Contemi Solutions joined the Wealth Mosaic’s webinar series ‘WealthTech Talks: In conversation with’, where The Wealth Mosaic co-founder Stephen Wall interviewed Contemi’s William Rouse, Director, UK & Europe, and Amrik Sanghera, Senior Solutions Consultant.
Through the interview William and Amrik talks about the background and origins of Contemi, the business formerly known as Dion, before focusing on the business today, it’s solution set, client base, their views and insights on the various drivers in the market impacting its business, solutions and clients and some thinking from them both on the future of the changing wealth management sector.
If you have any questions regarding this interview or if you'd like to know more about any Contemi products, please write us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Stephen Wall: Good morning, everybody. And welcome again to another one of our wealth tech talks.
Today, we are in conversation with the gentlemen from Contemi solutions. We've got William Rouse and William is director of UK and Europe, and we have Amrik Sanghera, who's a senior solutions consultant, both based in the UK. So gentlemen, I'll just pass you over to you quickly to do a quick introduction to yourselves. William first.
William Rouse: Absolutely. William Rouse, Director UK and Europe. My role is new and existing business expansion for both wealth management and insurance solutions. Perfect. Thank you, William.
Stephen: And Amrik for you?
Amrik Sanghera: So I'm a senior solutions consultant here at Contemi mainly for UK and Europe, but also operations in Asia and that mainly matches client and prospect requirements to our systems and modules.
Stephen: Perfect. Thank you both.
So for the purposes of the audience, we are going to speak today to William and Amrik about Contemi, a little bit of a background to the business, what they do, where they came from, kind of clients, they service, a little bit about their recent acquisition. Then we'll talk much more about the business and solutions set today and talk to the guys about what they see happening in the market and a view on where the wealth management sector is going.
We'll be talking for 45 minutes or so with the guys, I'm hopefully getting a good overview of the business and their thoughts on what's happening in the market. Any questions that come up we'll answer at them.
So guys, what about a quick introduction to Contemi? What can you sort of tell us from a headline level of who you are, what the business does and where it may be sits in the market?
William Rouse: Okay. So Contemi, the wider organization is a market leading provider of technology solutions to the global financial service industry. We provide software and digital solutions for the insurance market, wealth management market, banking as well as the capital markets.
In this instance the most relevant of course would be the area of the operation dedicated to wealth management, as well as the private banking world. We provide an array of solutions covering the front middle and back office functions. These solutions come in the form of data and system agnostic modules, which are designed to be one, easy to implement, two, cost effective and three, very simply to complement and enhance your existing universe. So we give firms the option of utilizing our entire suite of solutions that's front to back, or we simply allow the piecemeal approach whereby clients pick and choose the most appropriate pieces of functionality for their existing set up as well as their future target operating.
Stephen Wall: Okay. Perfect. What about the origins of the firm? Can you tell us anything about where the firm started how it's evolved over its lifespan?
William Rouse: So I'm sure there's many people watching now who know who we are. We we've been active in this space for over 25 years now, that's under different names and the most recent was the dion global solutions, which many people will know. At the very core the fundamentals remain largely unchanged that would be, to provide robust, scalable solutions to a vast array of firms, both big and small. Until around eight years ago now we were just facilitating full front to back office systems to a certain size and certain scale of wealth management firm fast forward to now, we're providing modular and modular light solutions (we'll talk touch on later) to a much wider range of clients. So one example of this variety would come in shape with our most recent client win, who are in their own right financial technology firm. They provide stock lending facilities to the markets. So we're constantly seeking new types of partnerships, certainly partnerships of this nature, be it market infrastructure providers or even competitive firms whereby we sell offerings through white labelling of our solutions.
Stephen Wall: Perfect. I don't know whether you can say anything about the background to the deal, so for Contemi buying the Dion business, maybe what the rationale is, or at least what that means for the business going forward and its client base or future client base.
William Rouse: I suppose the buyout by Contemi and investor Triple P capital means newer things for clients. What it means really is, increased resource for product development as well a dramatically enhanced support structure, increased product investment and input really at all levels. And I think one of the things that existing clients are going to start to notice that their account managers or stakeholders are going to adopt a lot more of a consultative approach at a more strategic level. And not that we haven't done that in the past but we're driven by relationships for the long term. So how do we achieve that? That will be by continuously enhancing our offering based on the consultancy that we get from maintaining much tighter relationships with our clients.
Certainly the goal I can say gold coming from the upper echelons of the organization is to certainly have our people thinking like our clients and not thinking like a service provider, not necessarily thinking about how do we manage money for them, but it's really about what we want to do ultimately stop challenging our clients to thinking differently about their businesses, how they can run them a lot more efficiently and how we can in turn fit into that.
