Question of the Month: Ensuring DOL Compliance
For much of the past year, the wealth management industry has alternately dreaded and lamented the DOL Fiduciary Standard rule.
With the DOL legislation now behind us, how can broker-dealers successfully adjust their business strategy?
This question was posed to us recently when a large, independent broker dealer (IBD) was in need of a corporate strategy re-alignment in response to the DOL rule. The legislation affected every part of its business, from product offerings and pricing to technology and competitive positioning. The firm did not just hope to keep up – it wanted to leverage our expertise to turn this regulatory response into a growth opportunity and a way to differentiate themselves from their competition.
Our IBD client needed to go beyond strategic option analysis on the business model. They were looking for help crafting a compelling value proposition, new products with new pricing models. In addition, they required an expert analysis and recommendations on their current wealth management platform.
The firm has begun the process of organizational change to respond to the challenge, but lacked the subject matter expertise and competitive intelligence to make long-term strategic decisions.
With the firm’s efforts underway, we began by integrating our consulting team into the client’s DOL task force. Our goal was to minimize disruption and duplication and to deliver maximum value quickly.
We scheduled a series of in-depth interviews to collect the data on the organizational shortfalls. The interviews were followed by a comprehensive study of the firm’s P&L, products, relationship with third party money managers and the effectiveness of the technology platform, including opportunities for system integration and gaps in functionality.
The results of our “deep dive”, combined with key competitive intelligence, became a set of recommendations for moving forward.
With the goal of maximizing the impact of the study, we delivered an executive action roadmap that leveraged best practices, relied on facts, and was grounded in reality. By tapping into Ezra Group’s technology expertise and industry insights, our IBD client is able to introduce a revamped suite of product offerings that are DOL-compliant and client-centric. That in turn increases potential revenue growth and lowers the cost of ongoing compliance.
The gap analysis of the existing wealth management platform has highlighted areas of strength and weaknesses versus competitors. The firm now has the competitive intelligence and pricing insights to make informed choices about optimizing the platform for the benefit of advisors and clients alike.
Ensure DOL compliance by leveraging expertise
For broker-dealers who are considering their strategic options after the DOL ruling now is the time to consider what kind of business they want to operate in the future. Once their target is set, the next step is a methodical and objective assessment of whether the current digital platform, product offerings and internal systems support their vision. By involving experts early, broker dealers are able to shorten the learning curve, leverage technical expertise and turn the regulatory challenge into a growth opportunity.