High-Touch, Transparent, and Accessible Service at Scale: Glen Eagle Advisory’s Story
In today’s market environment, empathy is a must for the wealth management industry. After all, every investor is unique, with independent financial goals. Human interest is the key strategic advantage to delivering on promises.
Given the pace of financial automation; however, it’s becoming increasingly difficult for firms to provide the level of personalization that clients expect and deserve. With this context in mind, Glen Eagle Advisors has built a reputation for its relationship-driven approach. CircleBlack is the software that empowers this ethos and experience.
“We’re committed to connecting with our clients in a way that’s different from most traditional Wall Street firms,” says Rob Michel, Chief Investment Officer at Glen Eagle.
Here’s a look into the firm’s client relationship management approach — and how CircleBlack fits into the equation.
Introducing Glen Eagle
Glen Eagle’s unique investment approach comes from the firm’s background as a multi-generational, woman-owned business. Founder and CEO Susan Michel established the company in 2002 from her kitchen, with the vision of helping clients achieve sustainable, long-term goals. Her goal was to deliver on promises and provide a service level that she felt was missing on Wall Street.
Today, Glen Eagle has expanded into a global business of 14 advisors, with customers that include corporations, business owners, and multigenerational families.
“As a firm, we are focused on a higher purpose,” says Michel. “We believe that investing is about more than just making more money. That means getting aligned around our client’s human goals — investing in a child’s education, purchasing a dream home, or getting ready for retirement.”
Glen Eagle is committed to matching the capabilities of a larger firm while building longer term relationships with clients on a human level.
“It’s about trust,” explains Michel. “That’s what so many firms are moving away from, in my opinion, in our industry. The gap in the market is our strategic advantage.”
Glen Eagle implemented CircleBlack in 2016, during a key growth period for the business.
Glen Eagle needed an efficient way to deliver personalized experiences as the firm continued to scale. What previously took two analysts and multiple hours to run can now be done in 20 seconds.
Glen Eagle chose CircleBlack in 2016 after evaluating multiple different options. Prior to implementing CircleBlack, Glen Eagle was using a variety of strung-together tools, in addition to manual processes for preparing custom reports. Today, CircleBlack functions as Glen Eagle’s operational command center.
“The user interface is very intuitive,” says Michel. “The platform provides everything we need and is very user friendly. The process for integrating with our existing technology stack was seamless, and we could easily establish connectors to our customer relationship management (CRM) platform, in addition to our systems for financial planning, risk management, and billing.”
CircleBlack is a mission-critical part of Glen Eagle’s everyday operations. The software helps advisors and clients get on the same page quickly — reducing communication friction, improving alignment around long-term goals, and introducing efficiencies to everyday processes.
“When I sit down with a client, we can go through everything step by step, however deep or high-level that we want,” explains Michel. “For instance, we use CircleBlack’s Model Marketplace, which links up with all of our custodians so that we can use our own model or a third-party provider’s model. This capability alone increases the efficiency of the firm.”
Michel says he’s seen first hand how better human interactions can drive efficiency, when both parties are on the same page. With this shared perspective, communication touchpoints become more valuable and impactful.
At Glen Eagle, every workflow maps back to a bigger relationship management goal. The software helps clients and advisors engage in more meaningful discussions.
“What our clients want most is transparent and accessible service,” says Michel. “CircleBlack allows us to offer an online platform and mobile app that allows them to track their wealth 24/7. With this capability, our highly talented team of financial advisors can deliver more personalized service. CircleBlack helps us focus on the intangibles of meeting peoples’ expectations.”
With this context in mind, Michel outlines three CircleBlack-driven workflows that have been most impactful to the team at Glen Eagle:
CircleBlack gives clients a direct view into present portfolio performance relative to long-term objectives. The idea is for clients and advisors to reflect back upon established goals from the beginning of the relationship.
Glen Eagle establishes these goals with its customers during the firm’s onboarding process and initial conversation. CircleBlack’s interface helps connect short and long-term perspectives together.
“For most people, if they’re honest with themselves, their goal is to be financially stable and secure,” says Michel. “It’s about going to bed worry-free about finances.”
At Glen Eagle, advisors strive to deliver peace of mind.
“People have more emotional and more life impacting goals than returns, alone,” says Michel. “It’s about providing support to grandchildren, making repairs to homes, getting married, and other life milestones. With an understanding of these milestones, we can build financial plans that are sustainable and attainable.”
With CircleBlack, Glen Eagle has an easier time pulling the data to monitor and meet these goals into one place.
“CircleBlack helps us translate investors’ goals into an allocation strategy,” says Michel. “The goal is to build a clear sustainability picture and ensure that investors are staying on track.”
Proactive Monitoring and Outreach
Operationally, Glen Eagle leverages CircleBlack as a central hub for business operations – connecting multiple work streams, data sources, and other resources all in one place.
“We have an integrated view into every client’s financial plan,” says Michel.
With this foundational perspective, Glen Eagle can proactively monitor individual accounts closely. As a result, the financial advisory team can contact clients when needed. Moreover, Glen Eagle can easily adapt to volatile market environments.
“CircleBlack gives us the accessibility to analyze the portfolio and make adjustments as needed much quicker and more effectively than we could have otherwise,” says Michel.
Glen Eagle works closely with CircleBlack to execute on business-critical objectives.
“CircleBlack operates as an extension of our team and is responsive to our needs,” says Michel. “They understand the immense amount of trust that our customers put into our business and have a team dedicated to solving our problems on our behalf.”
With this partnership, Glen Eagle is able to provide a higher level of service to customers.
“It’s about collaboration and brainpower,” says Michel. “We’re giving our customers the individualized attention that they deserve with smart minds helping develop solutions.”
Glen Eagle is on a global growth trajectory. Though expansion is the primary focus, the firm is unwilling to sacrifice the personal touch provided to every client.
“If you’re not being conscious about it, your business risks becoming generic,” explains Michel.
For this reason, Glen Eagle is creating service models for specific customer segments. The idea is to systematize operational tasks, to the best extent possible. With this level of systemization in place, the Glen Eagle team will be in a better position to answer questions, address concerns, and provide a high touch level of service.
“CircleBlack adapts to our workflows with our clients instead of the other way around,” says Michel. “As our business grows, it’s critical that we continue to give our customers the full attention they need and deserve. CircleBlack gives us the confidence to take ambitious steps forward without sacrificing our human values, as we strive to be role models for our industry.”
Learn more about CircleBlack
CircleBlack is an all in one management platform for the wealth management industry. You can think of it as an operational dashboard to better connect financial advisors and their clients around a shared perspective. The outcome is better collaboration.
To learn how our software can help you build, manage, and grow your wealth management practice, get in touch.
This material has been prepared for educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide, and should not be relied upon for, investment, accounting, legal, or tax advice.
Persons associated with Glen Eagle Advisors, LLC and/or its affiliates have an ownership interest in CircleBlack, Inc. Susan Michel is a member of CircleBlack board of directors.