Ryan George is the chief marketing officer of Docupace who is in charge of the company’s brand awareness, customer and industry insights, early-stage sales pipelines as well as internal and external communication. As part of the company’s senior executive committee, he is responsible for collaborating with key stakeholders that drive Docupace’s growth and profitability objectives.
While financial benefits are the primary goals of most organizations, many of them lack digital capabilities and fail to improve the client experience.
A Deloitte study shows that organizations with higher digital maturity reported 45% revenue growth compared to 15% for lower maturity companies. These numbers imply that digital transformation can lead to better financial performance and company growth.
Financial services is one of the leading sectors that greatly relies on the integration of digital technologies to achieve better performance, streamlined operations and customer retention.
To learn about the challenges and opportunities that come with the digitization of this branch, we talked to Docupace’s Chief Marketing Officer, Ryan George, who has experience in executing growth strategies for companies in the financial services industry.
Spotlight: In the early 2000s, only 2.1% of CEOs considered the term “digital” as one of their top five priorities, as reported by Gartner. Today one out of every five companies consider it a priority. Why does digitization of financial services matter and what are the biggest challenges and opportunities that come with this initiative?
Ryan George: Whoa! Only one in five? That seems super low but thinking positively, maybe that’s because they already feel they’ve embedded digital strategies into core areas of their business. If a leader doesn’t see the importance of being digital these days…I don’t know how much longer they’ll be a leader.
What’s interesting in financial services is that the challenges to digital transformation aren’t prioritization or even budget, it’s the human. Getting internal team members and external clients behind the initiative at the onset is imperative. Digital transformation is as much cultural as technological.
In your opinion, how can traditional companies develop a successful paperless office strategy? Where and how should they start with digitization?
Today’s investors want easily accessible digital portals, data visualization tools and customized investment advice. Many firms agree that improving clients’ digital experience is important, but few believe technology will drive their firm’s growth. When you use technology as a growth strategy instead of just a means of doing business, you can reinvent the traditional client experience.
One of the simplest ways to take advantage of technological solutions is to go paperless. Document management software can connect your clients to accessible information, simplify clients’ in-office experience, and provide reassurance that clients’ data is safe with you.
In a recent survey, 73% of consumers said they would find value in a portal to access their accounts. Well-organized digital documentation facilitates access so your clients can see relevant information at-a-glance.
For over 20 years, Docupace has been helping companies eliminate paperwork with its platform. Who should leverage it and how does it differ from other similar tools on the market?
The Docupace Platform isn’t a single-point solution that only solves a specific problem — it eliminates friction from the entire system. With dynamic workflows that bridge the gaps between investors, advisors, and the back office, the Docupace Platform keeps everyone on the same page, reduces admin time, eliminates errors, lowers costs, and turns common complaints into satisfying interactions.
Banks, RIAs, Insurance and Independent Broker-Dealers who want to reduce back-office expenses, improve efficiency, strengthen recruiting, and enhance the experience of advisors and their clients are an ideal fit.
Security is probably the biggest concern regarding digital transformation in financial services. How does the Docupace platform ensure all key data are protected from security threats?
Absolutely. I was recently at a dinner where the head of one of the country’s largest wealth management providers said “cybersecurity is the only area of our business without a budget…whatever they need, they get.”
Docupace provides a centralized, secure, cloud-based platform for managing documents, broker-dealers, RIAs, and advisors can seamlessly store, organize, and access data from anywhere, on any device. The platform:
- Leverages true cloud-based WORM storage
- Stores files in an SEC and FINRA books and records compliant database
- Stores data in a Tier IV gold data center, the highest security rating available
- Provides guaranteed disaster recovery
The platform integrates with various leading solutions like DocuSign, Salesforce, etc. How do you decide whom to collaborate with and how do these partners make the platform a better tool for users?
Integration is critical for any wealth tech platform. There’s rising frustration in the general lack of integrations among core systems across the industry. Our key message is that we seek to be at the center of the “core four” integration points: CRMs, Turkey Asset Management Platforms (TAMPS), Custodians/Clearing Firms and Financial Planning Software.
Identifying and prioritizing integrations is based on a couple of factors. First, we just don’t want an integration – we’re looking for long-term partners who we can work with to solve problems and challenges for our collective customers. In addition, we listen to what our customers request and seek to fulfill those desires as well.
You acquired PreciseFP in October 2021. How does this solution enhance your efforts in helping companies adopt the digital-first mindset that clients demand?
The first key to PreciseFP is its simplicity of use and configurability. A financial planner or advisor can literally go to PreciseFP.com, swipe their credit card and be up and running in a few minutes. In addition to a library of pre-built surveys, client engagements, etc., users can easily create custom or unique fields with a couple of clicks. So in this way, it removes all barriers to development/delivery that can people to be hesitant to go digital – sounds like too much work or change.
The second key is that it directly addresses a universal problem every financial advisor has: how do I get the data from my client and into my system(s) as easily and as frictionlessly as possible? With PreciseFP, it’s via just a simple link and you’re off.
Some advisors will say, my clients, think I should be doing that “work”. However, what’s been interesting as I’ve learned more about the digital client data-gathering process is that high-net-worth clients are all about the efficiencies and easiness of overcoming this hurdle digitally. Just like their advisor, their time is valuable and they greatly appreciate how quickly they can move on to the next step of their client-to-advisor relationship.
Congratulations on the recent launch of PreciseFP’s new enterprise engagement model. What’s the strategy behind this and what value does it bring to users?
Thank you. PreciseFP has historically worked with single users to deliver digital client data-gathering capabilities. Because of this, there were some centralized controls missing from the tool. Working with some enterprise-level clients – which are multiple users, multiple-year commitments – the team was able to enhance the system with the additional controls sought. In addition, we’re now able to separate “power users” from less frequent users which provides more flexibility on licensing.
Docupace was named a “Wealthtech Firm of the Year.” What did it take to be one of the leading service providers in the wealth management space and what are your expectations for the company in the next five to ten years?
A team effort. This may sound a little city but superstar companies aren’t always made up of superstar employees. Often, it’s the collective, unified effort that makes the greatest impact.
At Docupace, our sum is much greater than its parts. Specifically to the award, I think it was a few things. The acquisition of jaccomo and PreciseFP in 2021 brought some new people and perspectives into the fold.
In addition, we’ve worked hard to operationally mature our business by improving internal processes, adopting modernized frameworks (like Agile and Scrum) and really focusing on enhancing the customer experience.
Lastly, we’ve been blessed with winning the business from several big names.
Thank you for your time, Ryan George. Best of luck to you and Docupace!