How a CRM Can Help Advisors Prepare for the DOL Ruling on Fiduciary Responsibility

In April 2017 the Department of Labor’s new ruling on fiduciary responsibility in regard to retirement accounts will go into effect. While there will be a transition period through Jan. 1, 2018, advisors, broker-dealers and insurance firms that offer retirement advisory services need to start preparing.

As John Anderson, managing director of practice management solutions for the SEI Advisor Network told Investment News, “This is going to be a bigger change than the industry expects.”

“The nation’s thousands of brokerage, advisory and insurance firms that impart advice within the $25 trillion retirement services market will have to adjust their operations and procedures to comply with the rule. Some changes will be drastic, while others will be minor, but all promise to fundamentally shift the advice landscape,” wrote Investment News.

The use of a customer relationship management system (CRM), can help financial advisors prepare for and manage regulatory changes brought forth by the new DOL fiduciary standards. While a CRM has long been a beneficial tool for advisers, its importance today, amidst regulatory change and increased compliance, is immense. Here are some of the benefits a CRM could offer retirement advisers in 2017 and beyond.

Personalized Service    

It is critical that advisors take steps to prioritize their client’s needs, and that starts with truly personalizing service and investment advice. A CRM can be a tremendous tool in assisting advisers with this task by allowing them to gain a 360-degree view of each client — from goals to family information to business relationships and everything in between. CRM’s primary function is to assist advisers with building and maintaining relationships. In the retirement advisory space, relationships have never before been so important.

Compliance

One of the primary purposes of a CRM system is to document and streamline processes, which is exactly what advisers will need to do to stay compliant with the DOL ruling. A CRM can assist in ensuring due diligence through creating and storing records of interactions and audit trails. If a regulator comes inquiring, an adviser can quickly and easily reference the required documentation in the CRM system. A report by CGI underscored the importance of this, stating, “no matter the business model, financial firms may face class-action liability for failing to follow best interest standards in both brokerage and advisory relationships.”

Workflow Automation

A modern CRM that has the capability to integrate with other systems is the perfect conduit through which to create an all-inclusive workflow. Workflows can help advisors not only increase efficiency but also ensure that documents, such as New Account Forms, move through the compliance and approval process seamlessly and are then maintained in a central repository for record-keeping purposes. Workflows can also be set up to assist advisors in making the important decisions that will be closely monitored under this new rule, such as choosing the correct risk tolerance, asset allocation and product recommendation based on a client’s specific profile.

Automated Service Matrix & Schedule

While new changes are coming due to the DOL rulings, wealth managers can take the opportunity to utilize the built-in Service Matrix and Scheduler within CRM. Once clients have been segmented into the appropriate service levels, and offered services and touchpoints have been determined, a CRM can provide scheduled communications, and reminders for each step along the way.

For instance, ‘A’ clients may receive four service meetings throughout a year. Once the client has been entered into the service matrix schedule, automated reminders can be provided to office staff and automated emails can be sent to clients from the system. This allows wealth management offices to stay on track with each client so no one “slips between the cracks.” Each client is given the appropriate amount of time needed to discuss financial goals, review portfolio performance and perform due diligence.

At Hitachi Solutions we understand the obstacles and opportunities advisors face in the wake of the DOL ruling. The Hitachi CRM, designed specifically for the financial industry and built on the Microsoft Cloud, can help advisers comply with DOL rulings while capitalizing on the opportunities it offers to deepen client relationships and improve profitability. Contact us today to learn more about how you can prepare your advisory business.