Protecting customer data for wealth managers | SaltDNA

Protecting customer data for wealth managers

03/06/2020 | Nicole Allen

Where there is a shortage of communication, the benefits of multiple wealth professionals working on behalf of a high-net-worth client are lessened. Privacy and confidentiality have always traditionally been a core tenet of Private Client Wealth Management. However, protecting privacy is becoming increasingly challenging given the huge range of new communication methods used by clients.

Where there is a shortage of communication, the benefits of multiple wealth professionals working on behalf of a high-net-worth client are lessened. Privacy and confidentiality have always traditionally been a core tenet of Private Client Wealth Management. However, protecting privacy is becoming increasingly challenging given the huge range of new communication methods used by clients.

Importance of relationships within the wealth management industry

When communicating with clients - using the latest technology is a must-have. With fast changes in the tools being used it is easy to feel threatened by the risks involved in using new technologies, but this can be managed to reduce the risks. The best professional advisors are those most trusted by their clients. They win this respect by working very hard over a lot of time to understand their clients’ priorities, both personal and financial. Both of which are significant contributions to building trust and relationships in the long term.

The financial management strategy will often begin with "How can we serve this client better?" and the response usually requires a higher standard of communication: talking about the important matters in the client’s life at a time when they’re most comfortable talking about them. Face to face is always better - but lifestyle and most recently Covid-19 means that this is not always possible.

Practical steps to protect you and your clients

We’ve written many times in our blogs about cybercrime being on the rise and why this is so. During the adoption period of new technology is the period of lowest competence for new users and the ideal window for smart, resourceful criminals.

If you’re interested in protecting your organisation’s crown jewels and want additional guidance on managing the different risks then you should read the excellent materials being produced by the NCSC in the UK. Cyber Essentials not only gives a short and practical check list of the things you need to do to get the basic defences in place - but also gives UK based companies a recognised accreditation which shows your clients that you’re taking the job of securing their information securely.

Once you have these secure processes and policies in place you can build additional resilience and trust by removing the most risky communication channels and replacing them with dedicated fit-for-purpose security focused systems.

Secure Communications will improve your clients’ confidence

With the increasing number of methods available to communicate with clients the importance of selecting and providing a trusted method of communication is crucial in modern business. A company that builds long term trusted relationships with its clients also has a duty of care to those clients. Any leak or breach can have a dramatic impact on a business for all the wrong reasons.

The financial industry was the target of the third-highest number of cyber attacks in 2019. In an industry, where trust is at the core of the relationships between the firms and its clients, slip ups of any sort can have a major long lasting impact. HNWs and the companies that represent them are the constant focus of cyber attacks because of the value of the treasures to be gained by successful breaches.

The recent hacks on high profile NYC law firm Grubman Shire Meiselas and Sacks shows that the appetite for illegal profiteering for high value information is as high as it was with the paradise and panama papers. The report from Campden Wealth and Schillings a few years ago acknowledges that 28% of international HNW families and the companies that service them have already been hacked. To paraphrase Robert Meuller’s statement back in 2012 (before most of the world knew who he was!), the remaining 72% either don’t know they’ve been hacked or are lucky enough to not have been hacked yet.

Keep your business communications secure and let clients know you value your own and their safety.

Incident response, done the right way, builds loyalty with clients. So if a financial advisor and their client have a strategy in place in advance, they'll know before the incident occurs and follow the appropriate measures.

Consumer Communication Apps: A Misleading Perception of Security

Unfortunately, because consumer messaging applications were not developed for organisational usage, they are not sufficiently prepared for wealth management firms to have enterprise protection. Although end-to-end encryption defends against external surveillance while messages are in transit, consumer-grade messaging apps do not provide security against screenshotting, sharing or forwarding a message to an unintended recipient. That means it can be leaked with reasonable ease once a message is sent. Consumer messaging applications also provide no security to organisations and clients about what is being done with their information, and who may get their hands on it. With these systems providing full openness in terms of who can communicate with who, there is no control for these wealth management firms and their clients.

The truth of the matter is that encryption doesn’t mean security. Encryption is a fundamental aspect of a lot of communication systems now, but for privacy matters, it will not suffice to use for sensitive internal conversations, and definitely not when handling customer information. Let’s not forget compliance - which is the topic of a different blog.

SaltDNA provides an enterprise-grade, secure messaging platform that offers far more than just encryption. For wealth management companies which need the ease of use but still require the highest standard of protection SaltDNA gives you the ability to take full control of your own system and how your metadata is being stored.

Choosing the best communication platform for your company

Safety is important for companies' longevity and sustainability. Data theft has an estimated cost of about $3.9 million, a shocking figure. Many firms will not be able to rebound fully, if at all.

Good communications will shape the image of an organisation and create loyalty, both of which are important for any relationship-based company, but particularly for businesses that manage a customer’s financial portfolio. A trust-built base will help offer further goods and services, further educating the client, increasing client satisfaction and improving the relationship.

How SaltDNA can improve the quality and security of your communications

Technology is a major enabler. Only through adopting technology would it be possible for wealth management companies to offer effective, customised communications that satisfy the demand for knowledge of clients.

The wealth management business is positioning itself around its customer-centricity and wishing to be viewed as driven by its customer needs. Providing the right information to the customer at the right moment, through the right medium and in a way that is being presented today in an increasingly versatile, customised and engaging environment should be seen as key to the company proposal. SaltDNA’s solution delivers active secure communication in this environment so that every asset manager can effectively communicate with clients about important financial matters while ensuring complete privacy.

For further information about SaltDNA’s experience with global wealth management firms, contact our team today and set up your free trial on info@saltdna.com or visit SaltDNA.

About SaltDNA

SaltDNA is a multi-award winning cyber security company providing a fully enterprise-managed software solution giving absolute privacy in mobile communications. It is easy to deploy and uses multi-layered encryption techniques to meet the highest of security standards. SaltDNA offers ‘Peace of Mind’ for Organisations who value their privacy, by giving them complete control and secure communications, to protect their trusted relationships and stay safe. SaltDNA is headquartered in Belfast, N. Ireland, for more information visit www.saltdna.com.