By integrating systems and unifying data across 26 silo-legacy services, RBC Wealth Management — US has reduced new customer onboarding from a few days to an average of 24 minutes, eliminated 200 to 300 pages of paper documents, and more than 30 signatures to sign packages with just one digital click.
“We were very forms-based,” said Greg Beltzer, chief of technology at the wealth management company. And while hundreds of pages may seem like a lot, many of them were disclosures and customer information forms, from KYC to beneficiaries to investment preferences and risk tolerance.
The company, a subsidiary of what used to be called Royal Bank of Canada and is now RBC, has been using MuleSoft, a subsidiary of Salesforce, to integrate its systems since 2018. RBC Wealth Management — US is headquartered in Minneapolis and has 181 offices, more than 2,100 advisors and a total of $528 billion in client assets.
It has managed to replace separate systems, not to mention paper files and Post-it notes, with Salesforce Financial Services Cloud and MuleSoft.
“If we take MuleSoft and build the integrations, that piece of paper is no longer important and should become an artifact that can be reproduced anytime while keeping it digital. RBC was late in its digital transformation, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it has put us behind – we need to take advantage of newer technologies.”
Before RBC Wealth Management got down to business with technology, it went down to the basics.
“It wasn’t just taking a paper form and turning it into a PDF. That is not a digital transformation. It’s really looking at the process of why we’re collecting certain data, what the approval or process flow is, whether that’s from a branch to a director, a branch supervisor or goes into compliance.”
Financial services are, of course, heavily regulated, which meant that the project had to comply with laws and regulations, where tangible paper forms provide a certain level of comfort. Beltzer said the technical team explained that it is not cutting corners.
“We’ve said we’ll make it better, bring more transparency, and provide reporting that they never had in the past. While a paper form may have a tracking number, you may not know where the form itself is.”
They did roadshows to explain how the system would work.
Beltzer’s plan is to replace all legacy systems with more modern tools, but as he doesn’t have an unlimited budget, he’s taking a phased approach.
MuleSoft is a good fit for digital transformation “because it not only takes me to the new, but I also need something that can talk to my legacy stack until I can upgrade, replace it, or in some cases leave it there.”
RBC uses a mix of on-prem and cloud – legacy will be on-prem and almost every new solution is cloud based.
The front is all new, he added.
“We brought in a bunch of UX designers and had a lot of focus groups. If you loved Windows 3.1, you would have loved our old portal too. Now we have a very modern-looking front-end that can run on multiple form factors – we’re really letting our customers drive that experience.”
The company releases new releases approximately every two weeks, while with the old system, new releases were quarterly.
“They are clearly smaller releases. But again, we can be much more agile.”
Their timing was right. They started the transformation in August 2019 and finished around Christmas, just before Covid-19 disrupted things.
“I can definitely say that introducing the new system before the pandemic was a game changer for us as it meant everyone had to be on the same platform. We doubled Salesforce to have one 360-degree view of customers to show to everyone, whether they’re engaging a support group, product teams, compliance, and most importantly, to consultants and their staff. It was one view of the customer, so everyone had the same information.”
For a time, the firm’s offices were closed, but work-from-home advisors had access to complete client information on one platform. They can retrieve real-time balances of assets on their phones. RBC is prepared with VPN. While some advisors had never used it before, everyone had the secure access within two or three weeks.
“That first year of digital transformation has certainly paid off.”