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Transforming the client experience

In early 2016, Heartwood Investment Management, a UK based asset management provider, undertook a radical two-year project to transform the client experience it delivers to its clients and advisers across its range of global multi-asset solutions.

The investment landscape for Heartwood Investment Management was rapidly changing. Client and adviser demands were evolving, partially influenced by an increasingly volatile market environment, but also by the frequency and richness of communications they required. Incoming regulatory requirements, such as MiFID II, placed further pressure on the business, which required more transparent reporting of costs to clients.

For many years Heartwood’s existing client reporting capabilities had been suitable to meet its client and advisers’ needs. However, in an increasingly competitive market environment, with changing expectations, Heartwood took the opportunity to address the operational issues the business now faced, to re-establish a competitive gap and to tackle client communication problems.

Rather than starting from what the technology could do, Heartwood took a unique approach by targeting the needs of the client. They launched an extensive period of research, which consisted of asking the key questions, “what would a good experience look like?” and “what is possible?” Heartwood identified critical areas for improvement and developed an overall vision to deliver a competitive advantage, improve the client experience, and solve a problem faced by the wealth management industry for many years.

Establishing a vision to transform client experience

Traditionally, wealth managers have delivered comprehensive, period-based reporting to clients on a monthly and quarterly basis. If clients or advisers requested ad-hoc reporting outside of these delivery dates, it would often be limited to just data, with limited context around the information.

Heartwood wanted to replace traditional period-based reporting (month-end, quarter-end) with a more timely, engaging offering, including self-service reporting tools to meet clients’ digital expectations and help them to better understand the content and performance of their portfolios. Additionally, the solution needed to be accessible across mobile, tablet or laptop.

The project became known as Dynamic Reporting.

Translating the vision into reality

To achieve the ambitious vision of Heartwood’s Dynamic Reporting project, and to address the inefficiencies in its current state, Heartwood’s teams formulated several critical project goals:

  • Deliver up-to-date information – data and commentary available daily as required, in addition to the traditional month or quarter-end reports
  • Deliver “pictures and stories” – show clients information in visual form together with accompanying commentary. Critically both the visual data and market commentary are updated on a rolling basis as markets progress
  • On-demand reports in the media of a client’s choice - create reports with consistent data, commentary, and graphics, across downloadable print-ready PDFs and website (desktop, mobile and tablet)
  • To leverage economies of scale through automation and by retiring several legacy standalone reporting solutions

Defining the project scope

To be able to deliver on these project goals, Heartwood needed to underpin these objectives with the appropriate technology platform. Its existing in-house platforms were not suitable, therefore a new technology partner was needed.

From a technology point of view, Dynamic Reporting focused on:

  • Replacing Heartwood’s existing factsheet solution
  • Replacing Heartwood’s existing quarterly investment reporting solution
  • Delivering a new digital service – Client Centre - in desktop and mobile formats where advisers and clients can access engaging content, updated daily

Selecting a new technology partner

Heartwood conducted an extensive evaluation of all of the solutions in the market which were able to deliver both the traditional client reporting capabilities it required, but also the digital channels which could realize the future state it envisioned.

After an in-depth selection exercise, SimCorp’s Client Communications and Reporting platform, SimCorp Coric was chosen as the ideal technology partner to work with Heartwood to translate its vision into reality.

Assembling the expertise to deliver

The Dynamic Reporting project started in June 2017 with a go-live date of October 2018. 

The project kicked off with a detailed analysis and design phase. This ensured Heartwood’s requirements for SimCorp Coric and expectations around delivery were fully understood, and set the stage for close collaboration across the implementation..

The project team comprised of two SimCorp Coric consultants, and key stakeholders from Heartwood’s business and IT teams.

The SimCorp consultants possessed a deep knowledge and expertise in the fields the project required. From a traditional reporting point of view, the consultants focused on retiring Heartwood’s existing in-house solutions, and re-engineering the existing procedures to deliver increased levels of automation, and a more efficient workflow process.

Delivering industry leading change

Heartwood delivered the change in two key phases. The first phase focused on fund reporting including:

  • Delivery of a new internal portal to upload, view and approve investment and market commentary and portfolio updates via browser
  • Improved new monthly factsheets, daily reports, detailed investment reports, and a fund website

The second phase focused on the delivery of client specific portfolio information, including:

  • Creating a wider range of report outputs including new quarterly investment reporting and ad-hoc portfolio review documents
  • Delivery of a new, secure external facing Client Centre to deliver up-to-date portfolio valuations, information on how clients’ assets are invested, daily investment performance data, and a repository for detailed investment and tax reports – accessible across the device of choice.

Alongside each phase launch, detailed training sessions were provided to ensure users were familiar with the new technology and new available reports.

A successful, and collaborative project

The project went live on-time and on-budget and has been deemed a success by internal stakeholders and clients. Through close collaboration, an ambitious project has delivered market leading functionality and a new industry standard for reporting – updated daily, with consistent data and branding -  for Heartwood’s private clients, third-party providers and external IFA firms. Heartwood’s Dynamic Reporting offering meets specific client needs, and is a source of competitive advantage.

Operationally, Heartwood has realized benefits from the deployment of SimCorp Coric through increased automation and the daily delivery of information to the business and clients. As a result, the number of individual and manual reports run has reduced considerably and regulatory reports are generated faster, meaning clients receive reports quicker after month-end and quarter-end. For example, a key feature of Heartwood’s new solution is the ability to make changes to reports following client feedback post-launch. When there is a need to make minor adjustments  Heartwood’s business client reporting team has the tools to make changes without significant IT resources.

The client view – Dynamic Reporting

Heartwood’s clients have engaged with the new tools delivered by Dynamic Reporting. In particular the mobile solution has enabled clients with a few free minutes to get quick updates  on their portfolio valuation, performance and Heartwood strategies.

Additionally, Heartwood’s advisers find the tools a great way to discuss Heartwood strategies with new prospects. While sitting with a prospective client they are able to look at the performance over different time periods, answer questions, and ensure clients have a deeper understanding of choices. The engagement created by an online tool, as opposed to reviewing a presentation, has resulted in better quality conversations with clients.

We are pleased to be entering a new era of communications and reporting to our clients. The introduction of digital reporting processes and self-service features provided by SimCorp Coric is a key requirement for us. With trust and transparency at the heart of our business strategy, we are committed to continually developing customer-oriented solutions to support our clients. Our radical overhaul of client communications is part of this pledge, and a means to create lasting added value.Matt Hollier, Head of Investment Product, Heartwood Investment Management

Quick facts

Award-winning boutique investment business
Specialists focused on multi asset investing
£3.8 billion under management and administration, as of 30 September 2019
Part of the Handelsbanken group

About Heartwood

Heartwood Investment Management (Heartwood) is a trading name of Heartwood Wealth Management Ltd which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in the conduct of investment business, and is a wholly owned subsidiary of Handelsbanken plc.

Heartwood Investment Management provides investment management services for individuals, financial advisers and charities.