Amrik Sanghera: I'll add to that. Well, actually, it's kind of, the acquisition has certainly propelled us into I would say now as a global FinTech company. We are sharing resources across multiple continents. So our staff count has grown to over 250, we've got now with the acquisition around 55 clients globally and those development centres are across multiple time zones so what it's really allowed for us, like Will mentioned, from a support point of view, we can offer around the clock support of our modules, especially in wealth management, but also from a development resource where we're sharing resources, where we're gaining market trends, not just from the UK and Europe, but also from Asia, which allow us to kind of, what I like to think is provide a solution for wealth management as a whole, not to be held down by geographic region, who knows UK might go the way that Asia's going or Asia might go the way that UK going, to have a solution in both parts of the world allows us to fuse those to provide an offering. That's a new addition.
Stephen Wall: Perfect guys. Thank you. I'll say the wealth management industry is a fairly diverse space and you're working in multiple geographies. There are many different types of firms. You might've worked with a certain type of firm before, in terms of where you are now, can you tell us a little bit about the types of wealth managers that you work with, big, small, certain type of product set and maybe a little bit about why they work with you, what their needs are?
William Rouse: Our bread and butter has always been discretionary managers, traditional stockbrokers, so on and so forth. We do continue to service those types of clients in this very day. Certainly over the last five years, we've started to cast our nets a little wider and certainly with the new backing from the guys at triple P it's enabled us to develop services and solutions to a wider audience, but a lot quicker than we would have been able to before. With that in mind, we've started now to engage with a variety of market participants. We find that there's certainly a lot more meshing of services across our client base. And what I mean by that is that predominantly pure discretionary players are starting to foray into the planning space. I suppose that the angle there really is to make themselves a lot stickier to their clients.
So the type of clients that our services now appeal to compared to before has increased dramatically particularly, around financial planning and then we have things such as our latest client, which Amrik mentioned earlier that technology company in their own right. And that's really a show of the times, these firms pride themselves on the technological efficiencies that they bring to their clients. In fact, the reason to collaborate in such a way really is telling about how far we've come in a relatively short space of time.
Another thing I think Amrik will probably touch on this as well, is that we've also got things like our corporate actions module, which can travel across the entire financial services market. So, certainly opened up our wider market reach that's for sure.
Stephen Wall: Amrik, would you like follow on from that?
Amrik Sanghera: A very high level type of organizations, we've got some existing clients that are on the lower end of the tier one space, our bread and butter is probably tier two, tier three and they range from wealth managers, asset managers, stockbrokers, and we've got individual players. I think being system agnostic allows us to certainly compete with the tier one space because there are some gaps in functionality, which we provide, which standard full Front to back systems may not. And it also from a tier two, tier three, they could take our whole tech stack, which allows us to service in full front, middle and back so that's kind of the way we position ourselves.
With the modular approach it's certainly about the way we're flexible with the types of clients so, family offices, which before probably weren't on our radar and now are as well as other providers etc. So it's certainly a new era for us in what we're targeting, but we've also got our existing client base, which kind of helps back that up.
Stephen Wall: If you were to describe Contemi now and what differentiates you from maybe some competitors in the market, how would you describe the business? What would be that packaged description that you would say Contemi is now for the market and its clients?
Amrik Sanghera: We want to be a leading solution provider in wealth management. And it can be quite a bold statement, but I believe we have the majority of the components there to kind of fulfil it.
So from a front office point of view, we've seen a massive trend in client lifecycle management, relationship with your clients, COVID-19 certainly towards the one thing that you can't meet face to face with clients anymore. So a value proposition there is, the ability for you to onboard clients digitally, they can self onboard. So, you're gaining your business from on one end, allowing your communication points with those clients.
You know, wealth managers tell me time to time, I need a reason to pick up the phone and talk to my clients, whether it's market movements, whether it's someone's birthday, having a system that captures all that information and displays it in a way that notifies you of the importance of it allows you to keep that relationship flowing and keep you managing that client's money for a longer period of time. That's the capturing of the client and the movement of the client.
We then kind of go into the actual servicing of the client. So whether it's asset servicing for a private client business, whether it's fund management business where they have to manage the portfolio of the fund, it's the ability to what we call manage a portfolio. So it's the creation of trades, it's the transfer of assets to and from, the ability to rebalance a portfolio against models, the idea of automating client's portfolios now where we're moving away slightly from the bespoke managed clients. We're trying to automate as much as possible within an NPS.
We then go into fee management, fee processing. We need to be more creative with the way that wealth managers charge their clients with. Before you used to have a rate card with potentially three or four fees and that would be it. Now we're looking at different service types, advisory, discretionary, how do we charge that? And having a flexible fee processing engine allows us to categorize fees and charges across multiple different clients in an efficient manner.
