Personalized Digitalization – An Oxymoron or a Real Thing?

Financial institutions continue to invest in automation, analytics, AI, and digital technologies in an effort to provide more services, mitigate risk, increase efficiencies, drive revenue, and reduce costs.

But does it drive greater personalization and improved consumer experience or reduce it?

Consumers want their financial institutions to demonstrate that they understand them, and consumers want to be rewarded for their loyalty. Consumers want to receive outstanding service. But what does this mean in practical terms?

A recent bank consumer survey attempted to better understand what “personalization” meant to them. Here’s what some said.

1. “Bells and whistles great, but so what.”
2. “Keep my money safe and secure. That’s what banks are supposed to do.”
3. “Just make it easier to start new services and open accounts. Why is it so hard? Why do I have to go into the branch in this day and age?”
4. ‘It’s a pandemic. Branch hours were reduced. So now I have to do more virtually. So, make it easier for me. There’s so much technology for virtual meetings. Why do I have to make an appointment online to go into the branch? Why can’t I just make an appointment to meet online? Or just get in an online queue, no different than standing in line in the branch? My doctor can do it. Why can’t my banker?
5. “Why do I call a contact center, have to verify my identity in the system, then wait for a long time to get to a customer service rep, then have to verify again over the phone with the human. Why do I get verified twice? By the time I get to the customer service rep and actually get to the reason I called, 10 minutes have passed. Personalization means you respect my time as much as you respect your time.”
6. “Really all I want is for the time bank to try and get my item resolved as quickly as possible. Be efficient. That’s personalization to me. That’s how I pick an institution.”
7. “Personalization? Keep fraud and breaches from happening and don’t make mistakes with my money. This makes me trust you. This let’s me know you take my money seriously.”
8. “If you want to ‘personalize me’, make it easy for me to do all my transactions on my mobile device, on my laptop, on all my points of contact.”
9. “If personalization means getting more of my wallet, it doesn’t sound like personalization to me.”
10. “If I’m conducting my business digitally and have a challenge, make it easy for me to get interact with a human and get help. Don’t make me wrestle with a chatbot before it becomes apparent that this can’t help.”
11. “I’d like my financial institution to understand my needs and to treat me like they know me.”
12. “I’ve been a long-time customer of one bank. I’m leaving them. Why do I always see incentive programs offered to get new customers but in all my years at the bank, I never see an incentive or reward program as a loyal customer. They don’t care about me. I don’t care about them.”

The survey highlights that consumers want their digital experience to respect their time, get their issues resolved quickly, increase their ability to bank outside of the confines of the brick and mortar, increase their ability to get human help, recognize their loyalty, and personalize their experience.

Some financial services institutions are achieving these customer goals with their digitalization, some are not. Does your institution’s digital strategy include or align with these customer asks as well as meeting the institutional revenue and cost goals?

AscentBT can help your firm develop and execute a digital plan that will meet both the customer and institutions goals.

Open Banking – Item Processing Integration and Automation

The Challenge

A super regional bank was looking for methods of streamlining its item processing operation, shortening the processing cycles, reducing the overall costs, and decreasing the complexity of the number of constituents involved in the overall process.

The Solution

It was determined that the 75% of the non On Us checks came from 3 major banking institutions. The feasibility of establishing an item processing arrangement directly with these institutions rather than through the Federal Reserve was evaluated inclusive of services and service levels, operating standards, policies, procedures, terms and conditions, technical solutions, integration capability, governance and controls, fraud, fees, and other key aspects of such an important relationship. The decision was made to implement the direct item processing integration between the super regional bank and the 3 major banking institutions. The solution was successfully implemented.

The Benefits

The direct integration and automation of the item processing between the super regional bank and the 3 major US firms significantly reduced the processing cycle times, overall process costs, human error, and an increase in NSF revenue.

Open Banking – Data Integration Between Entities

financial services integration

The Challenge

A bank needed to make its retail customer profile data and bank product and services data available to 3rd party payment provider systems to enable new products and services with the payee partner.


The Solution

APIs were developed for the bank for retail customer profile data and bank product and services data access. The payment provider integrated them in their customer application process inclusive of application, approval, and onboarding. The APIs allowed for the ability to read, insert, and update the data.

The Benefits

The bank was able to offer new payment services capabilities to their customers that previously weren’t available in real time with limited error. Customer support for the services was incorporated into the contact center to further enhance the customer experience.

FinTech Software and Data Company M&A

The Challenge

A FinTech software company placed itself on the market for sale. Detailed due diligence was necessary to determine the value, risk, and cost of integrating the firm. If the due diligence process resulted in the acquisition of the Fintech company, the integration had to be executed flawlessly without any adverse customer experience impact.

The Solution

Due diligence was performed on the customers, products and services, financials, information technology, organization and personnel, business and data operations, cybersecurity, compliance, and other critical aspects of the potential target. Merger P&L forecasts, integration roadmaps and timelines, synergies, integration risks and a bid price were developed. The company was acquired and integrated.

