The team behind Topaz has been designing and building digital products for decades. Working together over the last few years as part of Windmill, now our sister company, we have been instrumental in re-working experiences across the wealth management value-chain for many financial institutions. We were always led by our strong company culture of focus on the end user. But we observed a recurring and, to us, strange theme in the market: The digital experience available to the high-net-worth individual (HWNI) did not live up to the high experience standards witnessed elsewhere in their lives.
It seemed counterintuitive that the area you would perhaps expect to see the most focus – expensive advisory and related services – lagged behind.
We saw an industry ripe for change and crying out for a new market standard. And we knew we wanted to be part of it and show what we could do.
We identified a number of drivers which would speed the industry towards our nascent proposition:
- Delivering remarkable client experience was finally becoming a recognized industry priority.
- Developments in process automation enabled more self-service capabilities, more agile ways of working, and more workplace flexibility.
- Wealth was transferring to the digital-first generations, who conduct their lives via smartphone.
- APIs had become ubiquitous, making integration & enhanced cloud security easier.
- Tools were enabling tracking and processing of usage and behaviours, contributing to better user understanding and insights.
And lastly, the complexity and pace of life for HNWIs seemed ever-increasing. We were betting that eventually this would lead to demand for more rounded service offerings from the institutions serving them today, such as health and lifestyle.
Innovation leading to complexity?
These and other drivers were shaking up the current wealth eco-system in many different ways. A plethora of wealthtech systems grew impressively, covering the A-Z of wealth management, from back to middle to front office. But still we asked ourselves the question: What about the wealth owner in all this?
Rather than simplifying, we saw a system that was complexifying. Today, each institution is heading towards a mix of in-house and third-party solutions. Firms are struggling to work out how to leverage the ecosystems in a joined up way. And in our view, the wealth owner remains underserved, either through too many separate experiences, or by a compromised scope of available services.
Our customers asked us for help to address this problem, and Topaz started taking shape.
One cutting-edge, premium experience
Software firms need to focus and invest their resources in what they excel at, otherwise efforts are diluted and ultimately this will show. We knew we needed to specialize and to be the best at that single thing.
That thing for us is a best-in-class data and system integration platform laser-focused on supporting a rich, broad and seamless digital experience for wealth owners. We will own the experience, and be the leader that everyone else follows.
As we saw, there are plenty of systems out there, but we tie them together for the benefit of the private client, removing the need for users to have more than one portal or type of digital interaction, while tracking usage and behaviours.
This experience drives engagement and deepens relationships. And helps firms with the anticipated broadening of scope from “wealth management” to “life management”.
When you think about it, none of this stuff is optional if firms wish to survive and thrive. The shift is here: Our designers and engineers are creating the new market standard.