And then we go more to the back office, which as many know, we've been around for 25 years and that the back office system that we've had has been with us for the main majority of that. But it's not just a book of record system, it's tax management, ISO management, the ability to (with our new award winning module corporate actions) automate corporate actions from diarization, right through to processing with election management, especially with SRD 2 around the corner.
Then the final bits and pieces, what do we do with all this data? And I think where we differentiate from the market is that we are data agnostic and we are truly system agnostic. So our last two client wins have been our solution sitting on top of the client's other back office system. And I think that the proposition is all around data. It's how our open API architecture process this data.
And the final module, which is analytics, is the overarching management information, business intelligence. We're taking data from a multitude of different platforms, different providers, but we're providing a holistic view. And if we can do it with data, we can certainly do it with transactions, and we can certainly do it with other systems as well. So that's what I think how we differentiate. And certainly with our Asian focus as well, we're starting to learn a few trends and some of the development that's coming out of Asia at the moment is something that I certainly think is slightly different to what the UK is offering right now.
William Rouse: Our offering to the wealth management market is very simple. We operate something called the Wealth Intelligence (WIN) platform. The WIN platform consists of a number of a vast array of modules, which are system agnostic, data agnostic, there's 18 of these things. So the client portal, some modeling maintenance, client onboarding all the way down to corporate actions.
We operate and maintain an open API ecosystem. This allows our world to evolve alongside our clients. So all those connections, all those third parties, they will fit into our universe alongside our clients. And the beauty of our offering and one of the essentially misleading things about the word platform is that you don't have to take the whole package.
We're very much a supporter of the modular/best of breed approach as well as the big bang approach whereby you know you just go to one service provider. So we allow clients and prospects to select these chunks of functionality and technology to support and to fit their immediate & longterm needs. How we develop on that for the future is a very good point. From a personal perspective, I'm really keen on building more relationships with platform providers, market infrastructure providers and dare I say competitors because ultimately the more in sync and more interoperable that we are with these people, the more clients and prospects. The market as a whole should have taken this approach years ago, we should be able to talk to each other a lot easier, a lot simpler and a lot quicker because ultimately it's for the benefit of the client. If there's going to be things that we do better than our competition, there's gonna be things that our competition does better than us. But if we can provide, say a perfect solution you know, because every client is different. Be it 50% of our stuff with 50% someone else, then why wouldn't we be doing that? Why wouldn't we make that easier?
Stephen Wall: So in this sort of modular offering, API based, it's interconnected with other systems as data agnostic, platform agnostic, etc. Can you tell us what's most popular right now among clients? What is it that sort of clients are most attracted by, or, but most in need of, in terms of the setup you have right now?
Amrik Sanghera: With the pandemic that we're currently experiencing, there has been a particular drive towards client lifecycle management. So, how are they getting clients through the door? How do they initiate sales campaigns? How are they going to gain traction and grow their AUM and grow their revenue? In times where in historic, you know, you'd meet the client at the Starbucks, etc. just to take them out. And now that's impossible. So we've certainly seen a trend of self onboarding, automated onboarding, client lifecycle management. How do I talk to my clients? Do you have WhatsApp integration? Do you have outlook integration in order to communicate with them?
We've also seen a trend and again this is probably on the flip side of it, and it's just mainly around automation. They have been working from office spaces for as many years as you can remember, and now having to work from home, they've probably identified themselves certain operations that previously just worked like but now that people aren't in the same room they're finding it quite challenging in order to process it. So one thing that we've identified in the market and what we've seen is people are looking for automation wherever that's just something simple as trade automation, you know, sending trades to brokers and getting back. Whereas before you had a dealing desk of five, six people who would pick up the phone and they can go on I'm dealing the marks and Spencer's, I'm dealing the HSBC or that sort of stuff.
And then coming around the model rebalancing platforms where we're seeing a lot of people now moving towards an NPS, a- to move away from bespoke management because of time and resources, but also due to the massive amount of regulation, which I guess is always on those. How can we manage these clients in an effective manner when we've got to quarterly report, when we've got to disclose all our fees and charges, where we've got to transaction report, every single transaction, there's a massive burden, especially for these smaller firms now. And I think that the trend that we're seeing certainly. They'll come to us and they'll say, well, I need this automated. I need to be able to talk to my clients digitally. And I guess that's the kind of areas where we focused on and luckily enough, we've solutions in place to provide the market with an offering. But it's certainly over the past two months, we've probably been busier now than we were for the same two months last year.
