Ann Senne, head of RBC Wealth Management U. S. Advice & Solutions, has focused on onething for the past four years: modernizing the bank’s systems, processesand talent to create a more efficientand effective wealth managementresource center.
In 2016, Senne came back to RBC(after short stints at U.S. Bank andLoCorr Funds) to revamp the firm’s“old school broker-dealer” into a “digitally enabled investment advisory business,” she told ThinkAdvisor. Today, thebank has 2,000 advisors, up 200 from2016. They work with $414 billion inclient assets.
Senne first joined the bank in 1994 asa senior financial auditor after earning abachelor’s degree in accounting from theUniversity of Wisconsin-Eau Claire andan MBA at the University of Minnesota.
“[To better serve advisors] we spent a
lot of time thinking about what are the
key areas to invest in,” she said. “The
first was really creating the planning
experience, and to do that, we built out
That included hiring former U.S.
Bank pro Angie O’Leary to lead wealth
planning at RBC Wealth. O’Leary also
has helped expand the tool set for advi-
sors. In addition, Nate Angelo from
Russell Investments was hired as head
of wealth management consulting, to
educate advisors on in-depth resources
they can use to better help their clients.
The modernization also meant adding
strategists and consultants to an “internal
wealth center,” who could help advisors
build certain skill sets, including those
tied to the use of annuities and insurance.
But key to the changes, says Senne,was getting advisors “to feel empowered [and] to provide clarity and confidence” so their work could become morefocused and in tune with client needs.
This effort included investments in
“enhancing for our solution set and then
our practice management capabilities,
and by that I mean product feeds. So
we enhanced almost all of our products
on platforms over the course of the last
They also added technology such as
Envestnet’s MoneyGuidePro, a web-
based product to help advisors work
with and manage client portfolios. Plus,
having strong customer relationship
management software was critical to
the modernization, according to Senne.
Overall, she sees technology as both
a necessity for industry growth and a
challenge to keep up with on several lev-
els. Advisors need to work with robust
technology, especially as remote work
becomes more prevalent.
“Figuring out how to do this virtually
is really important,” she says. “So spend-
ing a lot of time on helping everyone get
comfortable, delivering the same kind of
experience and delivering empathy and
compassion in a format where we’re not
actually in the same space, that is going
to be important to figure out.”
In addition, there’s the challenge of
keeping up with technology, “especially
when measured against what our cli-
ents see in other industries [like operat-
ing off an iPhone] which seems to be
the standard for how people interact
today,” she says.
This brings up the problem: “Do youpartner or build, and how do [firms]create that kind of experience and stay
WOMEN IN WEALTH
By Ginger Szala
How an Exec is Revamping RBC
Ann Senne is transitioning “old-school” BD to “digitally enabled”