptical going into this process to make sure that when we did our due diligence, the company was able to show us that they have agile development, and can be really flexible with what our needs are. [Also] Mako had already partnered with our carrying broker, Aviso Correspondent Partners, and we thought it was important to leverage that integration that was already in place.”
“We use Mako daily because of the amount of accounts we’re opening right now. We also work with our advisors to get feedback and new ideas for how Mako could be used in the future - for other features or ideas that they want to see - so we’re really working with Mako day-to-day every hour of the day.
Advisors can see what workflows are waiting with their clients…Our compliance officers can have an idea of how much volume is coming at them…and advisors can even see which compliance officer is working on their account.
Everybody is using the same system and living inside the same ecosystem, so what clients use is what advisors use, and that’s what head office uses, and that’s what goes to our carrying broker. So for us, we can see where something is along the way, and that’s not just us but that’s also advisors. Advisors can see what workflows are waiting with their clients, who’s opened a workflow, who started it…Our compliance officers can have an idea of how much volume is coming at them, and they can see if things are waiting for clients to sign them or advisors, and advisors can even see which compliance officer is working on their account. So the overall transparency from everyone’s perspective is completely critical for what we have going on.
There’s something about the system that just brings everything together and makes it really really efficient. So it’s hard to imagine how many more people we would have had to hire just to get through our last seven months.”
“The main factor is that it saves a lot of time. When we’ve talked with other advisors, we know that with other systems an account can take upwards of two weeks to open. With Mako, it can take sometimes 15 or 20 minutes to get an account opened at the carrying broker, where you can start putting money into the client’s account and doing transactions.
Mako is taking the work out of paperwork. It’s taking forms, it’s taking things clients need to sign, and it’s making a seamless workflow.
By choosing Mako you’ll save time, you’ll have a collaborative partner, and you’ll really be able to set up your business for the things you want to do and accomplish in the future. Mako can work with any firm. From a fundamental standpoint, Mako is taking the work out of paperwork. It’s taking forms, it’s taking things clients need to sign, and it’s making a really seamless workflow. So the clients of Mako - it’s an endless number of users that can use the system. Advisors can advocate to use the system…there’s any number of people that will find the same benefit, by using Mako.”
It’s really important that your technology partner understands your audience and understands who you’re serving, which is the Canadian investor. With Mako, we found it extremely valuable that they understood that. So when we worked with their team they understood that everything we were doing was impacting a Canadian client that our advisors are working with, and we didn’t have to convince them that those are the people they’re making these changes for - not us, but really the end client.
...a client has to have a near-perfect experience and there need to be near-perfect results for the experience to be a positive one …they understand that and they more than deliver.
Basically, a client has to have a near-perfect experience and there needs to be near-perfect results for the experience to be a positive one - so we’re really fortunate to have found Mako because they understand that and they more than deliver.
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