The Benefits

Revenues were increased 60% and EBITDA by 30%. A significant customer list was acquired. The geographic footprint and market were significantly expanded in the US nationally and across Europe and Asia. The overall breadth of financial market data content was significantly increased, the software product and managed services portfolio were significantly expanded and the feature/functionality of existing product and services was greatly enhanced. There was zero adverse impact to the customer bases caused by the integration.

Loan Packaging Optimization with RPA

The Challenge

The loan packaging process needed to be shorter with reduced manual human error and rework and at a lower cost to remain competitive in the market and maintain margins. Economic conditions did not support addressed the challenge by simply improving existing processes and hiring more staff and training them better.

The Solution


Robotic process automation bots were implemented to perform the tasks summarized below.


  • The bot downloaded the loan package and split the documentation by classification type.
  • The bot correctly indexed documents and validated or identified missing documents or information.
  • The bot updates the loan details on the LOS as required such as the order compliance report, flood certificate, fraud report, and loans in the LOS.

The Benefits

The solution resulted in 30% AHT reduction and greater than $3 MM USD of annualized savings

Harnessing Your Customer Data for ROI and Value Add

The Challenge

A US based financial market data provider had grown from $10M in revenue and roughly 30 products into a world-wide $60M revenue firm with over 100 product and services offerings. The company didn’t have an overall view of their customer inclusive of products and services provided, customer experience, operating needs, and sales data; exec management wasn’t able to provide accurate operating reports; and customers were experiencing significant customer service and data quality challenges.

The Solution

A customer profile system was implemented with a 360 view of the customer inclusive of the company’s overall products and services, the customers and their purchased products and services, contract terms, product and services operating and delivery detail, and integration into the customer points of contact (mobile, browser, etc.). Management dashboards were developed, automated intelligent customer operations alerts and next product to sell heuristics were implemented, and data analytics to develop customer retention and sales programs were implemented.

The Benefits

More precise and comprehensive executive management reports allowed for improved decision-making and investment decisions, cross sales by an average of 25% within each customer, customer service satisfaction increased and operating issues reduced, new revenue generating services and products were identified, regulatory compliance issues were mitigated, and company morale improved.

Contact Center Customer Experience

The Challenge

A super regional bank’s customers were complaining about contact center wait times, difficulty getting resolutions to their inquiries that were accurate or timely. Internal lines of business felt that they’re operating personnel were fulfilling the majority of the inquiry resolutions. Executive management felt the contact center was extremely expensive for the service provided and the contact center believed they were being unfairly measured.

The Solution

An end-to-end analysis of 6 months of customer inquiries was performed to understand the contact center services and the customer experience through the lifecycle of an inquiry inclusive of initial call to IVR to customer service rep to the relevant back – office operation to the resolution to the delivery of the resolution to the customer. The analysis measured the duration of each phase, the point at which the resolution occurred, the customer satisfaction, and evaluated the technology solutions, processes, and customer service reps roles and responsibilities. As a result of the analysis, the IVR menus were rewritten, inquiry resolutions were automated and moved earlier in the cycle, functions were automated, the customer service reps roles were redefined, operating dashboards were implemented, and the contact center revenue generation and cost were reevaluated.

The Benefits

Over 50% of the customer inquiries were resolved earlier in the inquiry lifecycle, inquiries making it to the back office for resolution were reduced by 25%, customer satisfaction increased 30%, and product cross sell revenues increased by 6% while the contact center operating cost remained flat.

Tax and Accounting Principles for Hedge Funds

tax plan

Today’s environment and market volatility have prompted fund managers and investors to evaluate the tax implications of their portfolios. The dislocation of markets has created a dynamic that is more important than ever to monitor your portfolio from a tax perspective. 

The main events influencing tax planning this year are lessons learned from the 2008 financial crisis, the 2017 Tax Cut and Jobs Act, the COVID-19 pandemic, and various regulatory changes. There are a variety of topics that are of particular importance this tax season, as well as considerations that might arise in the coming year, such as modifications to the 2017 tax bill. Another area of special relevance this year is how the CARES Act impacts taxes. For instance, how should Paycheck Protection Program loans and Employee Retention credits be treated? What are the state and local impacts of a remote workforce? Also influencing tax planning this year is the recently released “The Made in America Tax Plan[1]” by President Biden.

The current corporate income tax regime contains incentives for corporations to shift their production and profits overseas. Declining corporate tax revenues hinder the ability of the United States to fund investments in infrastructure, research, technology, and green energy. The Made in America tax plan would fundamentally reorient corporate taxation to reverse this legacy.

The proposed tax plan implements a series of corporate tax reforms to address profit shifting and offshoring incentives and to level the playing field between domestic and foreign corporations. These include:

  1. Raising the corporate income tax rate to 28%.
  2. Strengthening the global minimum tax for U.S. multinational corporations.
  3. Reducing incentives for foreign jurisdictions to maintain ultra-low corporate tax rates by encouraging global adoption of robust minimum taxes.
  4. Enacting a 15% minimum tax on book income of large companies that report high profits, but have little taxable income.
  5. Replacing flawed incentives that reward excess profits from intangible assets with more generous incentives for new research and development.
  6. Replacing fossil fuel subsidies with incentives for clean energy production.
  7. Ramping up enforcement to address corporate tax avoidance.

