Why Both Human and Tech Skills Matter: David Knoch


Why aren’t financial services companies making faster progress in their quest for diversity, equity and inclusion? The answer lies beneath the surface:

“The industry doesn’t really capture the demographics of America. The industry is still overwhelmingly male and white. Technologies CEO David Knoch said in an interview with ThinkAdvisor.

“The quality of advice improves Multiple cultural and gender perspectives brought into the planning conversation,” argues Knoch, who received the ThinkAdvisor 2021 LUMINARIES award for executive leadership.

Joining Los Angeles-based Docupace as CEO in 2020, Knoch sparked a strategic transformation for the company by expanding the methods and breadth of bringing automated digitization to the back office of financial services firms.

In an interview, Knoch explained that before joining the company, “we’re building the back office ecosystem from the core.” A leader in cloud-based digital automation software, Docupace’s overarching goal since 2002 has been to eliminate paperwork.

By going paperless and storing documents in the cloud, advisors not only save time and money, but also ensure document security. In 2021, Docupace will save more than 291 million hours of processing time compared to manual operations through automated digitization, the company said.

It acts as a back office for broker-dealers and RIAs, and also provides the integration technology itself. Part of Knoch’s strategy was to acquire two companies, jaccomo and PreciseFP, in 2021 to expand and enhance Docupace’s capabilities.

Knoch was previously president of 1.st Global, research and consulting firm. He continues as president of Preston Creek Capital, a financial services industry consultancy.

ThinkAdvisor recently interviewed Knoch over the phone from their Dallas office. On what it takes to be a good advisor and leader, he said:

Here are highlights from the conversation:

THINKADVISOR: What do you see as the biggest challenges facing the financial services industry?

David Notch: The industry doesn’t really “know” the demographics of America. The industry is still overwhelmingly male and white. We have a lot of work ahead of us when it comes to diversity.

What are the benefits of having the industry represent the entire racial, ethnic, and gender demographics of a country?

The quality of advice improves when multiple cultural and gender perspectives are brought into the planning conversation.

Certain communities have segments that they might feel better served by someone from their own community. It’s good to make sure they have that option. Giving advice is more appropriate when multiple perspectives are involved.

What are the biggest challenges for financial advisors today?

Your advisor is likely going through a business transformation. Maybe you pay for it now, and if you’re a hybrid, you probably pay more than you used to. They probably do financial planning more often.

But the advisor is probably new [tech] tools too. It’s a big challenge for them.

yes. However, in most cases, it is not the advisors themselves who are actually using the technology, but rather the management employees.

Its execution is part of a property management company. If financial advisors don’t give their teams the tools and the ability to do it right, it’s still their responsibility, even if they don’t personally do all the execution.

Docuace has been on a “mission to eliminate paperwork since 2002”. For decades, people have talked about a paperless office, but it was an illusion. How real is that today?

In some segments of our industry, it’s still a bit of an illusion. Amazing hand work [still] It is done.

But it’s great for us. Fortunately, [paperless] A reality for those who want it. We are digitizing everyone as soon as possible to provide a better experience for them and their clients.

Are many financial advisors simply resisting the transition from analog to digital?

It’s becoming rarer. But there are certainly contingents of advisors, especially those who will retire to Windshield in the next three years or so. Others may lack the resources to get it started.

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