3 ways to reduce risk until you automate the last mile

Automating the last mile of your client reporting and marketing presentation process is our recommended course of action. But if your firm isn’t there yet, here are some steps you can take to help identify and correct manual errors in the meantime:

1. Use checklists.

Having a checklist of all the tasks that must be completed is a best practice for any manual process.

  • Keep the checklist long enough to be meaningful, but short enough to be manageable.
  • Have people sign and date the checklist.
  • Keep checklist in a central location — not an email thread.
  • Save the checklist with the materials produced.

2. Have a review process to identify and correct errors.

Without a fully automated process, peer review of materials for accuracy is one thing that can stand between your firm and the risks posed by errors. This review shouldn’t be confused with — or be a substitute for — a compliance review. Rather, its sole purpose is to verify the accuracy of performance data and other information presented in the material.

  • Identify a pool of qualified in-house reviewers to draw from.
  • Select a reviewer who was not involved in producing the materials.
  • Conduct reviews using data from the source systems, not intermediate spreadsheets.
  • Have a robust process to communicate, correct and re-review errors.
  • Re-reviews should encompass the entire data set in question, not just the “wrong number.”

3. Standardize your marketing materials.

Standardized fact sheets, introductory books or finals presentations help cut down on errors. You still should use checklists and peer reviews, but if all material is standardized, these serve more as guardrails than road maps.

But standardized materials have a serious marketing and client service downside: They limit your ability to present information that speaks directly to the issues and concerns of your target audience. Especially, when the current marketing approach revolves around “solutions”, showing a standard pitch book to every client may contradict with this approach… may need to explain why it contradicts. In an industry where every competitive edge matters, only you can determine whether the benefits of increased efficiency and error risk mitigation outweigh the potential loss of AUM.

To learn more about last-mile problems and solutions, read our recent paper, “Communicating Error-Free Investment Results: How automation can minimize operational, regulatory and reputational risks in investment management marketing,” prepared with input from Richard Kerr of K&L Gates LLP, and Amy Jones, CIPM, of Guardian Performance Solutions LLC.

If you’d like to learn more about how Assette can help your firm avoid last-mile issues, please click here.

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