Client reporting is still dominated by traditional models and digitalisation needs to move higher on the agenda if asset managers want to stay competitive, according to a new report – The Future of Client Reporting – by financial services firm Sionic.
The survey canvassed 47 asset managers, with over half having assets under management up to £50 billion, and the remainder varying in size up to more than £1 trillion.
There are several challenges with 60% noting incorporating sustainability data into existing reporting outputs as an issue, while two-thirds felt implementing regulatory changes is a hindrance to improving client communication.
A mere 6% feel confident they already have a digital solution that fits their needs.
High on the wish list for more than six in 10 is improved efficiency and reduced operational costs from their client reporting.
When it came to methods of client reporting, 83% of asset managers had an automated method of producing PDF versions of client reports while over half are also at the early stages of digitalisation, enabling clients to access reports via websites, portals and mobile apps.
According to authors Clare Vincent-Silk and Rebecca Gashi, respectively a partner and principal consultant at Sionic.Asset, there are many reasons that managers are struggling to address these challenges.
The biggest hurdle for 71% are problems in collating data from dispersed and fragmented sources while 69% believe that the situation is further exacerbated by out of date and inflexible technology,
Resource constraint is also a problem for 57% especially finding staff with digital knowledge and experience
Looking to the future, 72% agree or strongly agree that they want to provide clients with bespoke reports, tailored to their specific requirements, with the same proportion desiring the ability for clients to take a deep dive into their underlying investment data.
Vincent-Silk and Gashi note that asset managers need to develop their client reporting capabilities to be more integrated with the sales and marketing function, allowing for an improved end-to-end client journey.
The service not only needs to offer greater flexibility of content through more parameter-driven, customised reporting but also more harmonised and consistent content across all methods of communication. They note that this can best be achieved using a single reporting platform.
“The expectation is that client reporting platforms will evolve to be more client centric and enhance the engagement continuum to a broader scope of information and services,” say the authors.
They add, “Unless firms embrace a digitalised approach to the provision of information, they risk being left behind as others benefit from increased client engagement, more loyal clients and therefore greater client retention.”