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Digitalize-or-Die Crossroads for Asset Servicing: Closing the Client and Investor Experience Gap

The Asset Servicing (AS) industry is an essential but often overlooked component of global financial markets. Yet, while transfer agents and fund administrators are critical to the smooth running of middle- and back-office operations for many Asset Management firms, the sector is at a ‘change or die’ crossroads in its evolution.

The current state of play shows that the AS industry is lagging behind other financial services firms in their adoption of technologies that create a better client and investor experience. With more than half (55%) of Asset Managers dissatisfied with the digital capabilities of their Transfer Agents (TAs) and Fund Administrators (FAs), the AS industry faces a stark reality: digitally transform or risk obsoletion.

Redefining Client-Centricity for Transfer Agency

Like many organizations within the financial services sector, AS firms continue to struggle with the legacy of manual or semi-manual processes. Not only are these practices expensive, human resource-intensive, inefficient and unscalable, they are also at odds with investor expectations as we enter a new decade.

Clients and investors have grown accustomed to streamlined digital processes and services in both their personal and professional lives and expect the same level of technical sophistication from their asset servicing provider.

However, many AS firms still use unsecured email correspondence and multiple non-digital document requests that offer little to no service transparency. Not only is service provision archaic, but it can also be time-consuming, with investor onboarding being particularly impacted.

Empowering the Investor for Greater Efficiency

We’ve identified the problem and we know what clients and investors want and expect from AS firms. So, how can Transfer Agents and Fund Administrators deliver a more streamlined, frictionless client and investor experience?

Providing self-service channels and value-added digital services during client onboarding can help generate efficiencies, provide greater transparency, and expedite the customer due diligence process. Transfer Agents and Fund Administrators can essentially empower their client’s clients to directly initiate their account opening online and securely upload the required KYC data and documentation via a dedicated digital portal. The investor can then receive real-time communication on the progress of their onboarding case, as well as direct alerts for data and documentation.

Digital ID&V and eSignature capabilities can help further automate and expedite the capture and verification of identity information and documentation, powered by a rules-based workflow. This generates greater efficiencies for the transfer agent by relieving the back-office of manual data input and verification and eliminating the risk of human error.

Future-proofing the Asset Servicing industry

According to Deloitte, 70% of Asset Managers expect Transfer Agents to accelerate onboarding time and be able to provide real-time reporting on activity within the next three years.

There is a huge opportunity for asset servicing firms who can transform their client and investor onboarding experience and provide faster access to assets.

Transfer agents and fund administrators must embrace digital transformation. Their clients demand change. The market demands change. The choice is to evolve or die. The big question now is how AS firms will respond – will they keep waiting at the crossroads or will they move towards a more digitalized future?

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