We see a lot of private wealth management firms that use excel as the basis for modelling and making decisions on client investment portfolios, and see some distinct commonality in their journey, which is typically:
- Stage 1 : A motivated set of professionals start a wealth management business with passion and wanting to deliver a better service and client experience than perhaps they had been in their prior roles. This may be through doing things ‘differently’ , better or to reflect their passions and skills – a typical starting point for an entrepreneurs journey
- Stage 2 : When it comes to management of investment portfolios, there is need for a level of systemisation to help achieve this and typically a more quant orientated member of the team develops a calculation model to reflect the new and unique approach, most often using software that is quick and easy to develop in, and can be changed and iterated as the business learns more over time. In many cases, this has been Excel which is great for this purpose. The business is then up and running with ‘systems
- Stage 3 : The business develops over time and the methods, techniques and associated systems (Excel) are enhanced, modified and iterated. This may involve pulling in data from external sources, price feeds, and other data. Often the spreadsheets are then duplicated and replicated for new clients and client situations
- Stage 4 : The business then grows over time, and more and more spreadsheets are being generated, making it hard to keep oversight on such, requiring more processing power, and often drawing on prior resources who put the spreadsheets together that may have left the firm.
- Stage 5: Excel as a wonderful tool to model the unique investment portfolio proposition for the firm is struggling to be a wonderful business growth system and operational risks are evident, perhaps highlighted from a spreadsheet error incident that impacted a client. There are also issues about who wrote the spreadsheet and whether they can remember what it contains and how it works.
- Stage 6: There is recognition that the business needs a more systemised approach to the management of client investment portfolios and starts looking at providers, however many of the providers’ systems don’t exact the methods of the firms’ spreadsheet, which means that the foundation uniqueness of the firm may not be retained threatening brand and cultural identity
- Stage 7: The business faces a decision of choose to remain on excel which has operational challenges and risks, or move to a more systemised approach and face possible brand and cultural damage – this is not an ideal decision-making environment to be in
Does this sound familiar ?
Introduce Financial Simplicity – a purpose built system that allows firms to bring so many aspects of a firms’ uniqueness and choices to a systemised approach.
Some people describe our system as a multi-dimensional system that contains hundreds or thousands of spreadsheets that can be configured to suit so many firms unique ways of managing portfolios, not only about them but also about the uniqueness of their individual clients.
Just imagine if you were using Financial Simplicity ? You could retain the uniqueness that defines your unique client experience and value proposition, yet achieve the scalability of a business that excel may hinder you from achieving, a win-win !
And then imagine what else would change in your world ? Would you be able to take on more business without hesitance ? Would you be able to be more confident in the ability to make firm wide investment views knowing that they can be implemented quickly and accurately ? Would you free yourself from dependencies on key individuals by having a systemised approach that may hold your business decision making back ?
If Excel is your portfolio management system to support your unique perspective of investment management, there could be a way to move forward to retain your uniqueness yet achieve a business scale. We would be happy to talk to you about this.