Lifeworks Advisors

A registered investment advisor and a platform for financial advisors and customers in the wealth management industry.

TEAM
20+ people
PERIOD OF COLLABORATION
2019 – 2020
CLIENT'S LOCATION
Michigan, USA

Business context

Ron Bullis, the president of Lifeworks Advisors, had two key challenges:
His employees were using separate systems for aggregating customer financial data, managing financial plans, opening investment accounts, and monitoring investment activity.
Employees spent over 320 hours manually calculating customer bills each quarter.
Ron initially worked with a local development company to create a single platform for all financial advisory operations and automate billing. But the company didn’t deliver the required functionality. Based on a recommendation from his partner (who had already been working with us for several years), Ron decided to entrust this project to Yalantis.
When we took on this project, we needed to:
build an all-around platform for wealth management and financial advising
complete the project within a tight deadline due to commitments to investors and time lost working with the local vendor
rework low-quality legacy code
Want to know what it’s like working with us?
Check out Ron’s video review and learn about his impression of collaborating with Yalantis.
Ron Bullis
Ron Bullis
President & Founder
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Now keep reading to discover how we successfully completed the project on time and on budget.

Building an all-around financial advisory platform for business growth

At Lifeworks, financial advisors spent much time switching between tools for gathering customer information, calculating scenarios, opening investment accounts, and monitoring investment activity. It was difficult and time-consuming for advisors to keep track of all their clients and accounts. Also, using multiple systems for wealth management services prevented the company from scaling.
Based on our client’s deep market understanding, functional and non-functional requirements, and our careful study of the financial system and regulations, we developed a single platform for:
aggregating customers’ financial data
providing financial reports in real time
managing customers’ financial goals and plans
billing customers
opening investment accounts and monitoring investment activity

Aggregating customer financial data

Previously, advisors would use paper notebooks, Google Docs, and other instruments to collect and store customers’ financial information. This could lead to inaccuracies and made advisors spend a lot of time completing customer profiles for financial planning and advising.
We created a financial customer profile that allows advisors to add all necessary details about customers within one platform. If needed, customers can add details to their profiles too by completing a special form. Once all customer information is added to the platform, it’s automatically processed and structured in the platform database.

Managing financial goals and providing real-time reports

Using the client database, advisors can set customer goals and create financial plans. All completed plans along with customer assets and liabilities are displayed on dashboards. Advisors and customers can edit their plans from their accounts. And when changes are made, dashboards are automatically updated in real time.

Opening an investment account and monitoring investment activity

In most cases, wealth management agencies use different tools for opening investment accounts and monitoring investment activity. This is because adding such functionality to a platform is technically complex and requires collecting and processing a lot of customer data. For example, aside from financial details about savings and credit card debt, an investment account holds information on a customer’s political exposure, beneficiaries, and FINRA registration.
To open investment accounts and facilitate collecting customer financial data needed for such operations, we integrated the Orbis Systems APIs. And for daily investment monitoring with summary dashboards we implemented internal parsers for investment data provided by Apex and TD Ameritrade platforms.

Automating routines for operational efficiency

Calculating and charging commission for wealth management services was another time-consuming routine for advisors. They spent over 320 hours drawing up bills for their customers each quarter and manually charged every bill, which took even more time. We created a system that automatically bills and charges customers using a third-party online payment tool by Menklab LLC.

Implementing a customer portal for optimized collaboration

To save advisors’ time on communicating informational updates and clarifications, we added functionality to the customer portal for:
managing customer financial profiles and goals
reporting on financial situations and investments
contacting advisors

Working with the legacy code

When we took over the project, we started with the legacy code and documentation produced by the local development company Lifeworks initially worked with.
Performing a legacy code audit
We requested project assets and technical details from the previous development company, and once we received them, we audited the code. In doing so, we discovered the following obstacles:
Project documentation was insufficient and inaccurate
The chosen technology stack didn’t match the project’s goals
The UI and UX had not been fully designed
Most features were not yet developed or had only minor elements in development

Applying a better-suited technology stack

To remove these obstacles, we took the following steps:
Held a set of consulting sessions with Ron to complete functionality descriptions and break them into detailed user stories
Checked the technological feasibility against Lifeworks’ business goals and requirements
Switched from Microsoft Azure to AWS and from the Angular programming language to React, as they better suited the project goals and the required development performance
Created a light and informative UI and UX along with detailed user flow descriptions
Estimated the time needed for reworking legacy code
Having completed all of this, we understood that we would spend more time reworking legacy code than building the platform from the ground up. We shared this information with Ron, and he chose to develop the project from scratch.

Completing the project on a tight schedule

Due to the time lost working with the local development company, we had to build a technically complex platform in 8 months instead of the 12 planned. To do that, we:
applied our stakeholder and requirement management frameworks to prioritize requirements for faster MVP delivery
ramped up the team with additional experts to speed up development
used tools for remote collaboration and adjusted our schedule to minimize the time difference and increase convenience for the client
Thanks to these measures, we completed the required tasks by the set deadline, and our client got an opportunity to present the platform and its functionality at a major financial event.

Results

Single system for all operations
Before
Advisors had to use separate systems for collecting, processing, and visualizing financial data and for opening and monitoring investment accounts.
After
A single platform handles all wealth management operations and allows for business scaling.
Manual labor reduction
Before
Over 320 hours were spent on customer billing per quarter.
After
The platform automatically bills and charges customers.
Unified profile for client information
Before
Inaccuracies occurred and extra time was spent collecting customer financial data with a variety of tools.
After
A unified profile makes it easy to collect and update customers’ financial information.
Convenient customer portal
Before
Customers had to call advisors for updates on their financial situation and investment activity.
After
A convenient customer portal provides details on a customer’s finances and investments in real time.