Stephen Wall: You talked about client lifecycle management and I think you talked a little bit about the client portal module. In times now, I think you've said that you're able to strip back technology to give the market what they need when there's times of stress. So I think in previous conversations, we've talked about a new client portal you've delivered to the market to meet some of the specific COVID challenges that firms are facing. Can you tell us a little bit about that?
William Rouse: People that know us, will know we have a fully-fledged client portal, which is functionally rich. The main ethos behind it, very simple one, certainly from a user experience perspective. And that's we don't want clients to be any more than two clicks away from where they want to be.
Now one of the things we developed early March when we saw this coming, the signs were all there for some sort of lockdown was going to be happening in the UK. Italy and Spain were received in a much worse situation than us at the time. So then we thought that here's going to be a lot of stranded clients around and there's a lot, you'd be surprised I've noticed the amount of firms out there without any real online presence. And what I mean from that is there's no real client engagement tools like a client portal. So we took out our main client portal and we stripped it down to a very light version really. The mindset behind it was that we wanted to speed the implementation so we can get you up and running within 10 days. We want it to be as light touch and simplified as possible. And not only that the ability to use it on the move, so you can use it on handheld device PC, so on and so forth. And this would all be in a very cost effective way, because not only that, it was a time of sheer panic because we didn't know what was going to happen next. Some of these smaller firms must've been operating on very tight margins. So, we tried to make this as cheap as possible for people. So it's, again, a very standard implementation and a very standard module. But, certainly been fairly received. But one of the good things about it is we can add to it as your expertise evolve. So what we're trying to do is its kind of a learning process really, where we're trying to teach these people that, OK this is something that you should be doing, if anything has forced the hand, it's going to be COVID-19 that's for sure.
Stephen Wall: Now we're living in an evolving world, we've got COVID, there are regulatory challenges, there are cost challenges, there are client challenges, there's all sorts of things that firms are facing. So when you're talking to clients, prospects, and maybe others in the market, what are the three themes that you think are driving change in the wealth management space or keeping CIO, CTO, CIO, CEOs, and others up at night. What would you highlight?
Amrik Sanghera: The first one you mentioned is cost of regulation. So MiFID two, I know it happened just over two years ago now, but the quarterly evaluations, the 10% drops. If there weren’t alarm bells ringing to, you know, have a client portal to have a document distribution, to have, e-distribution of any form and size of their, where the cost of the regulation of a big firm is, in my opinion, quite large, we then start going down to the smaller firms and, you know, previously where you had the two people in the operations department or two people in the compliance department, it's grown three fold. Everything needs to be audited, everything needs to be disclosed, cost and charges are a sign of that as well. So us having the ability, not just to keep hold of the existed regulations that are in place, but also have the ever developing ones, such as SRD 2 where we have a fully-fledged solution already out in the market. And we have quite a strong compliance committee who attend all the webinars that are hosted by PIMFA, Goodacre to essentially help make sure that we're ahead of the curve for regulation point of view. So that's certainly a trend.
Another trend, we have noticed that going from what would be more discretionary led mandate to advisory and certainly financial planning. We've always been at danger of overregulating ourselves in this industry. And if it's one thing that affects instantly, it's going to be the smaller players offering the specialist services such as a particular type of discretionary management or a particular type of financial planning to clients. So I suppose some of the bigger firms are indeed looking at broadening their horizons where they've been say traditional stock brokers for years and years now, looking at adding another proverbial string to the proverbial boat. And again, making them themselves more appealing to a wider audience.
One of the strange themes I've seen is that I was speaking to a manager the other day, and they've actually started meeting clients in parks, which seems very nice and certainly going to be cheaper. And I think we're potentially in danger of doing, from a wider perspective is that we think when this is all over and done with, and everything's going to return to normal. It's not going to be the case at all. But if you look at this, this is changing people's mindsets, things like stepping into a restaurant without washing your hands off the touching the door, they're going to be things that are completely at the front of your mind. So what does that do for a lot more of senior clients out there, do they want to get out and see their advisors as much, do they have the ability to now go down this new road of, so using a client portal, do they have a handheld device which will actually offer those capabilities? You don't know. So that's what I meant earlier when I was saying about stranded clients, because I think a lot of people are tending to forget about these people I think what happens now with them.
William Rouse: Another theme as well, which is recurring. I was speaking to a good friend of mine who manages money the other day. He was saying we are behaving a lot more like mentors now whereby we're having to do a lot more handholding than we've had to previously. And I completely get that. This isn't like any other recession. So there's people out there that'll be licking their lips with all the value that's around. There's going to be others which are gonna be battening down the hatches and maybe not taking advantage of some of that value. And for managers to manage all those emotions, getting their client base must be very tough. And if you can have something which will make that job a lot easier and what I mean by that is say something like a client portal, light, add a smattering of what if analysis or something like that.
