Author Archives | Oakbrook Solutions

About %s

Oakbrook Solutions delivers consulting services and business process management solutions (WealthWorx®) focused on the system, process, and change initiatives occurring in Wealth Management. Oakbrook leverages expertise in strategic consulting, project management, business analysis, and operations support to increase our customer’s competitiveness and profitability through optimizing their use of talent and technology.

News for Thought: Private Trust Companies and Wealthy Families – Doing Your Homework

July 16, 2014


The interview and article above does a good job of encouraging wealthy families to do their homework before leaping to a Private Trust Company (PTC) solution to their trust oversight needs. As several of the “trust-friendly” states continue to liberalize statutes governing trusts, we’ve seen a rise in boutique corporate trust companies focused on serving the highest tiers of the private wealth marketplace. With greater flexibility offered by the state of their trust charter, along with a business model tailored to this market, these trust companies offer a viable alternative to going the PTC route for many families. While families with extensive use of trusts and complex assets (particularly privately held businesses, real estate, etc.) may in the end be better served by their own private trust company, we recommend a thorough legal and business analysis to determine the optimal path.

Contributing author: Steve Randolph, Managing Partner

Original source: Family Wealth Report Interview

Continue reading...

News for Thought

November 4, 2013


RIA Fined By SEC After Hacker Uses E-Mails To Steal Client Funds


This firm tried to service clients more efficiently and used some shortcuts that back fired. I think this is a great example of the state of our industry: being asked to do more with less and that the client experience is the highest priority. That said, we think the ultimate solution to this requirement is enhanced BPM – workflow automation. These are the new tools that allow a client to provide quality service and enable internal controls.

Craig Cook, President Oakbrook Solutions

Continue reading...

Financial Services: Internal Competition and Your Clients

July 11, 2013


Internal competition within Wealth Management organizations can not only create a poor working environment, it can also hinder company growth. In most Financial Services Institutions, Business Development Officer’s from different departments are chasing the same client assets. Corporate Banker’s will typically direct the opportunity to the product they understand the most or to the Sales Officer their clients had success with in the past. In many cases this will cause clients to opt for products that may not exactly suit their needs.

We all want healthy competition to aid revenue growth but first we need to ensure clients real world needs are being met. Creating the proper incentive plan within your Financial Services Sales Organization can spur growth by raising your corporations industry wide reputation and create long-term clients by choosing products and services that truly meet their needs.

Contributing author: Tim Buhler, Senior Relationship Manager

Continue reading...

Time to Keep Your Clients

September 24, 2012


A recent study on account onboarding and the impact on the client experience was completed by the Aite Group:

This study revealed that clients are being impacted by inefficient account opening processes and procedures. The impact of these inefficient processes and procedures can result in a lost client.

At Oakbrook, we believe that the account onboarding experience should be as seamless as possible, heavily integrated with the back-office systems and with the ability to be monitored by management. Today, the technology and expertise exists to create this seamless experience.  Push your service providers to solve this industry problem before it costs you a hard-fought client.

Contributing author: Craig Cook, President

Continue reading...

Mergers and Acquisitions – The Beginning?

September 9, 2012


Most talking heads have been predicting more mergers and acquisitions in the wealth management space.  Well, a large one was just announced between Mass Mutual and the Hartford.

Retirement services groups have been scaling up for quite some time and the trend continues with this one. With increased compliance on the horizon, expect more of this within the wealth management sector in other channels.

Do you agree – are we observing the beginning of a trend?


Contributing author: Craig Cook, President

Continue reading...

Here Comes Compliance……Round 2

June 7, 2012


Compliance just got a bit more definite.

JP Morgan’s announcement of their massive trading loss is a huge blow to hopes that compliance requirements could be abated. The article below took the best spokesperson the industry had and rendered them mute on the subject of compliance.

More compliance is coming – are you prepared?

Contributing author: Craig Cook, President

Continue reading...

Advent’s Latest Software Release – A Glimpse Into The Future?

May 15, 2012


In reviewing Advent’s latest software release, it appears that the product gives us a glimpse of things to come. Cloud computing, workflow enablement, management dashboarding, etc.

