Edmonton Portfolio Management Firm Gets the Automation System They Always Wanted [Case Study]

Edmonton Portfolio Management Firm Gets the Automation System They Always Wanted [Case Study]

A well-established Edmonton portfolio management firm carries out considerable operational capacity with their small team. They offer high-touch service to clients across Canada and the US, who hold a minimum of $100,000 in household assets.

On a typical day, their portfolio managers take on duties like client trading, bulk trades, annual portfolio reviews, and ongoing duties for regulators. This is when they’re not liaising with referral agents, internal administration, compliance, or custodians. The process to onboard new clients was time-consuming and on occasion daunting, considering the time it can take to follow up with clients. Portfolio managers had to have a call with the investor to gather all of the information manually, and the administration had to spend time transposing or duplicating documents. Clients were left to print and sign forms by hand. Like many other portfolio management firms, their processes meant inefficient back and forths, printing, manual processes, and email follow-ups.

Gearing Up for Change

Since the firm began operating they’ve relied on manual processes. They knew they needed to be more tech-savvy and to develop a better experience for clients, who were looking to be served with features like e-signatures. They didn’t have any e-signing methods before because it would have required special certification or some kind of system to encrypt the data. The firm wanted a convenient way for their onboarding process to be streamlined for clients and staff, and to offer electronic forms throughout the process. Above everything else, it was important for them to increase efficiency.

The firm knew that there were already well-established solutions in the market, and they’d even tried a couple before coming to Mako. The other solutions they tried didn’t cover document preparation and were instead more suited for client relationship management or a portfolio management system. None were flexible, and for the firm, it meant trying them, only to see that they weren’t a fit. Even after exploring custom development, nothing stuck. They had specific needs and it was critical to find a system that could support that.

The firm chose Mako Fintech because it was more customizable than any other system. They were able to build automated processes that were exactly what they needed with the Mako team.

Building the Solution Together

Mako Fintech takes a collaborative approach to client solutions. As such, this Edmonton firm was able to guide the Mako team to get a system designed to cater to their processes. For their regulators, their firm is required to provide a lot of documents. They appreciated being able to explain these processes and have automated workflows built around them, versus having to just see what they would get with an existing platform. Without having any say in the development, they knew they’d be left to have to figure out ongoing gaps on their own. As one Associate Portfolio Manager at the firm explains “it’s nice to be able to give that feedback and be part of what the next steps are and what the development is going to lead to, versus ‘what you get is what you get,’ and it’s not necessarily the system that the clients want.”

Here’s how the process worked for this Edmonton firm to get to the solution they always wanted:

Step 1: Business Process Review
The Mako team kicked off the collaborative business process review by analyzing the documents provided by the firm as well as their specific business requirements. Following the initial review, Mako Fintech’s team presented their recommendations to the firm.

Step 2: Validation & Final Scope
Mako’s analysis and recommendations included automating all of the account opening processes with custodians, developing a custom robo-advisor experience to guide investors through the onboarding process, secure PIN verification, and integrating real-time digital ID verification and AML. These were presented to the firm’s stakeholders for validation.

Step 3: Configuration & Implementation
Once all parties were in agreement, Mako’s Customer Success Engineers built out the client environment and configured the custom workflow automation, including all settings and parameters.

Step 4 Testing, Delivery & Launch
The last step was the Mako team providing access to the newly configured environment, after conducting tests on the system in collaboration with the firm in order to assess that all functionality was satisfactory.

The Mako team delivered a highly custom, scalable solution that fit the exact needs of the portfolio management business, with a white glove onboarding service, and an affordable subscription-based pricing model. Mako acted as a trusted advisor throughout the process, ensuring all necessary workflows, compliance requirements, and automatic audit trails were accounted for. Mako has continued to optimize the product to meet the customer’s wishes post-delivery.

Custom Solutions Lead to Compounding Benefits

Mako Fintech’s approach led to a complete digital transformation of the firm’s existing business processes. The outcome allowed them to adopt technology in a way that fit their needs without compromise, improve client experience, and significantly reduce the time spent administering new clients. The firm outlined a number of auxiliary benefits they experienced from automating their portfolio management processes, including:

Built-In Client Assessment

Mako was able to take the firm’s existing risk categories and client risk assessment questionnaire and build them into the onboarding workflow. The questionnaire helps collect meaningful information on the client’s ability and willingness to take on risk, which helps the portfolio managers to have more insight when determining the client’s risk tolerance and implementing an investment plan. By having that information upfront, their portfolio managers can bring more value to that initial client interaction:

“Even before a call, just doing my prep, I could see what I needed to ask and what points would be the most important to discuss with the client when I hadn’t even spoken to them yet. That’s huge versus going and meeting a client for the first time and having no sense of who they are, or how they feel about investing. It helps us make a much better assessment.”
- Associate Portfolio Manager

Centralized Operations

With many stakeholders involved in client onboarding and management, there are ongoing exchanges between departments. The firm says it’s been really helpful to have a system where their client forms and the status of their onboarding is centralized for everyone.

Access to e-Signatures

Now that the firm has access to e-signatures, their clients have been commenting about how much better it is to go through onboarding because it’s so convenient. Even internally, signatures are now as simple as hopping on a link and e-signing.

Increased Visibility for Compliance

The last couple of steps in the firm’s onboarding workflow are related to compliance. The Mako system gives the team the ability to go in and see everything they need to review in one space easily.

Meaningful Time Savings

The firm finds that just being more digital offers them significant time savings. Forms that were previously filled out manually are now automatically generated. For their administration team, it’s been exceptional time-savings just not having to file all the documents and retype the information.

Today a typical day for the portfolio managers at this Edmonton firm looks drastically different than it used to. Without the burden of manual information exchange and data entry, the firm can focus on more value-added activities for clients, employee development and corporate strategy.

“Mako Fintech is a game-changer — we would highly recommend them.”
- Associate Portfolio Manager

Image Credits

Feature Image: Unsplash/Alex Pugliese

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