Amrik Sanghera: I think the digital channels is quite interesting because I mean, you and I, and Steve as well, we've all been to the compliance conferences, the events in the city, and there seems to be a massive trend around millennials. How do we capture that next line of business? And if one thing COVID-19 has provided us is we need to learn how to communicate to our clients in different ways. You know, when you can't do the face to face meets, which many of these millennials won't because they, you know, I'm one of them and I'm constantly on my mobile device and my iPhone. It's the ability for me to contact my advisor by WhatsApp, the ability for me to receive my documents digitally instead of having to receive them via the post. And I think certainly from a communication channels point of view, it's helped.
The point I alluded to earlier about advisory and financial planning, discretionary management, certainly from a cost and a risk mandate is huge because you're obviously handling all the risks, but the next generation of investors from what I believe, it seems to be a little bit more execution only stock advisory, where you can give me advice, you can certainly give me a mandate, but I'll be the one making the decisions. So again, like I mentioned, some of these full time discretionary players are having to digress their offering in order to catch that next part of the market and their systems may not have the tool strip, you know, when it comes to execution ability, just the ability for a client on a client portal to make their own investment like a heartbeat does that would be a massive, huge offering where they can just make the transactional commission and the risk of losing that client or the cost of managing that client is minimal.
We then have the financial planning route, which have got goal management, lifecycle management. How do I get to that goal? And it seems to be a lot more of a handholding process where you provide advice quotes, there's a lot documentation. And, you know, like I mentioned, with the stamps earlier, the ability just to generate the client reporting has been a trend that we've seen, whether it's tax packs, quarterly evaluations, costs and charges, disclosures, fully branded documents that are digitally created so you don't have to check every single one because the data is, is all there and distributing it electronically, or even sending it to a printer that helps various touch points across the investment lifecycle. And one thing that they're learning now, when they're not in offices, etc. is that investments lifecycle, which was seemingly easily to manage before, but people aren't all in the same building is difficult.
So again, automation, document generation, client engagement seems to be the three key areas that we've noticed in transit at the moment,
Stephen Wall: We talked about content and to engage the future generation, you need data, you need content and you need the tool set to deliver it. But the market's kind of flapping a little bit, I think in that area, it's not set up. Are there certain things you recommend to clients now in terms of how they should improve their service and engagement with existing clients? I know you talked about client portals, but are there any sort of a clear set of steps that firms should take to improve?
Amrik Sanghera: I think first of all make the solution engaging. So, you know, a client portal ensuring that it has all the information and then the investor needs. I've got several client portals and there are some that I favour more than others. Not because the value of assets I have in each of them, it's just the user experience. How easy is it for me to gain my valuation? How easy is it for me to look at my performance? How easy is it for me to communicate to my adviser with the click of a button to say. So it's usability certainly that makes it, something that I think what we tell our clients but also what we tell the market is something that they should look into. And then the other bits and pieces are to make sure that you capture all the information.
So certainly from a CRM point of view firms no longer looking at people as individuals. So not bad service, not for that, but it is because you're losing that money from the next generation, whether it's their children, whether it's their spouses, their wives. So the ability from a CRM point of view to capture that whole family tree can potentially convert what was an individual offering an individual account into a family account, into a junior ICER. And then there's other bits and pieces, which our CRM system provides, which we tell our clients is it's all about alert driven management.
Knowing what information to display it's knowing when are the right times to approach that client and communicate. And that's something we tell all our clients, you know, we have all this data that they have, it's also about their relationships and how they manage them going forward.
William Rouse: I think another point on that, I always say is just keep it simple. If you don't have a digital presence, if you don't have a client portal or anything like that, keep it simple. If you aren't going down that road, don't try and overcomplicate it. Don't try and run before you can walk and don't try and offer someone who hasn't had anything like that in the past too much, too soon.
And I think certainly one of the angles we've adopted with certainly the client portal light is that we, we keep it as simple as possible. They're not going to offer it too much and too soon. And you sort of grow within your own capacity if you will. And I've found it time and time again, where people have tried to do way too much, way too quickly. And it just, they just kind of work themselves into a hole the most and not really focusing on what the core proposition of business should be.
Stephen Wall: Continuing on from that. So thinking that firms trying to add too much complexity to technological infrastructure, you know, their planning and what they want to buy and what they want to use. I don't know, perhaps COVID it's been good for a lot of tech firms in terms of the sales cycle and making sales a bit more efficient. What is it typically that blocks wealth managers from spending or improving technological infrastructure? Because a lot of what I hear and what you're reinforcing today, is there kind of a long way behind where they should be in many instances, not every firm, of course, but a lot in the market don't have things that you would just expect them to have at this point in time. So why is that the case? What are the factors that are stopping them spending or improving?
