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The power of secure collaboration

In today’s world, every financial professional has a different tech stack. If a financial advisor wants to communicate with a mortgage broker or an accountant, the only solution is email. But not only it is a bad practice to share personal and confidential information, but it is also a waste of time. You need to save the document, and attach it, to have a lot of back and forth with every professional involved, and it is easy to get lost or lose track. This is even more important given that the affairs of the wealthy are ever more complex. Investment complexity with a range of investments, possibly in different domiciles and subject to different tax rules. There might be different custodian banks involved and when it comes to alternatives like private equity, real estate, and passion investments then there could easily be information sources into the 100s to deal with. All of that needs documenting.

And for the advisor administrating third parties like product and service providers and advisors, tax specialists, lawyers, and communications specialists all need access to information on some level, as do family members and business partners. Examples include tax season when financial advisors need to send data to accountants, or when a family is looking to buy a home and the data does not circulate well between the broker or the bank and the financial advisor.

For financial advisors, it is difficult to have a 360-degree view of everything. And when they do, it costs them a lot of time and energy, and it is a low added-value task.

And if key decision-makers don’t have access to everything they need they may have to make decisions based on incomplete information. Key-person risk is also a potential issue and there is a very real risk of losing not just the knowledge that the key person had, but also the documentation itself if there is not an easily accessible system of record. Inefficient use of technology often makes this worse. 

Spreadsheets and paper files make life much harder than it needs to be and worse, this could not just be an irritation but it could also land the advisor in hot water compliance wise not to mention facing the fury of the client if key documents cannot be located. 

Email is not collaboration

These risks are made worse by the use of e-mail, which up until recently has been the default collaboration. But to put it plainly, e-mail is not up to the job! It was never designed for mass collaboration and was developed only as a means to standardize simple store-and-forward messaging between people using different kinds of computers. It is cumbersome and difficult to manage while on the go or working remotely and it is complicated to follow up.

More pertinently e-mail is a big security risk. Email data, including attachments, can be stolen or altered as they travel over the network. Information stored un-encrypted on mail servers, Internet mail relays, as well as end devices can also be stolen. In addition, it is just too easy to make a mistake and send out information to the wrong person or be the victim of a phishing attack. There has also been an increase in mailbox server attacks, many of which are not detected until well after the event.

Surprising then that so many people who would not dream of sending out a credit card number over e-mail, would quite happily attach their will or retirement plan and not think much of it! 

The solution

Happily, specialist communications and storage platforms like SideDrawer have come to the fore. They allow for secure and controlled access to documentation and data. Crucially the control lies with the advisor in deciding to give someone access where needed. This is an operational efficiency play – much in the same way that the finance industry now works on a single golden copy of data, a single source of truth as regards documentation and correspondence means that everyone is up to date when it comes to the fast-evolving affairs of the clients.

The ideal is to create a digital home for the wealth of the client. This means the clients and relevant people cannot just view but manage their affairs – no matter how complex and no matter how many jurisdictions and asset classes are involved. The same principle applies to more holistic documentation like business and inheritance plans, philanthropic activities, and personal information. 

A platform with an intuitive, visually attractive, and client-focused design also means that people will want to use it and an internal messaging system bolsters the platform and allows for secure communication without having to rely on unsecured third-party email services.

The tech behind it 

The platform is offered as SaaS. Everything is stored in the cloud meaning it is both secure as well as accessible from anywhere and thus reflecting the mobile nature of clients and advisors alike. The platform also uses open APIs meaning that integrations with relevant third parties are possible. This is something that SideDrawer has actively pursued. For example, SideDrawer has recently teamed up with Salesforce so that Salesforce users will be able to leverage SideDrawer  through their existing CRM. The expectation is that more collaborations are to come with SideDrawer’s clients being able to build their own customizations and integrations by using APIs with embedded workflows to facilitate secure and flexible document exchange.

Having a functionally robust and secure document management system makes sense and provides a differentiation point for end clients. They need to know that their security is serious and that their information is kept safely and in line with compliance. Having a platform that enables active management of their affairs and that is operationally efficient is another win in a climate where many are repivoting investment-wise or going through a change in life circumstances. 

Showing all of this and being able to back it up daily ultimately underscores and deepens what is very much a trust-based relationship. Can you afford to not do this?