BMO Wealth Management unveiled upgrades to its client service at its downtown Toronto headquarters, including revamped SmartFolio and adviceDirect platforms.
Canada’s fourth-largest lender held an investor day yesterday, with chief executive Darryl White outlining how it has spent more than $2 billion on technology as it targets a million new personal banking customers over the next five years. White said: “We're not taking a back seat to anybody on the digital agenda.”
In the wealth space, it demoed BMO WealthPath, a new goals-based financial planning platform developed with Voyant that goes live next month to BMO Nesbitt Burns Investment Advisors and financial planners in BMO branches across the country.
Staff also showed off myWealth, a “next generation” onboarding application for investment advisors, which features eSignature and claims to sign up clients in 15 minutes.
The improvements to investment platforms SmartFolio and adviceDirect, meanwhile, was a response to new investors still feeling confused and intimidated by the online process.
Silvio Stroescu, president, BMO InvestorLine, said the new look makes it easier for those reluctant to invest to feel engaged with the onboarding process.
He said: “We found that people who were new to investing were still hesitant to adopt the solution. So we did focus groups and research and went to people who hadn’t started investing but had the money to and asked them why they were reluctant to invest.
“We talked to them and the ones that went online and didn’t act said it was too confusing, I don’t fully understand the acronyms, I don’t even know what account I want, so it’s easier to have a conversation with someone, a dialogue.
“Now you have this technology that looks more like dialogue than the static fill-in forms.”
Stroescu said adoption has doubled on the SmartFolio platform and quadrupled on adviceDirect as more clients embrace the new technology. He also urged advisors to see the tools as a complement to their business and an effective way to scale with email notifications and advice, adding that the amount of new investors had gone up from 35% to 50%.
He said: “We are seeing more clients embrace the solutions and I think part of it is how simple you make that digital engagement forum. If you launch these solutions with the static forum and have to figure it out on your own without guidance or support, the chances of getting an adoption are slim.
“If I’m getting guidance and dialogue and you are helping me along the way, it will be easier for me to do that.”
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