However, for a legacy Advent Axys client, installing this product could be like drinking from a fire hose. That said, the functionality being delivered is most definitely needed to compete in the wealth management industry today.

Advent Software Introduces Major Release of Its Platform for Asset and Wealth Management Firms Worldwide

Press Release Copyright: Advent Software, Inc.

What do you think?  Is this the path to the future?

Contributing author: Craig Cook, President

Continue reading...

Here Comes Compliance…..Round 1

April 25, 2012


The SEC is considering requiring that money market funds be priced daily and not fixed at $1.00.

What does this mean to the trust and securities industry?  Plenty.

Most legacy applications that support money market funds processing are hardwired with the assumption that these funds will always be priced at $1.00. Some things to consider: client statements, cash projections and sweep processing, and dividend and interest payments.

The end game potentially is that money market funds require processing just like a mutual fund which could increase their overall cost of operation.

Stay tuned.

Contributing author: Craig Cook, President

Continue reading...

CRM Applications – Their Time Is Now

January 24, 2012


When clients hear the word CRM (Customer Relationship Management) they cringe. The term (which started in banking as CIF), has come to be associated with overblown expectations, more administrative work, and oversight by management who may lack an understanding of the CRM system itself. This has translated into an overall bad reputation for CRM vendors and applications.

But this is changing.

Clients and advisors now realize to appropriately nurture and grow relationships, the functionality that CRM’s bring to bear is valuable. CRM systems are now integrated in better ways with MS Outlook, easier to use, are web enabled, and some even include mobile capabilities. All this translates into CRM systems entering a “golden age” where all wealth managers and advisors migrate to a CRM system that realize the dream envisioned many years ago.

One word of caution – as CRM systems proliferate don’t think that the data found in the CRM will solve all of your data problems. Many CRM vendors are going beyond CRM data to try and facilitate other business functions – be wary of that.

CRM is a place where significant technology gains and changes may be realized. You want to be in a position to change CRM applications if new technology arrives. If you implement other functions beyond CRM within the CRM application, you can potentially lock yourself into an application that you wish to change in the future. Focusing on the functionality and capabilities of the CRM application itself will provide you with the best opportunity to adapt when new technology arrives.

We call this concept “application neutrality”.

Contributor: Craig Cook, President

Continue reading...

Dodd-Frank Act Ensnares Many Family Offices With SEC Registration

December 20, 2011


In yet another unintended consequence of the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act, new SEC rules designed to provide greater transparency in the hedge fund industry are creating new burdens on many family offices as well. Family offices typically escaped  SEC registration by falling under the 15-client threshold where registration was required. With the removal of this automatic exemption, family offices must now file for an exemption if they meet the definition of what constitutes a “family” office – a narrow delineation of clients served based upon their legal or genetic connection to the family tree. Otherwise, they must file as a registered investment advisor and shoulder the associated annual regulatory burden.

This article posted by Private Wealth outlines responses to the new rules, and provides insights into the likely responses to these changes:

One response noted in this article – eliminating internal investment functions in favor of an outsourced investment model – would further a recent trend, albeit for different reasons. From a purely economic point of view, an administration only single-family office (SFO) business model could face mounting cost pressures to rationalize an independent, stand-alone operation handling the remaining back-office, concierge, and infrastructure of the SFO. We suspect more SFOs will begin to seek partnering solutions that will provide greater scale benefits in these functions yet allow a level of customization they need to serve the family clients’ unique requirements.

Family offices should also consider the role a private trust company could play in avoiding SEC registration requirements and the corresponding disclosure of assets and other private business information. Depending on the size and service model of the family office, a private, state-chartered trust company can confer a broad range of benefits beyond exemption from SEC oversight. So, maybe for some family offices it’s time to dust off that trust company idea and take a closer look.

We also note the impact on single family offices in the early stages of making a transition to a multi-family office (MFO) business model or MFOs which have heretofore operated under the 15-client threshold. With the additional cost and management burden of registration, smaller MFOs will need to grow quickly to overcome this drag on their financials.

Contributing author: Steve Randolph, Managing Partner

Continue reading...