How digital tools help to maintain business during the actual crisis – The Wealth Manager’s perspective

April 30, 2020
Wealth management

We invite some of the leading wealth managers in Switzerland to take part in WealthTalks, a series of discussions held at conferences, seminars and – most recently – a webinar on the most important trends and developments in our industry.

Following our last event – ‘How digital tools help to maintain business during the actual crisis’ – one of our clients, Eric Roditi from RJ Management, shares with us his insights about today’s context at RJ in the form of an interview. Enjoy your reading!

How does the current situation influence your business?

Our business has been impacted on two main levels. Firstly, financial markets and clients: our main mission is to preserve and grow our clients’ wealth. In this time of fear and uncertainty, markets have plunged and clients are following the situation more closely than ever before. We need to make sure that we maintain a tight relationship with all clients, explain how we handle the crisis at a portfolio level and remain available at all times. In our industry, where face-to-face meetings, lunches and dinners are very common, we need to maintain the same level, quality, and intensity of services. Secondly, team and continuity plan: we had to make sure that our team is safe and able to work remotely in an equally efficient way. In order to make this happen, we obviously had to make small tech adjustments and improvements.

How and what do you communicate to the clients?

There are four main channels: classic calls, WhatsApp, Zoom and emails. When it comes to communication, I believe that the most important thing is to demonstrate to our clients that we can deliver the same level of service from home

How does technology help you in these unusual circumstances?

Historically – and most of us will agree – our industry has been reluctant to change. This unexpected and unprecedented crisis will significantly accelerate the shift towards new technologies, more specifically the ones that boost remote efficiency. Now, my objective is not to advertise WealthArc or any PMS/CRM solutions, but I just want to stress that having WealthArc up and running with all our 15 custodians is an absolute game changer. The two senior partners at RJ have visited more than 6,000 WeathArc pages in March, and everything worked perfectly well. We also use the techs such as Zoom and Slack to better embrace the “stay at home challenge”.

Which processes were you able to automate in your company thanks to technology?

As heavy WealthArc users, we are lucky to have the access to all the accounts from home and communicate precise numbers to clients. At RJ Management we partner with 15 banks; prior to implementing WealthArc, we had to navigate through every banking system and their individual asset classifications. All banks were on-boarded quickly, with nearly zero work on our side. We were then able to define our own classification to make sure all accounts are coherent and classified identically. The Guideline / Risk control features enable us, from distance, to make sure that all RM are respecting the guidelines defined by our Investment Committee and that our asset allocation reflects our views on the markets. Finally, I want to mention the invoicing tools that ensure our financial stability.

In your view, which processes are still manual and should be automated?

Trading from one shop to multi-custodians must be a big priority. We are currently testing this feature with a couple of banks on WealthArc. This would be an absolute game changer!

What have you already learnt as a company ‘thanks’ to the current situation?

Human first! We all have infected friends, clients and/or family members. First of all, this crisis is teaching us that whoever we are and wherever we live, we are all exposed to the COVID-19. We need to demonstrate an outstanding level of agility, understanding of each and every individual situation and willingness to adapt. The crisis has undoubtedly accelerated the shift towards new tools, team effort and increased our level of empathy at all levels of relationships that we have

What will you change or tackle first after we are back to normal?

We are changing things right now instead of waiting until the end of the crisis (which is impossible to predict..!). Our principal objective is to make the very best of our continuity plan and ensure our team with top tools in order to improve efficiency and communication between us. After the end of the crisis we aim to maintain all introduced changes to keep up our exceptional team agility.

What will be the key trends and opportunities in WM in the next 1-3 years?

At an organizational level, there is a big consolidation opportunity because of all the new regulations that are hitting us. Running a WM business will be harder, more costly and less profitable. Uniting forces will enable small WM to survive and more robust WM to grow rapidly. At an investment level, remaining at the forefront of new opportunities including private equity, VC, and identification of new trends by meticulous stock picking strategies will be mandatory to keep clients and to grow.

About RJ Management

Since 1975, RJ’s partners and their team have had an active role in the financial markets, and since establishing RJ in 2012 they are dedicated to serve their clients in a qualified and proactive way, and ensure absolute customer satisfaction and loyalty. Their proximity to the financial markets allows them to advise their clients using a fully customised and professional approach. From their earliest days and after having overcome some of the world’s worst financial crisis, they have handled their activities in an agile and pragmatic way, to ensure both wealth preservation and growth along those cycles. They differentiate themselves by the ability to anticipate future trends and challenges.

About Eric Roditi

Eric is a seasoned innovator, with an exceptionally wide scope of professional experiences, including Edmond de Rothschild, Meridian Capital (Private Equity), and Uber. He has been working at RJ Management for two years and has become a Member of the Management Board last year.