One-twelfth of 2017 is already behind us and as we sail headlong into the New Year I thought I would share some perspective on Black Diamond’s progress and, more importantly, where we are headed.
First and foremost, I want to thank you for trusting us as your partner. Black Diamond now has the honor of serving close to 1,000 advisory firms who advise on more than $530 billion in assets. The work that you do is important and we know that how well we do our job reflects directly on the service you provide to your clients.
As I reflect on the year ahead, I also take stock in where we’ve been. I joined Black Diamond in mid-2009, right in the middle of the financial crisis. Advisors were buried in calming their clients’ concerns and in many cases were unable to answer questions with clarity, confidence and speed. Many firms’ AUM had dropped 20-30% and yet the client workload was at an all-time high. Very few advisors had (or wanted) client portals and iPads didn’t even exist. My decision to join Black Diamond was driven by a deep belief that technology needed to play a much bigger role in solving the dual challenge facing the advisory industry at that time – how to increase client service while at the same time increase business efficiency. Today, advisors face an evolution of those two challenges, heightened regulatory pressures and a need to differentiate the value you provide from robots, be they bionic or not. To us solving these kinds of problems is the fun stuff. It’s a challenge and a purpose that drives our engineering and service teams every day.
One of the original ideas of Black Diamond was to empower advisors to tell their unique story. As we look to the year ahead that original idea of “tell your story” is still very much alive. What’s different is how that story is changing. It’s more comprehensive, has more chapters and often needs to be tailored from client to client. The new BD platform is built with the vision of empowering you to tell a story that goes beyond portfolio performance to one that includes a complete picture of wealth. It also embraces the reality that many of you need to pull together information from multiple systems in your office to communicate with your clients.
The new BD3 platform is here, and if you haven’t taken a look recently I think you will find enormous benefits in the new reporting capabilities, enhanced portals, data mining, business intelligence and integrations. The investment in BD3 has been bolstered by our recent acquisition of Salentica, a CRM provider, as well as partnerships with industry-leading tools in financial planning, risk analysis, UMA solutions and more — to bring you a unified experience. We encourage you to learn more about all of the latest enhancements.
But investing in the product is not enough. We are also investing in our people. Since the acquisition by SS&C Technologies in June 2015, we have grown our staff by approximately 30 percent, with a focus on areas that matter most to you — implementation, service, operations and product development. Our single-point-of-contact Client Advocates who are accountable for your success are complemented by expert teams in operations, history, reporting and complex workflows surrounding alternative investments and rebalancing.
The Black Diamond team takes great pride giving you our very best and making sure you get the most value out of your relationship with us. We thrive on your feedback and ideas. Don’t hesitate to reach out to me or any member of our team to seek the guidance or best practices that you need. Odds are, we have seen your situation before and can help.
Dave Welling is the Managing Director and Co-General Manager of SS&C Advent. Mr. Welling is responsible for leading SS&C’s strategy in wealth management.