With their people certified on the SEI Wealth Platform, these two leading consulting firms are winning new opportunities in the wealth management industry.
If you’re part of a consulting firm working in the banking and wealth management industry, you’re probably already aware of the rapid growth of the SEI Wealth PlatformSM. Among a field of technology platforms, it’s pushing the industry forward. Ours fully-integrated, single-infrastructure solution enables organizational transformation, providing front-, middle-, and back-office services, and supporting an end-to-end, holistic experience for wealth management organizations and their clients.
You may not know that we have created a comprehensive training and certification program, which is giving third-party consultants a strong competitive advantage. The SEI Learning Program is designed to build expertise in the Platform for a variety of roles, including (but not limited to) those who:
- Lead business transitions for organizations that are migrating to a new solution with an emphasis on organizational change management
- Lead and support implementation project teams
- Assist clients in managing the often complex wealth management systems integration
- Participate in user acceptance testing
- Direct the design of target operating model workflows and procedures
The SEI Learning Program provides both certification for consultants and accreditation for individuals within client firms. In addition to that formal training, we’ve created a community of certified peers as an ongoing source of knowledge sharing.
We also maintain a list of certified consultants for our clients who are considering making the transition — a valuable resource for clients, and an opportunity for certified consultants.
Growth for clients. Opportunities for consultants.
We created the SEI Learning Program in 2015 because we recognized the need for a network of highly proficient consultants to manage growing numbers of Platform migrations and other vital work. Putting our solution in place isn’t a simple plug-and-play process; the Platform ties together the entire wealth management value chain, from front to back office — so our clients can reap deep efficiency benefits that impact their entire organization. It is not an upgrade from existing platforms but rather a new way of running a firm’s wealth management business.
Implementation requires rigorous core knowledge and hands-on experience at a technical level, a management level — and from the perspective of how the transition will impact the entire business.
"An opportunity for us is when a change event is occurring, such as when there’s a strategic initiative; maybe a bank is looking to become more efficient and take that next step in their business,” says Tim Buhler, Director of Relationship Management at Oakbrook Solutions. “Those strategic design decisions are where we can add value, and that value permeates down to all the decisions that are rendered within that framework."
Rapid adoption of the Platform
The Platform is increasingly seen as a powerful trend for the future of the wealth management industry, providing wealth management organizations with the infrastructure, operations, and administrative support that allows them to boost enterprise-level gains.
Our clients recognize the Platform as part of their strategic vision for their future growth. Implementations are increasing, opening up many opportunities for consultants that specialize in facilitating platform and organizational changes. Like every industry, financial services is experiencing change at unprecedented rates.
“In the last two years, there seems to have been so much change in financial services,” says Buhler. “There really are a lot of opportunities across our space to present our skilled consultants.”
It’s not hard to recognize the drivers of the trend.
“There is an ongoing focus on regulatory and risk management in our industry,” says Scott Becchi, Principal, Financial Services, at Ernst & Young LLP, “We also continue to see a focus on cost from our clients — they’re always looking to become more efficient and cost effective, by leveraging technologies like automation, robotics, outsourcing and so forth.”
“Now, we’re seeing our clients focus more on growth,” he says. “They’re looking at technologies as new business opportunities to improve their client experience and bring their product to market more effectively – they see technology as the catalyst to grow their businesses.”
“We’re starting to take a lead in terms of how clients think about new technologies that are emerging,” adds Richard Hwang, Principal, Financial Services, Ernst & Young LLP. “Having background on the platform actually helps us inform our clients around what's available out there, and what they should be thinking about it.”
Two firms’ investment in the SEI Learning Program
Oakbrook Solutions caught on to the potential of the program pretty quickly — in fact, they were among the earliest program participants. Four of their consultants were the very first to be certified on the program, and over the years, 18 more have been trained and certified.
With expertise in all of the current major platforms in the wealth management arena, Oakbrook has observed SEI’s evolution of the Platform.
“From the onset of the SEI Wealth Platform, SEI made a major investment in their technology, taking next steps into the future,” says Buhler, who spends most of his time talking to clients about their needs. “That investment was made in order to enable their clients to become more efficient, and to change their business model — allowing their business to become more competitive in the marketplace.”
