Pershing's Jim Crowley. (Photo: BNY Mellon Pershing) Pershing’s CEO-in-waiting, Jim Crowley. (Photo: BNY Mellon Pershing)

BNY Mellon Pershing Chief Operating Officer Jim Crowley told the crowd assembled at its yearly Insite conference in Phoenix on Wednesday that “being here is about preparing yourself and your firm for the future.”

Insite 2019, which has more than 2,000 guests, aims to “bring the best thinkers and subject matter experts here for you to engage with,” Crowley said. “Please engage with [them] … and re-imagine what your future might be.”

His own future will change on July 1, when he becomes CEO of Pershing. Current CEO Lisa Dolly has had “an amazing 30-year career and re-imagined her future. Let’s congratulate her,” he said, as the crowd broke into applause.

The COO then discussed the fiduciary, technology and client-experience trends affecting the wealth and advisory industry, which he says has about $7 trillion in assets.

While advisors are growing assets about 10% a year, those using Pershing for clearing and custody services “are growing a couple percentage points greater than your counterparts … by building your business with scale, retaining and attracting top talent and building organizations supported by professional management,” Crowley explained.

“This fuels our practice management, lending solutions, advisor-centric technology and more,” he said. “We all share the same goal. We all want a greater share of that incredible asset pool. Our success is driven by your success.”

Turning to technology and operations, “the drumbeat is on … to do more and to do it faster,” Crowley said. “You should invest your capital in what makes your business more valuable and let us do the heavy lifting behind the scenes.”

Roughly two-thirds of advisors working with Pershing integrate its technology with that made by third parties or build their own technology systems, he explained. 

At a recent elite advisor event, 62% of advisors said their top priority is integration across CRM, client integration, financial planning and other tech tools, according to Crowley.

Tech Updates

Chief Information Officer Ram Nagappan and other Pershing executives highlighted some new programs the firm has developed to help advisors with digitization, better efficiency and a stronger client experience. For instance, its Site Builder tool will let advisors create their own investor-facing websites. 

These efforts include open integration, the ability to open multiple accounts, expanded e-signature capabilities — including its use in paperless onboarding — and a client-centric framework for looking at accounts.

In addition, Pershing is working to deliver “a dynamic forms solution with fewer pages and signatures and increased flexibility” for adding clients. It is also launching the Money in Motion dashboard, so advisors can measure business performance (“beyond the markets”) and identify trends via the tracking and analysis of net asset flows and key performance indicators.

“These efforts demonstrate our commitment to building an ecosystem that will support our clients’ changing business needs far into the future,” Nagappan said in a statement.

Advisors will soon be able to use click-to-call chat solutions for real-time problem solving and screen sharing. Pershing also will introduce a pilot program for chat support on its Wealth Reporting solution this summer.

Further, the firm is working on mobile alerts for cash-disbursement authorization and verification, a digital assistant to help clients do more online. These efforts are supported by its testing of chatbots, artificial intelligence, simplified security and embedded robotics process automation.

Additional Efforts

Pershing has formed an Integration Advisory Council with 14 third-party partners to “collaborate more closely on integration opportunities.” It aims to create a standard for assessing a vendor’s level of “integration maturity,” so advisors can better assess industry tech players.

The firm is also moving to give investors more online self-service and wealth-planning features, such as real-time fund transfers and information on daily taxable and nontaxable income. For retirement accounts, it plans to add asset-movement functionality, so clients can move money online and track required minimum distributions and tax-election status.

“We continue to bring the latest technologies to the wealth management community to help them transform and digitize their business models,” Nagappan said.