William Rouse: I'd say it's a resourcing issue from their side. If you look at it, if they are doing if they are having a complete raft of, of huge overhaul of change, they're looking at say anywhere from six to nine to 12 months’ worth of work. Really if you're a CFO looking at one, the cost of that, and if you're a CTO looking at the amount of, or a COO as well, looking at how much resource is going to have to be applied to that project your eyes are popping out of your head. So that that's the one immediate blocker.
And like with all these projects that there is always a tendency to overrun. I might be the first sort of person working for a technology firm that would admit. But, but pretty much every project it's overruns through some fault along the line from both parties as well. So it's assessing your readiness one on paper, but your actual readiness once you've kind of got past that, that initial phase. The cost associated is always going to be huge. You know, that there's been projects in the past huge projects in the past and to this present day, which has gone way, way over budget, way over time. So the two kind of go hand in hand, really.
One of the reasons I think we took the executive decision eight years ago to look at this all front to back system, back office system, it was a commercial decision. So if we can break those down into little chunks of functionality that can be implemented within a month or within three months then great, we're in the door quicker and we can spread like wildfire. And, you're growing at your own rate. You're adding efficiencies as you go along, yes. You are feeling it out bit by bit, and actually, you know, what we could bring in efficiency and in that area, or we could do something better in this area. So that outside the two blockers there that's for sure.
Amrik Sanghera: One thing that I do quite like about the whole idea about is we're quite good from a consultative approach. And by that, what I mean is we have a range of clients in different tiers, some of stockbrokers, some are wealth managers. So in a consulting approach, when we provide software solutions, we won't just give you an out of the box solution, we'll give you a recommendation of how it can be used. And that allows them to make a choice because we tend to start this journey as being more like partners, instead of solution providers, where we listen to them, we take on their feedback on board and, you know, we host regular webinars or before COVID in face meetings with each of our clients to understand where their papers are, but also where their business going.
And I think having a solution provider that doesn't have an out of the box solution but at the same time, I don't want to scare people and say every implementation is bespoke, but allowing us to give them different flavours of how simple operations, like a rebalance, like a client onboarding, like a tax back generation can be done, gives them a choice to potentially correlate which one matches their business the most.
Stephen Wall: And thinking about the themes and the challenges the firms face now, what are they talking to you about most times? This is rehashing of an earlier question, but maybe go into a little bit more detail. So, you know, your existing clients or prospects are coming to you now and they're sending RFIs and they'll ask different things. What is it, what are their lead focus points?
Amrik Sanghera: One of them is, a lot of firms at the moment aren't tied down to one custodian or one bank. They have a range of platforms. And one of the challenges is that they're looking for a system that doesn't just communicate to one or two of them, but communicates to all of them. So it is all about data transfer. It is all about open API architecture with ISO data feed and also our API is we can, we could communicate to it, but the issue for our clients is consolidation of information. This information at the moment, our biggest competitor is Microsoft XL, if it can be done in Excel, the chances are, we don't need the software to actually achieve it. However, our argument is the amount of manual effort, the amount of teams and teams are working on reconciliations on a daily basis, working on custody positions and uploading files to various end points is huge. And we'd much rather want our clients, and, you know, this is words of theirs, not us that they'd much rather spend time managing their clients, growing their client base, not necessarily doing the mundane operations, which take up 90% of the time of the lifecycle, but get 10% of the value. So that's certainly a trend we're seeing, you know, multiple custodians, multiple day feeds into a system.
Stephen Wall: Is that a type of firm? I'm familiar to a certain degree with that in the kind of family office space where the client will have their assets custody, that multiple institution than advised at a certain level by a family office and they want to consolidate it, but does it extend beyond that level of firm?
Amrik Sanghera: Yeah, certainly. A lot of advisory firms who onboard assets from cause their main growth is transfers in and what they tend to do is have quite an open approach where they will keep the assets that the custodian that they've been transmitted from. So they could quite easily, I mean, there's new as well, custodian every month.
I started in every month just based on the firm's assets that they're transmitting. So it's certainly changing. And also from a discretionary point of view, as firms look to grow, you don't potentially want to lose a million assets under management, just because you're not willing to create a custodial link. And chase for business and the chase to get in the assets of the management and fee management are certainly making that decision from the investment managers to say, yeah, we'll take the business. And we'll worry about it. Whether the system handles it at a later point. And I guess what we're saying is take the business because we have that API architecture that allows you to connect to the multi custodials. Because the good thing about most of these custodial links of banks is they all require the same information, you know, positions, valuations, timestamps, etc. It may be a different format from one or the other, but it's our bread and butter and we can produce that data, but so we tend to be noticing that in RFIs and scoring quite highly on it.
