WealthTech organisation GBST delivers technology and digital solutions to enable, support and scale wealth management organisations globally. It creates innovative front, middle and back-office solutions for wealth managers, life and pension companies, and fund managers, as well as financial tools and digital services to banks and loan providers.
Founded in 1983, the company – headed by global CEO Robert DeDominicis – currently works with more than 100 financial brands across Europe, Australia, New Zealand, the United States, Canada, and the United Arab Emirates. GBST’s technology supports over 5.5 million investor accounts under administration with direct to consumer, advised and employer/workplace channel solutions.
GBST has just launched its transformed SaaS Composer wealth management administration platform and introduced a refreshed corporate brand. We spoke to global CEO DeDominicis about the company’s four decades in WealthTech, the outlook for wealth management in 2023 and what the future holds for technology in the sector.
What inspired the GBST rebrand?
GBST has been in business for forty years and we have a great heritage, but because we’ve been around for such a long time, people think they know us. Over the last five years, we’ve made a huge investment in our underlying tech stack, revolutionising our technology into a leading cloud-native SaaS solution that’s easy to manage, simple to integrate and focused on client-based benefits. We’re a very different company today, but while our business and solutions have significantly transformed over the past few years, perceptions of the company have not evolved at the same pace, and we are now on a mission to change that.
We recognised that we needed to take the time to really look at ourselves from the inside out and consider how we have grown and changed and how we can better communicate this to the market. The brand refresh is about encouraging the industry to take another look at what we offer now.
We wanted to keep the GBST name to preserve our connection to the experience and trust we’ve built in the sector. At the same time though, we recognised the need to refresh the visual identity to better reflect who we are today, reinforce our commitment to the wealth management sector and demonstrate our drive for continued growth and innovation. We’ve also updated the acronym, so GBST now stands for Global Business Solutions Technology.
What do you see as the current key challenges for wealth management?
We’re a global company and our clients across all regions face similar challenges stemming from operating in an increasingly complex, connected, and regulated environment.
Companies are still dealing with the aftermath of COVID-19, both in terms of catching up on delayed projects and, also the increasing consumer expectation of being able to access data and complete transactions via modern, integrated, digital systems.
As the world becomes increasingly reliant on technology – cyber security, spyware, and software vulnerabilities have become growing issues for wealth management organisations of all sizes. Many of the systems still being used are outdated and not equipped to handle modern security threats, leaving them and their valuable members vulnerable to attacks.
At the same time, changing demographics are also impacting how wealth management companies operate. Across our regions, in Europe, Australia, North America and the Middle East, the populations are ageing, which means there’s more of a focus on taking an income from retirement funds. However, with changing work patterns and increasing longevity, the balance between security and flexibility is shifting.
The current inflationary environment and global market volatility are also creating more emphasis on fees versus performance and the need for retirement pots to work as hard as possible. Consumers need to be able to track and make decisions about their retirement savings easily, and they increasingly want an engaging service that is tailored to their personal circumstances based on their own data.
Thanks to the ever-changing regulatory environment, our clients also need technology platforms that are adaptable, easy to use, quick to update and can speak to each other seamlessly. A lot of wealth management organisations hold data on legacy systems that just can’t cope with all these demands. Many old systems were designed before the internet, and it’s hard to integrate them with newer, digital technology and therefore enable technology to offer a data driven personalised service.
How is technology changing wealth management?
We’re seeing more companies rethinking their technology strategies and looking at modern, scalable, cloud-based solutions that can deliver digital transformation for their customers and at the same time, improve operational efficiency, whilst reducing risk and administration costs. Companies have now woken up to the fact that digital transformation isn’t just about portals and online access but is a fundamental change in their business strategy and impacts everything that it does across all divisions and teams.
The wealth management industry is highly regulated and increasingly complex, so delivering personalised journeys to consumers requires specialist technology that can integrate application components and third-party services securely. At the same time, the environment we work in is constantly evolving and the pace of change is getting faster, so organisations need future-proof technology that helps them adapt more quickly.
Ultimately, the solution for organisations is to switch to a modern technology stack which supports future evolution, growth, and innovation. One that’s configurable, provides agility and easily updated.
At GBST, we invest heavily in the development of advanced technologies that combine easy configurability with unmatched functionality and flexibility. We’ve spent the last few years modernising our flagship system, Composer, using all the latest and greatest technologies available. Now, we find ourselves in the enviable position of having the most modern technologies embedded in our software, and the maturity and wisdom that comes with being a long-term industry player.
We have also created a closer relationship between our in-house digital experts, technology product experts and customer experience specialists. By combining deep financial industry knowledge with digital expertise, we can design, build, and implement digital solutions that integrate seamlessly with other GBST products and clients existing eco-systems, accelerating their digital transformations globally. Our digital innovation goes well beyond just front-end portals, its core to all our solutions and services, bringing a true digital experience to back-office administrators, ensuring the same ease of use usually reserved for external portals and end users.
What does the future hold?
For us, the future is exciting and we’re starting to the see the market sit up and take note as they understand our commitment to the industry. We’re backed by financial strength; we have a committed and experienced executive team to drive future growth and an energised and growing team who are so excited for this next chapter!
Now, we find ourselves in the enviable position of having the most modern technologies embedded in our software, and the maturity and wisdom that comes with being a long-term player in our industry.
We’re currently seeing a significant increase in opportunities in our established markets, Australia, and the United Kingdom, as well as growing interest in newer markets like the United Arab Emirates where we expanded our wealth management platform, Composer, into last November. There has been a 56 percent increase in the usage of fund platforms in the UAE over the past year, a trend that the UK has experienced over the last 10 years. As a UK technology provider, expanding our wealth management product offering to the Middle East and appointing local representation was a logical step in the company’s next phase of growth and expansion. We’re looking forward to building on our tech transformation and continuing to deliver solutions that inspire wealth innovation.
We plan to grow the business both organically and through acquisition. We’re currently looking at options to further expand our footprint and solution offering.
More broadly for the wealth management sector, we expect that data backed digitalisation and personalisation will be increasingly important to winning and retaining customers through greater engagement and better client communication. We see technology as central to helping firms deliver the best client outcomes while cutting administration costs, controlling risk, and increasing operational efficiency.
Read more about GBST’s wealth management administration platform, Composer.
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Posted in: Wealth Management Administration
From the launch of the enhanced SaaS Composer wealth management administration platform, the recent refreshed corporate brand, global CEO Robert DeDominicis reflects on four decades in WealthTech, the outlook for wealth management and technology in the sector in 2023 and beyond.
As the world becomes increasingly reliant on technology - cyber security, spyware, and software vulnerabilities have become growing issues for organisations of all sizes, including superannuation funds.