“SEI is a very large player in the wealth management space, which is where we work,” he continues. “So we saw the certification program as adding value for our existing clients and an investment in adding knowledge within the firm.”
EY also began participating in the Learning Program from its inception. “We have a long history with SEI in this industry and we started to work pretty closely with them to understand the curriculum and to indentify resources within our practice area who would go through the certification program.”
“There are a lot of providers out there serving wealth management clients, providing various capabilities and catering to different client needs” says Becchi. “The SEI Wealth Platform provides more of an end-to-end solution, which is pretty unique in the industry.”
“We were looking to get more involved with our clients’ large scale transformation initiatives, many of which involve technologies like SEI,” says Hwang. “Working with SEI in this strategic partnership definitely aligns with that part of our strategy.”
“Our relationship has been very productive for both parties.”
How the SEI Learning Program works
The program is remarkably flexible and agile, built to meet the needs of working professionals. It includes a mix of online and classroom training. Blended self-directed and instructor-guided learning, a very effective way to learn.
Coursework is designed to serve the needs of real people with real schedules:
- Self-guided online e-learning
- Online and classroom training
- A final knowledge assessment and interview
“The SEI Certification Program is different than other programs in terms of delivery,” says Becchi. “Other vendors that provide a level of certification require participants to be out of the workplace for a week or two. SEI allows us to continue to deliver our services to our client, while getting certified on our own time.”
After certification, graduates are responsible for staying up to date with new services and functional enhancements. They have full access to learning materials, and receive a formal review from SEI each year to keep their certifications current.
Choose your business need, and take off running with specialized tracks
As SEI continues to expand the learning program, today consultants have the option of focusing solely on a Foundations certification, which is required for all tracks. Or they can choose to specialize further with these tracks:
- Project Management – detailed implementation methodology, structure and process.
- Business Readiness – prepares the individual for the role of business readiness lead on a Platform project, with optional certifications in front office, administration, investments or operations.
SEI places certified consultants on an elite list of experienced Platform resources for clients — an opportunity to make contact with clients who are already looking to hire certified partners.
Certification = Proven value, experience and industry expertise
The investment in the program pays off with clients. When you come to the table with certified experts, you have a decisive sales edge.
"We can be at the forefront of the movement to the Platform, and have our folks trained when we present to our clients. We felt that was a significant competitive advantage,” says Buhler. “It’s definitely made the consultants working for us more marketable to clients who are going through a transition or considering one.”
Consulting firms can put certifications on the desks of decision makers, showing documented expertise in the conversion they’re about to undertake, direct from SEI. That can make the sales process much smoother, especially with multiple consultants pitching to the same client.
“We’re able to bring in consultants who not only have wealth management conversion experience, who have not only worked in the front, middle and back office of a wealth management organization — but who have specific, proven experience in this platform,” says Buhler. “As far as I know, no other technology provider is offering anything like SEI’s certification program in the market.”
"Having certified consultants has allowed us to have much broader, holistic conversations with our clients about the various platforms that exist in the market,” says Becchi. “We understand what the Platform can do. We can tell clients that our resources are SEI Wealth Platform certified and that provides a lot of differentiation and credibility as clients start looking at platforms and industry partners to support them.”
“Other vendors don't do what SEI does — primarily vendors handle more of the implementation services themselves, and aren't looking to build up a large group of consultants that are as familiar on their platform,” says Hwang. “They may have concerns about losing control over the quality of implementations, but SEI’s approach builds a flexible bench of trained individuals that allows organizations to scale an implementation in a variety of ways.”
Much more than a vendor – SEI is building a community of practioners
SEI has a long standing history as a partner to the wealth management industry. As an innovator, we have not only invested in the future of wealth management technology, but also in a program that allows SEI and industry leading consultants to work side by side with mutual clients to provide expertise and support during complex business transformation activities. The SEI Learning Programs are also available directly to our clients through an Accreditation series. Through accreditation, new and existing clients always have an opportunity to train new employees or strengthen expertise for internal subject matter experts. As a differentiated partner, we offer a community where clients, partners and employees can continually collaborate on the future of wealth management together.
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