Managing Change

Euvita contends that in Wealth Management there is little that is a really a highly innovative strategy; most successful propositions are a combination of factors that have already proven to be in demand and are then well packaged for the defined target audience. Most of these targets are being addressed by several wealth managers with broader similar offerings. The difference in relative success and failure of these competitors is typically driven by how well they implement their proposition. Too often large scale strategic initiatives end with a market launch that attracts little real client conversion or positive reaction once the PR campaign is over.

We have observed this ‘failure to launch’ on a frequent basis in the market place and have occasionally been asked by clients to help turnaround a faltering implementation process. The most significant causes of failing to achieve the planned growth in clients, assets and revenues for such strategic initiatives are:

1. Ineffective translation of desired strategic outcomes into well defined options for delivery. In particular not taking into consideration the capabilities of the business to implement a given service to the requisite level of quality, on a consistent basis.

2. Incorrect definition of the initiative. Care must be taken up front to understand what is the finish line and ensure that it relates to the business case i.e. not just a launched app or a recruited and trained team, but a number of new clients, growth in AUMs, transactional throughput etc. Too many initiatives stop at the first opportunity to declare victory with the business goals still a long way off.

3. Poor understanding of scope. Related to the above but what exact deliverables will be achieved in the first phase, balancing reasonable market impact with feasibility. What at this point is being identified as phase 2 or 3, and what impact will that have on the proposition?

4. Insufficient definition work up front. Projects tend to under achieve when there is there not enough clarity on what is to be implemented. In the absence of detail, the easy path is often taken and the delivery is not fit for purpose. Make sure that the relevant business processes are defined and expanded to a target operating model. All IT requirements should then be surfaced, defined and prioritised.

5. However there is also a danger in over analysis. Some firms never get through to a decision point to actually start the delivery project or do so after such a long period of time that the opportunity for market impact is much diminished.

6. In most cases, in even the largest wealth management firms, a third party provider will be required for technology, business processing or both. Poor selection is a common cause of failure as the partner cannot deliver what is required functionally or does so at unacceptable levels of quality. For a white paper on this subject, please contract us using the Enquiry Form.

7. An obvious but very common cause is where implementation is poorly run as a project. While this is always true, in our experience Wealth Managers often struggle with implementation. Firstly their size dictates a lack of internal implementation resource, resulting in the assignment of line managers, often without the project management skillset, always without the time. If delivering on time, to budget, to scope and hitting the project goals is important to you, hire or rent professional project management support.

8. Once done, make sure your project management resources can adapt their tools and methods to the culture of the organization. Most importantly ensure they understand how to present and utilize these techniques in a time pressured environment where management will have little appetite for anything perceived to be more about meetings and documentation than getting stuff done.

9. While managing change is much harder without the use of such formal methods, it is near impossible without the appropriate application of soft change management skills. Spend time throughout the project on selling the rationale, involving key staff, especially opinion formers, and educating and preparing all staff for life after implementation. If the change is bad news for some, don’t sugarcoat it, but do make sure everyone understands what the future looks like as a more successful, growth oriented business.

At Euvita we have consistently delivered to project goals established upfront in the engagement charter and we have received highly positive feedback from numerous clients. It is not unusual to hear that they are that our project management methods should be applied throughout their internal projects. This success has often been achieved where there are limited resources and distinct internal barriers to implementing change.

For more information including free materials on our light Project Management methodology, please get in contact using the Enquiry Form