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The New Technology Enterprise Wealth Firms are Engaging: Robotic Process Automation (RPA)

March 25, 2020

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In the past year, we have seen RPA permeate into Enterprise Wealth firms. Recently, at FSI we heard a panel of technologists discuss how they are using RPA to streamline operational processes, save money, and improve multiple persona-based experiences.

Last week, I had the opportunity to talk to Chris Mills, EVP of Kovack Securities. Chris runs day-to-day operations at the firm and is a proponent of RPA to supply efficiencies and realize ROI within his eco-system. Kovack’s journey with RPA is relatively new, but already he has seen gains from its implementation. Fundamental advances due to adopting RPA have initially centered around being able to move data around without direct human intervention, replacing them with Digital Workers running “Processes.”

Chris feels that Kovack is at the tip of the spear when it comes to applying RPA innovation to the broader needs of enterprise wealth firms. In Chris’s mind, Kovack has validated that RPA can be a useful tool for helping streamline operational processes. It was fun to hear Chris enthusiastically talk about RPA. Chris highlighted a few examples that resonated with us, and immediately we recognized his wins.

The first example helps Kovack’s compensation team. Specifically, RPA can take statements from those investment companies that refuse to buildout electronic feeds. The Kovack team got into the weeds with RPA to solve this inefficiency and built out a process that reads the PDFs and digests the data into an electronic medium that can be input into their Broadridge compensation system. When added up, this Digital Worker Process saved a week of manually entry time, as well as largely doing away with manual entry errors.

The second example again supports evolving from traditional manual ten-key data entry and its errors. The particular Digital Worker Process solving for this challenge is one that can gather data and populate Kovack’s risk tolerance solution RiskPro. In short, the questionnaire answers are gathering in PDF format.  The Digital Worker collects the data from the PDFs, and then filling the RiskPro data engine. The Digital Worker again saves time and eliminates errors. Additionally, this process is a data driver and facilitates advisors being able to have “risk” discussions with their investors/customers that help establish accurate investing models.

Our final example of Kovack’s implemented automation use is targeting the challenges of processing direct mutual fund business. For Kovack, direct mutual funds and alternatives account for a meaningful percentage of their advisors’ transactional flow. Traditionally, new direct account business is manually entered into their systems – Broadridge and Docupace. To again save time and minimize errors, Chris and his team are using a Digital Worker to gather account information from the submitted new account PDFs, and then populating Kovack’s core systems efficiently, without manual errors, and with one version of the data truth.

Kovack has enlisted two firms to help with their automation initiative  – Cano Ai and Invoke, Inc. Both leverage Blue Prism technology, among other intelligent automation tools.

In light of our current COVID-19 world, the need to leverage RPA to support enterprise wealth operations, compliance is front and center. RPA is a building block of digital transformation. Why? Digital Workers are streamlining traditionally manual processes that are inefficient, drain resources, and pose relationship challenges. These processes deliver speed, consistency, and the opportunity to serve both advisors and investors/customers better.

Stay tuned! Robotic Process Automation is an area that Beacon will be spending a great deal of time on helping our customers in 2020 and 2021.