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Operational Effectiveness: Tighten Up Your Team’s Execution Webinar Recap

About this session:

This event was a discussion around operational excellence for wealth management firms. The conversation covered various aspects of operations, from client onboarding to technology integration, with a focus on how to improve execution and drive growth. The session also included demonstrations of two technology platforms, Advisor Engine and Nitrogen and how they relate to the overall topic.

Insights Surfaced:

  1. Firms need to define their operations categories and have a clear understanding of what operational excellence looks like.
  2. The client journey needs to be mapped out to expose areas of strength and gaps in the service delivery.
  3. Firms should focus on two to three relevant areas and gather inputs to drive operational excellence.
  4. It’s important to have a defined owner for each operational task to ensure accountability and consistent results.
  5. Firms should use tools like a Moscow list (Must have, Should have, Could have, and Won’t have list) to prioritize their operational goals.

Meet the Speakers

Craig Ramsey, COO, AdvisorEngine

Craig, a versatile business leader, drives company-wide alignment and operational excellence. With a background in corporate strategy, investment banking, and consulting, he joined AdvisorEngine from WisdomTree, where he led strategy and expanded into technology solutions. Craig also brings experience from firms like BofA Merrill Lynch, Accenture, Croft & Bender, and UBS. He holds degrees from Vanderbilt University and actively supports Back on My Feet, a nonprofit combating homelessness.

Nick Harding, SVP Advisor Care and Success, Nitrogen

Nick Harding is SVP of Advisor Care and Success and has been an integral part of the Nitrogen team since joining in 2015. He frequently represents Nitogen at conferences and events across the country, providing financial advisors with tools and ideas to align the world’s investments with each investor’s Risk Number. Nick lives in the Sacramento Valley area and enjoys spending time with family and building LEGO with his son.

John O’Connell, CEO, The Oasis Group

John O’Connell, with over 30 years of leadership experience, started his career at Merrill Lynch and KPMG Peat Marwick. He held top roles at Oracle for 8+ years, led a FinTech company, and held C-level positions at two global firms. He’s now CEO of The Oasis Group, specializing in aiding wealth management and tech firms with complex challenges like tech selection, sales strategies, and client processes. Author of “Rise of The Activist Investor,” he holds a Bachelor’s in Computer Science & Mathematics (College of Staten Island) and an MBA in Finance (Rider University).

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Takeaway 1: Leveraging technology and implementing effective operational strategies can significantly improve a firm’s productivity and client satisfaction

In the webinar, it was discussed how operational excellence can enhance a firm’s growth and client satisfaction. The speakers emphasized the importance of defining the firm’s operational categories, streamlining the client journey, and utilizing technology to optimize various operational processes.

John O’Connell of the Oasis Group suggested that the first step towards operational excellence is to identify what needs to be measured in the company. “The first thing you need to ask yourself is what do you want to measure in the company and why?” he stated. He also highlighted the importance of assigning individual owners to each operation to ensure accountability and drive results.

Nick Harding of Nitrogen also emphasized the importance of identifying quick wins to drive momentum. He introduced the concept of MVP or minimum viable product and encouraged firms to test their assumptions and move forward iteratively. “A minimum viable product is the back of the napkin idea that you use sometimes in your analysis,” he said.

Takeaway 2: Effective communication and regular evaluation of operations are crucial for maintaining operational excellence

The webinar highlighted the importance of regular communication and evaluation in maintaining operational excellence. The panelists shared various tools and strategies to enhance communication within the team and ensure regular evaluation of operational processes.

John O’Connell recommended the use of a Moscow list, a tool for prioritizing tasks and projects based on their importance and urgency. “A Moscow list is a must have, should have, could have, and won’t have list,” he explained. He also emphasized the importance of regular project meetings for effective communication and problem-solving.

Craig Ramsey of Advisor Engine stressed the significance of company culture in operational excellence. He pointed out that operational excellence should not just be the responsibility of the operations team, but rather a collective effort of the entire company. “I don’t think you can have operational excellence unless you really weave it into your company culture and enlist your full company in that push,” he stated.

Takeaway 3: Digital tools can significantly enhance operational efficiency and client experience

The webinar also discussed how digital tools can significantly enhance operational efficiency and improve client experience. Both Advisor Engine and Nitrogen showcased their respective digital platforms designed to aid firms in managing their operations more efficiently.

Alex Wiens of Nitrogen demonstrated how the Nitrogen platform can help firms quantify the best interest of clients and prospects through their risk number feature. “The best one-liner I have for this product is that it is a sales tool hidden in plain sight behind the practice of great advice,” he said.

Kathy Crowley of Advisor Engine showed how their platform could provide firms with comprehensive business intelligence, client portal, and billing engine. “We have an amazing connection between the CRM and portfolio management,” she said. These digital tools, according to Crowley, can help firms track their growth, manage their client onboarding process, and ensure efficient billing operations.

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