The other bit again, a massive factor is automation. I can't begin to tell you about firms in the city that are potentially still manually trading with no RSP or DMA in space, the amount of firms that when they produce a client pack, they're actually manually inputting the data for each client as the performance figures are skewed or the price that they're getting back from data providers doesn't quite correlate.
And even on boarding, I had the pleasure of speaking to a firm about a month ago and they told me that when they onboard a client, they enter in the client names six times. So I was baffled, I said, so how is it that you enter it in six times? We enter it into our CRM system, our client core system, our investment software, and then for PEP sanctions, AML and KYC, we have three separate providers that we enter all in. And I sat back and I thought the room for error there is absolutely massive. The ability for just a simple onboarding system to capture all that information, automate the KYC and AML checks, and I mean, fortunately we had a sales angle because we do have that, but it just goes to show how much of the market is still potentially doing these unautomated tasks and where a simple software solution, which Contemi or me or another can offer, which can certainly not just make it easier for you reduce cost, but also reduce risk.
And that comes to our corporate action solution as well. There are still firms out there who are manually creating a diary for corporate actions. And as we all know the fear of missing out on data, incorrectly reporting a corporate action is massive for firms and it's still backing up from a lecturer's point of view. There are people calling up 20,000 clients to say, would you like the cash or stock and a rolls Royce dividend? It happens every year. And I think for an action that happens every year for us to still be potentially picking up the phone, it's an oversight. And I think certainly automation is something that we're seeing more and more of as, as far as continued to try and efficiency, but efficient size their operations.
Stephen: On automation, firms have a tendency to try and solve that problem for themselves, with internal resources or internal development, or is it something that you see more often outsourced or them working with third party providers?
Amrik: I'd say three, four years ago firms were trying to do it themselves certainly, there were their it departments within certain firms that were trying to develop solutions in house. I think with the regulation side, that's come to it. It's a massive burden for firms that to continue to do. And we've noticed the trend back to potentially the outsource in which is, you know, we'll give the entire infrastructure to a contaminant, to another third party and get them to manage it for us. Because I guess there are ways that they can still automate procedures within a company via workflow management and so forth. But it's certainly, you know, give it to a firm who solely do this. You know, we don't have a platform, we don't run investments ourselves. We are solely a software provider and it's something that we do day in day out. And I think we've certainly seen the trend and Will probably touch on that as well. Yeah,
William: If you go and come back to the point that I referenced earlier is our latest client win is a technology company themselves. So it was either when we first had these conversations, their options were either use someone like us or build something themselves. And fortunately for us, they decided to kind of go down the road with us because they've identified that okay, in order for them to build something that, you know, even starts to look remotely, like thinking that we have it's going to take them months. So would you rather go to the supply that has that they're out the box fresh and ready, or do you throw up however many man hours at something you know, your own cost, but not only that, the maintenance and ongoing cost as well. So for me, it's a no brainer. If you've got people there, I'm supposed to say that, but if you've got people there that can do what they do and do it well, why wouldn't you use them? Rather than kind of speculate, really build something from scratch that really would be a laundry dependent on whatever current systems you have be them legacy or, or, you know or your own proprietary systems. What's the obvious road to go then? I think that would be going with the experts. That'd be the people that have been doing this for years can do it well, can do it quickly, can do it more than likely a fraction of the cost as well.
Stephen: Got it. So, I'm just thinking of a couple of final questions. I wanted to look a little bit about the future of the wealth management space and particularly the sort of technology enabled marketplace. We've obviously highlighted some challenges and some changes. So it's more financial planning, there's next generation, there's maybe more outsourcing but they're still challenged by maybe outdated infrastructure issues around how they engage with technology efficiently and don't take on too much risk, don't spend too much money. When you look at the wealth management tech, can you kind of summarize where you think it will be in a few years times in terms of where it will have invested in technology, where it will have improved and maybe some of the benefits it will have extracted from that journey?
William: Yeah. Going forward, I see there will be huge emphasis on the end client experience. I've always liked to kind of use the restaurant analogy with this. If I go to a really good restaurant with really good food but the service is absolutely all falls on me to feel uncomfortable, I've been insulted or most. There's no way I'm ever going to step foot in that restaurant ever again, no matter how good the food was, if I go to a, you know, relatively okay or good restaurant, but the service has been absolutely. I've had someone there really look after me and made me feel a complete ease and I've, I've had a really good time. I'm definitely, I'm going to think twice about going back. So, and, and getting on the point that the Amrik mentioned earlier, people leave firms or, you know, clients, clients leave firms for two reasons. They go into for service, it's very rarely based on performance alone.
