Are financial services companies fully harnessing the power of intelligent workflows in the private capital markets? Or are they being left behind?
The pandemic has accelerated digitalization across multiple areas by years. A key part of this has been the increase in automation. For example, one survey of mid-to-large-sized enterprises found an almost 200% increase in automated processes across the finance sector. This should be no surprise, considering that Gartner has estimated that finance departments can save 25,000 hours of employee hours each year by using simple technologies like Robotic Process Automation (RPA).
However, RPA technology – though proven to be useful – is just a small part of the automation iceberg. RPA is a simple “cut and paste” software robot made for automating repetitive rule-based digital tasks.
A more holistic approach is that of intelligent workflows, which span the whole process.
Understanding Intelligent Workflows in the Private Capital Markets
Think of an intelligent workflow as an “all-in-one” solution that enables you to streamline and automate the entire process end-to-end. This does not imply complete human-free automation – we are not there yet. But intelligent workflows do allow select manual tasks within said process to be automated, and others to be made more centralized and streamlined. Finally, they should also generate insights and increase transparency to help drive future business decisions.
In private placements, an intelligent workflow would look something like this:
- Streamlined investor onboarding and KYC where everything can not only be done digitally – but where it is also personalized to fit the investor’s profile. Think of digital “smart” forms where only the relevant field are displayed to investors.
- Complete digital processing of all subscription documents – including signing – with documents being automatically generated and populated.
- Automatically detecting “not-in-good-order” documents and notifying the relevant compliance teams so they can step in.
- Automatically keeping investors – and the compliance teams – up to date on the deal’s status.
- Seamless renewals of investors’ accredited status from a central platform without the need for them to provide or verify information.
- Investor forms that are automatically time and date-stamped to create an instantly “audit ready” process.
As you can see, this intelligent workflow encompasses the entire private placements process – from onboarding to post-deal compliance. And when financial services firms implement such workflows, they can reap four major benefits.
Benefit #1 – Greater Ability to Scale
Rock-bottom interest rates. A market flush with liquidity. Supportive regulations that make raising private capital easier than ever. An increasing number of accredited investors. Investors that have never been more excited about high-risk high-reward investments.
These are the main reasons that demand for private placements are likely to keep growing. But can legacy processes keep up with this demand? Our view – not without using intelligent workflows. They are the key to being able to seize the opportunity in front of us right now. Those who can scale without needing to substantially increase costs will have higher margins, enabling them to allocate even more resources toward growth. A virtuous cycle.
Benefit #2 – Increased Agility
The phrase “agile organization” has become a bit of a buzzword. But the benefits of agility cannot be denied. We’ve seen just how quickly the environment can change, meaning organizations must be able to adapt just as fast.
And one major thing that holds back agility? The “hiring and firing” process. It simply takes too long to add compliance headcount when deal flow is strong – and it’s too difficult to reduce it when deal flow ebbs. Intelligent workflows allow you to accommodate higher deal flow without needing to substantially add manpower. This also means you don’t need to fire staff during leaner times.
Benefit #3 – Higher Employee Motivation
We are in the middle of what has been dubbed “the Great Resignation”. In the first 9 months of 2021, 34.4 million US workers quit their jobs. Talent retention has never been more critical. And the truth is, no one likes doing routine repetitive jobs – especially when it also comes with heavy workloads. This is doubly the case in the competitive financial services industry.
By automating a lot of these manual routine tasks, intelligent workflows can not only boost employee productivity – but motivation as well. They are not there to replace employees, but to make them more efficient, allowing them to enjoy a greater work-life balance with higher job satisfaction.
Benefit #4 – Improved Investor Experience
The investor is the customer. And like most customers, the rapid digitalization brought on by the pandemic has increased their expectations. Convenience is a de facto expectation – and businesses that can meet those expectations stand to gain the most. Robinhood has become so popular by making it extremely easy to trade (so much so that some say they’ve made it a bit too easy).
Most legacy private placement processes are a far cry from such modern expectations. And that’s a shame because private placements are actually a major competitive advantage for investment advisors. They just need to close this “consumer experience gap”. Intelligent workflows can help them do that.
Our Specialty – Intelligent Workflow Solutions Tailored for the Private Capital Markets
At Katipult, we’ve seen first-hand the power that intelligent workflows can have on our clients’ private placement processes. It’s why Canaccord Genuity said that we “provide a powerful, cloud-based infrastructure that will allow us to manage our private placement activities in a digital environment and improve coordination across teams and geographies.”
And it’s why Echelon Wealth Partners said that “Katipult's platform is specifically designed to shift the entire private placements process into the digital era. We are confident its platform will create efficiencies across the whole process – from front-end client servicing to back-end compliance – allowing us to boost private placement deal volumes.”
We’ve also helped other Tier-1 clients such as Raymond James and TSX Trust realize the full potential of their private placements business. Contact us to learn more about how we can help you do the same.