My remit is to fully oversee all our technology and, following MD Stephen Girling’s 2018 management buyout, our major investment into improving technology and services for our clients began in earnest the same year, with my appointment as IT manager.
Throughout 2019, I was pivotal in ensuring the smooth roll out and integration of our new Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system intelliflo office (io) - a sophisticated digital tool to help us with the administration of each client’s individual accounts. 2019 also saw us replacing our office Wi-Fi for better performance and ensuring secure internet connectivity for the business, our staff and our guests, upgrading our PCs to Windows 10 and adopting Microsoft 365. The latter came with new feature ‘Microsoft Teams’ which really improved staff communication iand collaboration.... though little did we know at that point just how crucial Teams would become to ensuring we all stayed connected during the pandemic and enforced remote working….
In 2020 we launched our Personal Finance Portal(PFP) to enable clients to view their finances, share and receive documents and contact us from one secure portal, 24 hours a day, from any mobile, tablet or computer. The PFP allows clients to view information and their financial portfolio instantly and see how their investments are performing whenever and wherever they wish.
2020 was also of course the year in which we faced the first of many unforeseen challenges brought about by the pandemic. So that we could still connect with clients ‘virtually’, we launched our regular Zoom webinars and started using both Microsoft Teams and Zoom for virtual client meetings.
Which brought us to 2021 and, having successfully adapted our ways of working and embraced new methods throughout the pandemic, clients now have a choice of being able to engage with their Wealth Manager face to face or remotely via video link or telephone. Our staff have been given new, faster laptops, with cameras for online calls and meetings to make ‘agile’ working much easier and all our Wealth Managers now have tablet PCs, so they can share on-screen information easily. Security is always of paramount importance, so we have the latest enhanced network protection, anti-virus and email filtering - a recent external IT security review identified that we have no ‘cyber security’ issues.
And last but by no means least as part of our commitment to providing increased and enhanced technology and resources to our clients, we’ve relaunched our website with a brand new ‘look and feel’ and even more information and content than before.
We always put our clients first and are constantly striving to improve our service through re-investment - and there’s even more to come. We’re planning to adopt digital signatures so documents and forms can be signed securely online, as well as make other enhancements to the PFP.
Our clients say they have seen some real benefits to these technological advancements at SGWM to enhance, rather than replace, the personal service we’ve provided over the last 20 years.