So I think going forward, the only real differentiator between firms is going to be the level of service that they offer to their clients. There's always going to be people looking at past performances, driver behind decision-making. But the overall package will be the ultimate contributor to what clients will ultimately go for. Certainly around client retention as well. And we are in a time now where clients are getting smarter. They're becoming a lot more tech savvy, and they're being a lot more demanding. And what I mean by that is they have a lot more information at their fingertips and they did say 20 maybe even 10 years ago. And that information is there readily available to them. And Amrik said, you know, earlier about the, the kind of the lean towards the execution only base that, you know, is that another strong argument for that. If I haven't got, you know, if I'm paying say 6% a year just to buy a number service fees to people, and they're not performing, they're not outperforming that 6% going down themselves. So it's a really, yeah, there's all sorts of things. I think ESG is going to become the new normal again, speaking to a good friend of mine and he kind of kicked me for shouting this, but Jamie diamond said the other week, ESG investing is just going to be investing going forward.
So I think where we are a lot more of a certainly the next generation, certainly my generation and a lot more kind of conscious of what they're doing to the wider world. And if you can, if that's starting now to marry up alongside performance, brilliant, if you're doing the right thing and you make your money, then, then why wouldn't you kind of go down that road and be a lot more conscious of it. So there, I think whether the, the focuses are going to be going forward what you can do from a technology systems and technology perspective in that in order to make that transition easier it just pick up the phone to either myself or Amrik and we will happily give along the way absolutely.
Amrik: Yeah. I mean, the good thing about this question is you could ask 10 different wealth managers at 10 different times, and you get 10 different answers because no one really knows which way we're going to end up in 10 years time, I think from past experiences. And certainly some of the conversations I've had, that there is a massive trend at the moment how our business grows their client base. So how do they get investment within those clients already? So, you know, getting multiple accounts, get their pension on book and their ice is on board or how we get new clients onboarded to our firms.
And I think there's certainly a drive towards intermediary business where some of our clients or prospects are becoming almost platforms. So, you know, having IFAs that potentially hold their assets and manage their assets for them. And with that you want obviously, you know, a white label portal so they can contact their own clients, et cetera.
And then it's the next generation, the millennials or the baby boomers or whoever it is that's actually going to be inheriting this next bit of money. It's what do they want to do about how do they want to manage it? And whether it's digital tools, whether it's automation or whatever, it's a little bit more flexibility where they want to go down in advisory route where previously you had it, you know, fully discretionary managed. I think they're all certain areas that firms asides have to digress their portfolios now digress their offerings to not be a one stop shop and not be too niche. Certainly they're offering a range of services that increases services month on month to ensure that captures larger portion of the wealth management industry in the UK as they have.
Stephen: Great. Yeah, absolutely. I mean, client expects an interesting sort of tech that technologically delivered or enabled client experience is definitely something that the market needs to work on. So guys, thank you for that.
Quickly a final question. So where's Contemi going in all of this, what's your kind of role in the evolution of the sector, maybe, you know, is there something that you're working on now that you haven't told us about that we should hear about?
William: So really our vision has been and is to be a leading supplier of modular front to back SaaS solutions to the insurance, wealth management and capital markets, not only in Europe, but in Asia as well. Asia Pacific, we already have a presence in each of these markets today but is really to be the leader in our field. And certainly what I've seen and that's within a year now is Contemi heavily investing in both product as well as sales and marketing efforts to help achieve that. So from an intrinsic perspective, that's, that's always going to be our, our driver what we, what we do and what we can offer is, you know, I think where our differentiators are and we we've touched on this earlier is when we are truly system and data agnostic.
So we can sit on top of your existing universe if you want us to. Pass that I think one of the other differentiators between us and others is the expertise that we've learned from the clients that we have. And we've kind of used them, but we've, we've used the consultation they provided us with just by simply operating. If you've got something there, which is your target market, why wouldn't you try and learn from them? Why wouldn't you try and learn from them to make yourselves more appealing to them as well? So they're our push strings and Amrik if there's anything else you want to kind of add to that.
Amrik: And I guess so I can get a little sneak peek into kind of what's happening and what's coming out of the product roadmap soon. So we have a new banking cash module. So again, looking at automation, how do we process dividend payments, cash withdrawals, cash injections you know, bespokely making the backs files so that we can automate the payments. That's something that's gonna be going to market quite soon. And we've got a range of UX designs because like will said, we're really trying to increase the customer engagement of client lifecycle management and making our softwares easy to use and look as good as it can with obviously white label of the firm's branding, etc. something that we're looking at. And that's kind of in there for short to medium time this year.
Stephen: Great, well, both thank you very much for that.