Bridging the communication gap in investment recommendations

CapIntel founder and CEO explains how platform helps turn an advisor problem into a client relationship touchpoint

Bridging the communication gap in investment recommendations

Even during the early chapters of his professional life, James Rockwood wanted to run a business that would make a meaningful impact on the world. As someone with an accounting background who worked in investment banking, his world revolved around money in the context of business and corporate deal-making, but he knew it was also important in another sense.

“To me, wealth management is an incredibly important industry,” Rockwood, the founder and CEO of CapIntel, said in an interview with Wealth Professional. “A lot of people's long-term life goals – buying a home, putting a child through school, or retiring on time – are underpinned by wealth management.”

As vital as he knew it was, he couldn’t see a way to make his mark in the space. That changed in 2016, when industry coverage and conversations started to gravitate heavily around how firms deliver investment information to clients. Curious, he began to interview advisors and retail clients to see if he could identify any particular pain points.

“I found out that there's a lot of issues around the technology advisors have available to deliver investment advice, specifically around investment products, and how they can easily explain them to customers,” Rockwood says. “There was also a lot of confusion with customers around that information. I thought it'd be a really good opportunity to make a difference, so I quit my job and started CapIntel.”

Today, CapIntel has established itself as a reliable fintech solution for advisors, with the capability to quickly generate intuitive views of a client’s investments and generate customized proposals suitable for a client’s risk profile in an interactive, real-time manner. Its value proposition is resonating with firms and companies; in the last year alone, it has inked partnerships with Canadian names such as IG Wealth Management, Canada Life, and Equitable Life.

As Rockwood explains, CapIntel supports advisors’ efforts to provide holistic wealth management and enables them to look beyond investments and out into the overall financial plan. The solution they deliver through the platform, he says, is to help advisors articulate their investment recommendations in a way that makes sense to retail customers through simple graphics and transparent metrics.

“Not every retail investor has the same level of education and sophistication when it comes to investments. And so you need to be able to make it make sense to them in a way that they can appreciate it,” he says. “Having a mixture of both quantitative and qualitative information gives you a much broader spectrum through which you can widen people's understanding of investments, and ultimately allow them to understand why you’re making a specific recommendation.”

By giving advisors access to an expansive universe of financial data, investment products, indexes, and other information, the CapIntel platform enables advisors to converse and engage with clients in many ways. Showing a behaviour of a GIC versus the market, for example, can bring home an important message about volatility, which could be crucial for advisors as they persuade panicked clients to stay the course.

“It’s all part of client education and making people feel really confident in their investment management,” Rockwood says. “If they feel that they're being looked after it, it creates a strong sense of trust, which can help strengthen the relationship and help give more weight to the advice given.”

Amid regulatory pressures, platforms like CapIntel are seeing increased adoption across the North American wealth space. It’s no surprise, as the idea of saving time on administrative and compliance concerns is resonating among firms, from the practice to the enterprise level.

But as Rockwood emphasizes, adoption of digital solutions doesn’t stop with patching a new piece of software into an organization’s pre-existing tech ecosystem. As they navigate a dizzying array of different systems – including both legacy applications and newer, more user-friendly systems – countless advisors are having to feel their way through a highly fractured workflow that makes it harder to spend time actually discussing clients’ financial situations with them.

“I think what’s really urgent right now is optimizing the advisor workflow, and that’s an area where we’re trying to help now,” Rockwood says, underscoring the importance of having a cohesive and consistent workflow. “Advisors should be spending as much time as they can with clients; any minute they don’t spend with the clients is opportunity cost. So the challenge of how to minimize those opportunity costs through a simple, efficient workflow is something that people are getting wise to now.”