2007 was a "transitional" year in the application of information technology within the Wealth Management industry, as more firms adopted "sophisticated front end Client Relations Management systems in the quest for enhanced service quality and operating efficiencies," according to Mr. Kelly Tallas, CEO of WealthCraft Systems.
During the coming year, Tallas, who focuses on the Asia Pacific region, expects to see a strategic imperative for financial institutions to use IT to "transform processes with the twin objectives of greater efficiency in funds transactions through automation at the front end and particularly the back end, and stronger support for the client relationship managers."
Singapore, Hong Kong and Taiwan have led the way in developing the wealth management industry in the Asia Pacific region with assets under management increasing dramatically during 2007, according to various government figures cited by the WealthCrafters.
In accordance with pretty much everyone else making these kinds of predictions this time of year, WealthCraft thinks in the year ahead, China will become an increasing focus, with the mainland private banking market forecast to expand by a compounded annual growth rate of 12.5 percent over the next five years "as institutions tap China's rapid increase of wealthy individuals," numbering about 800,000 US dollar millionaires.
"We believe that front and particularly back office operations will face a bottleneck and a potential operational crisis as early as in the coming year if they don't automate the funds transaction process," said Tallas.
Within the wealth management sector, the volume of fund orders in Asia is clearly increasing at an unprecedented pace with Asian demand for mutual funds and unit trusts registering well into double-digit growth for 2007, according to SWIFT. However, manual intervention throughout the entire funds transactional cycle -- order, confirmation, pricing, reconciliation and exception processing -- is still common.
"Financial institutions will realize that CRM and client reporting systems can deliver competitive advantages, enabling them to differentiate themselves and build customer loyalty by fulfilling ambitious growth expectations for their clients in the wealth management sectors."
This summer WealthCraft bolstered its presence in China with the opening of the company's representative office in Beijing. The new office will try to sell the country's fast-growing middle class on WealthCraft's wealth management solutions and services.
"The expansion of our Chinese operations is a critical part of our global strategy," said Kelly Tallas, CEO of WealthCraft. The new Beijing office adds to the momentum that began with the company's Shenzhen operations, set up in October 2005 and mainly responsible for research and development.
WealthCraft "enables firms to realize the great potential in the areas of customer relations management (CRM), financial planning, portfolio management, and order management," James He, Senior Vice President of Sales & Marketing in the Beijing office, said.
Last November WealthCraft Systems, a publicly-held Nevada corporation, acquired the outstanding shares of Hong Kong-based WealthCraft Systems Ltd. in a share exchange, it was announced by Tallas.
Under the terms of the share exchange agreement, WealthCraft Systems Ltd. became the wholly-owned and principal operating subsidiary of WealthCraft Systems, Inc.
David Sims is a contributing editor for ContactCenterSolutions. To see more of his articles, please visit his columnist page.
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