Sionic Insights – Improving Client Experience Through Effective Distribution Operations

Commissioned by RLAM, this study shows the importance of CX

The results of a new survey commissioned by Royal London Asset Management and conducted by Sionic in February 2023 has shown that 92% of firms surveyed recognised the need to focus on Client Experience (CX), with some now putting in place ‘Head of CX roles.  Distribution expert Sascha Calisan from Sionic’s specialist asset management team explains more.

The survey explored the operating model behind distribution and how that can enhance CX.

Rob Williams, Chief Distribution Officer, RLAM commented:

Rob Williams, Chief Distribution Officer, RLAM

“We have experienced tremendous growth over the last few years and recognise the importance of continually refining and enhancing how we engage with our clients.  We wanted to understand how the industry is evolving to support clients more effectively and ensure our entire firm is collectively focused on delivering a great client experience.”

Participants in the survey met to discuss findings and it was clear that most asset management firms are at the early stages of determining a CX strategy.  57% said they were in the planning stages, but had no defined CX strategy in place.

Firms at the roundtable discussion felt that more could be done in their organisation to embed CX holistically across the firm rather than considering the client as the sole responsibility of the servicing team.  It was agreed that a key focus should be to encourage employees to think about their roles in the context of client outcomes.  Roles within each functions should be defined, understood and mapped in the context of the client journey to ensure client experience is consistent.

The survey also came up with some interesting findings around organisational structure.  One area debated at the roundtable was the best structure to optimise client support and differentiate on service.  Over 50% of respondents in our survey, have focused their Distribution teams on sales activities and created a separate client division to focus on client management and retention. The discussion focused on the different client touch points within asset managers, and it was clear that historically more focus has been on sales activity than client support. It was concluded that firms needed to address the balance, with a laser focus on client management to protect the firms’ existing assets under management.

Digitalisation will be a key factor to enhance client experience in the future.  Leveraging advances in technology will enable firms to find new ways to communicate and engage with their clients.  Digital access to data via client portals was cited by 80% of participants as a key development focus for their firms. Enabling clients to access their data is often a very real challenge for firms as their front office and other systems are designed for internal use and not with clients in mind.

No wonder then that Client Reporting is still a pain point for firms.  In a world where everything is increasingly consumed real-time, only 21% of firms were able to deliver clients their reports in 5 business days or less.   Whether the challenge is data, a lack of suitable tools or more likely a combination, our survey found that 85% of participants are producing reports in-house without little or no automation and in some cases using MS powerpoint.   Exploring tools like ChatGPT to expedite production of investment commentary and considering robotics for handling high volumes of data were just some of the interesting ideas discussed during the roundtable, along with a healthy debate on the pros and cons of outsourcing.

To find out more about this survey and our work in distribution, or if you are interested in joining our forums please contact us.

  • For more on this topic see Sionic’s Client Reporting survey 2022, conducted with Instinct Digital.
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Meet the expert

I am a specialist in distribution services, with a flair for connecting people, processes and ideas.