These are the major elements of the Made in America tax plan, but the proposal contains several additional tax incentives that would directly benefit U.S. corporations, pass-through entities, and small businesses. These include, for example, a marked increase in the resources available through the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit and other housing incentives. These unique issues make it more important than ever to have a timely tax analysis on your portfolio, outlining tax efficiency goals and tools like a wash sale watch list, lost harvesting and aging reports.

Intelligent Automation: Capture the Right Prospects

Maintaining a competitive position in the industry means not only driving traffic to your website—it also means converting those visitors to future clients. With only two percent of website visitors converting on their first visit, your approach to discoverability must be strategic and replicable.
By implementing these seven steps, you can optimize your prospect-to-client conversion process.


1. Define Your Ideal Prospect

With the seemingly infinite reach of the internet, it can be tempting to take a wide-scale approach to attracting prospects. However, it’s more effective to narrow your target market, meet prospects where they are and communicate through the channels they prefer.
Take a moment to assess your top ten higher-value clients: What are the common themes that emerge from their demographics, interests and habits? Use these insights to develop a client profile. Understanding the interests and concerns of your ideal prospect will help inform your targeted marketing strategy and better attract these prospects to your website.


2. Implement Social Listening

To gain deeper insight into how prospects view your brand and your competitors, it’s important to monitor the social media channels that your qualified prospects frequent. However, finding the time to implement this useful strategy may be challenging. Broadridge’s in-house editorial team helps expand advisor capacity by actively researching which topics are most attractive to investors. Our experts analyze engagement and monitor keywords that are trending.


3. Diversify Your Touchpoints

Research shows that a cross-channel digital strategy is a must for growth-oriented advisors. A 2019 study that Broadridge conducted1 revealed that growth-oriented advisors who use a multi-channel digital approach achieve a client acquisition rate greater than three times the rate achieved by advisors who don’t use multiple channels. Digital channels include website, social media, email, digital advertising (including remarketing ads) and search. It’s critical that every touchpoint leads back to your website so you can recapture traffic and create a lead capture funnel.

Adding elements of each channel into your strategy will help ensure you’re reaching your prospects in the channels they frequent the most; this is especially true of remarketing banner ads, which create ongoing brand reminders to your previous website visitors. This is a non-intrusive marketing strategy you’ve probably seen in action. Online retailers, especially giants like Amazon, use retargeting ads to remind visitors to return to their website and pick up where they left off.


4. Establish Multiple Routes

Consumers today have multiple ways of finding websites online–social media, search engines, review sites, map apps, etc. While it is important to have a presence through as many channels as possible, these efforts must be replicable and sustainable. You must monitor your brand information online to ensure it is recent and comprehensive. Research suggests that complete and accurate local listings have a 50% greater chance of leading to a purchase2. Whatever combination of channels you choose, they should complement each other to maximize their collective impact.


5. Craft Valuable Content

Delivering relevant and compelling content, consistently, is an industry best practice. As you deliver your content through multiple channels, you open the door to lead nurturing, becoming a valuable resource and building trust with prospects. This is the same trust you want them to have in your ability to maximize their life savings and future retirement.

As an added bonus, sharing keyword-rich content through your website and social media profiles is a surefire way to boost your discoverability as investors search for answers online.

6. Optimize Your Website

The overwhelming number of search results competing for a consumer’s attention puts the first impression you make at a premium. Growth-oriented advisors take a methodical approach to designing a website that delivers ROI. Starting with the basics, key components include simple navigation, a clear goal on each webpage, and messaging and imagery that resonate with your target client. Upgrading your visuals to include an intro video will elevate the look and feel of your site. Communicate clear calls-to-action on every webpage to motivate visitors to engage with your brand.

Once the basic components have been integrated, strategically build upon them to increase engagement. A mobile responsive and flexible design for your website is a must. To ensure mobile-friendliness, highlight three to five of your services best known to generate referrals. Research shows that mobile websites which load in five seconds or less retain visitors for 70 percent longer than their slower counterparts3. Carefully evaluate each component of your website to ensure you optimize every visitor’s experience.

Finally, your website must be optimized for search engines and for users. Implementing XML sitemaps, optimized title tags, correct website heading structure and other key elements helps ensure your website can be found and indexed. The Broadridge team includes SEO experts who analyze our advisor website templates to ensure websites are discoverable.


7. Automate Your Approach

Coordinating and consolidating the various components of your marketing strategy requires commitment. The road to prospect conversion can take weeks to a few months. Even though the payoff is worth the investment, too often advisors lose potential new clients by neglecting the lead nurturing process.

Limited time is a primary barrier to successful conversion and is the reason leading advisors turn to automated digital solutions. Automating the time-consuming, manual processes frees you to focus on what really matters—your clients.

Make Your First Impression Count to Maximize Your Discoverability

Understanding what matters to your prospects better positions you to deliver what they need. Integrate these seven strategies into your marketing strategy to attract the right prospects, gain their trust and convert them into new clients.