Architecting an elegant, user-friendly wealth-management application for financial advisors requires an understanding of (1) current processes, (2) existing experiences and, most importantly, (3) the challenges of using present-day systems. These three components will directly contribute to the direction of the user interface design and development.
When managing wealth, one key activity financial advisors perform is trading investments within their client’s portfolio. The need to execute a trade is most often a consequence of a change in the market or client request. To carry this out, five fundamental steps must take place: (1) review the account, (2) select the trades, (3) provide the trading instructions (i.e., the number of shares), (4) review the estimated trade impact, and (5) implement the desired trade set. Present-day systems pose three critical challenges when executing the trading process: data display, impact, and traceability. Let’s explore how we can design technology to address these three challenges at each step:
1. Account Review
Existing systems allow advisors to select the investments to trade without providing a high-level financial overview of the specific account, leaving advisors with the difficult task of deciphering the account-level impact of the desired trades.
Providing the necessary financial overview requires the display of the following key data points: (1) Account Market Value, (2) Portfolio Market Value, (3) Pre-Trade Cash Balance, and (4) Projected Cash Balance. These data points are critical as they give the advisor insight into the account’s value, the funds available for the trade set, and the projected post-trade balance.
2. Trade Selection
Understanding the account’s underlying structure is critical to determining the trade actions available to the advisor. Currently, advisors pick the investment to trade from a list. This list displays the investment name but does not indicate the investment-type or the corresponding trade actions, making it difficult for advisors to understand how the investments, and therefore the trades, will affect the overall health of the account.
An account can be composed of three independent investment types (1) UMA Model (composed of Third-Party Managers, Strategies, Individual Assets) (2) Strategy (composed of Individual Assets) and, (3) Non-Model Assets (Individual Assets that exist outside a UMA Model or Strategy). Based on the investment type, an advisor can execute specific trade actions. For example, an advisor can (1) raise or (2) invest at the UMA Model or Strategy level, or they can (1) buy or (2) sell at the Individual Asset level. However, given that UMA Models can be composed of Strategies, and Individual Assets, an advisor can choose not to execute trade actions at the UMA Model level, but within the UMA Model. They can raise/invest at the Strategy level or buy/sell at the Individual Asset level—all within the UMA Model. As a result of this complexity, the user interface must indicate the hierarchy of the investments and the correct action at each investment level.
3. Trade Instruction
Once an advisor has selected the trades to include in the trade set, they submit the instructions that will dictate the amount of money to raise or invest at the UMA Model or Strategy level, or the number of shares to buy or sell at the Individual Asset level. In the current experience, once a trade instruction is added to the trade set, advisors are unable to determine from which investment the trade instruction is taking place.
When trading at multiple levels within an investment type, traceability becomes critical as duplications of Individual Assets and Strategies may exist in the account. Therefore, to ensure correct trade-instruction implementation, advisors need to see where the individual trade actions are coming from for each investment type.
4. Estimated Trade Impact
The final significant step in the trade process is verifying the trades in preparation for submission. Today, advisors have access to a read-only view of their trade set. However, this information alone is insufficient to determine whether or not an advisor should execute the trade for the specific account, as it does not provide the estimated trade impact.
An informative view includes a summary of the trade set as well as the estimated trade impact for each investment. Four key data points to include are: total buys, total sells, market value, and net gain/loss. Combined, this information will help advisors determine if they want to proceed with the implementation or adjust the trade set. Once satisfied with the trade set, there’s only one step left. Step 5: implement it!
When designing a solution to help financial advisors manage their clients’ wealth, understanding their process execution, their current technology, and their addressable pain points are essential to creating a great user experience. To learn how Anexinet can help your application quickly get from napkin-back to smartphone screen in a matter of weeks, please check out our Application Scoping and Prototype Kickstart. This Kickstart provides a proven, well-defined plan that combines business-need with a comprehensive implementation approach, identifying potential issues early-on to ensure a successful strategy.