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How independent wealth firms can use technology to overcome alts ops challenges and scale


After spending 15 years on Wall Street and the last decade in Fintech, I have observed the evolution of the wealth management tech stack and the operational hurdles of wealth management firms. In many cases they developed their own internal processes and cobbled together technologies to solve their alternative investment operational needs.

Different technology options have appeared to address various portions of the wealth management tech-stack (think CRM 15 years ago, reporting solutions and financial planning over the past 10). It is the age-old question of ‘build vs. buy.’ With technology evolving more rapidly every day, finding the right solution means more and more firms are looking outside their walls.  

How Technology is Catching Up in the Alts World 

Whether you are a $100 billion, $10 billion, or sub-$1 billion firm, the exact same problem exists when it comes to alternative investments: A number of people across investments, ops, and client service juggling an abundant amount of internally-built processes to manage workflows. I have witnessed instances where two, five, and sometimes even 15 individuals are collectively handling spreadsheets, navigating shared drives, and extracting data from over 20 portals. Additionally, they manage manual subscription documents and follow up with calls and emails. These are processes borne out of necessity but are not scalable. This was a natural development as historically there has not been a singular technology to address these issues holistically. 

What Advisors are Looking for - Now and in the Future 

I mentioned ‘build vs. buy’ earlier. As technology for wealth firms has evolved, I see that firms are seeking to consolidate their infrastructure for improved efficiencies across the full lifecycle of their alts operations and are looking beyond their own walls to implement it. As they review their vendors, I think the trend is moving away from stitching together middleware, and instead embracing purpose-built solutions that are connected to the larger ecosystem across custodians, fund admins, and reporting providers. 

How CAIS and CAIS Solutions is Changing the Game with a Unified Experience

We looked at the landscape and saw the need for a holistic solution to manage alternatives whether advisors accessed them on the CAIS Marketplace or not. Using technology built in-house for the CAIS Marketplace, firms can now use the same technology for their own operational and reporting needs. 

Our technology has been built from the ground up to be an end-to-end, single technology stack – not a mosaic of a bunch of different technologies. Whether an advisor is selecting a product found on our marketplace or purchasing an investment held away that they've sourced off platform, we aim to make sure the technology's straight-through processing experience is easy and completely integrated across their entire tech-stack. Thus, the advisor experience for researching an investment (Pre-Trade), allocating client capital to that investment (Trade), and managing ongoing alternative data (Post-Trade), can be centralized on a singular platform for all their alternative investments. 

Since we have integrations with fund administrators we are able to go to the source of the data, which  avoids manual processes, such as going into portals to retrieve documents or scraping data. 

How CAIS Solutions Helps the Independent Advisor 

Each independent wealth firm has a lot of different choices in the market around CRMs, reporting providers, custodians, and more. With choice comes the need for components to play nicely in the sandbox with one another. That is where CAIS comes in. With our integrations across leading custodians, reporting providers, and fund admins, we are able to scale across the ecosystem and deliver one unified experience, no matter where you source your funds and no matter what technologies you rely on. 

At the end of the day, we believe our in-house technology places us in an ideal position to support advisors with technology, not fingers on keys, thus minimizing reliance on additional human resources.