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The Data Dilemma: How We Simplify Complex Connections

Michele Doyle, November 29, 2021

It seems the entire wealth management industry has taken up our baton and quickened its pace to adopt unified managed household (UMH) platforms. But it is one thing to want to base your platform around a household view, and quite another to have it work seamlessly.

The Advisor360° team has deep experience in developing our UMH solution, which far predates our company’s launch. We understand the entirety of the wealth management space and the technology that has evolved with it.

It’s an understatement to say the wealth management data landscape is extremely complex. Broker-dealers and other wealth management firms get data streams from multiple sources comprised of different domains or families of data such as accounts, products, and policies. When all this data comes together, it must be mapped and conformed so that it tells an accurate and cohesive story. And for everything to work, these separate domains need to be stitched together in order to provide insight that enables good decision-making.

To create this accurate and cohesive view, it takes a great deal of time, effort, and ongoing monitoring to maintain the household. And that’s why Advisor360° is such a great partner. With our Unified Data Fabric™ (UDF), we take on the work of simplifying and streamlining complex data connections so that broker-dealers and their financial advisors can focus on expanding their business.

Here are a sampling of the considerations required to make a UMH platform work:

  • Data must be cleansed
  • Data needs to be effectively curated to maintain its value
  • Data needs to be mapped to match so it means the same thing across multiple sources
  • Data needs to be handled carefully and in adherence to regulatory and legal requirements
  • Data needs to be secure

From the amount of data we ingest, to the variety of data we normalize, to the different data types we process, Advisor360° makes this data complexity appear seamless to users.

Making wealth data consistent

Take the case of the variety of data we make consistent. There are dozens of ways that a system might indicate a “purchase” or “buy.” Our UDF needs to understand what constitutes a buy and dictate how a buy will behave in our system. Further, imagine that one of those fund companies changes, or they have a fund conversion.

We have a dedicated team of financial and data analysts who make sure those issues are addressed and automated to minimize the impact to the advisor. This requires deep financial services and technical knowledge. We marry human know-how with robust technology so that these data issues are invisible to the user.

The only constant in managing this data complexity is relentless change. This is especially true of data received via third parties. At any given time and potentially simultaneously, there are market fluctuations, field force and corporate actions, fund conversions, and updates to workflow processes, along with marketing, acquiring, and onboarding new books of business. All this needs to be integrated—and remember, the data types are never stagnant. Adjustments must be made quickly in order to ensure that the combined body of data remains useable and accurate.

The benefit of consistent wealth data

Tying account and transaction attributes from different sources together to be consistent appears almost invisible to users. The benefits of this approach are very visible to users, though. For instance, preparing for client meetings usually takes teams hours, in part because advisors and staff are cleaning up reports with inconsistent data.

A financial advisor who needs to run reports on existing policies, an annuity, and performance in a brokerage account would typically log in to multiple applications to generate individual reports and then reconcile the data across these reports. Because our UDF spans the entire platform, financial advisors can run different reports from different applications (e.g., planning, performance) and get consistent results. Advisors can bundle and schedule favorite reports with one click while clients receive investment and insurance information under a single cover page.

Reports that used to take hours or days to compile and analyze now take seconds. This is possible because of the way we intelligently process data.

When advisors can trust the accuracy of their data streams, they can provide better service to their clients. When data is unified across sources and domains, there is no barrier to taking on new business regardless of product line, be it investment, banking, or insurance products.

The bottom line

For the end user, Advisor360° seamlessly weaves together the complicated relationships between data sources as part of our platform. By streamlining those complex connections for our clients, we stitch the data together to provide cohesive and accurate information that can be rolled up—and drilled into—with uniformity. We put heavy emphasis on data cleansing and quality, with a series of checks and balances to ensure accuracy across a complex data environment. Our UDF handles the swiftly changing data environment so that the end user doesn’t have to.

Michele Doyle is Vice President of Enterprise Data & Analytics, responsible for setting strategic roadmaps for enterprise data capability growth and charged with developing Advisor360°’s capacity for data sharing and insights by developing our people, processes, and technology.