Nepsis Capital Management is not your average wealth management firm, in large part thanks to the unique leadership of Mark Pearson, its founder and president. “I founded this firm because I felt that many people who had worked really hard all their lives for their money were being underserved,” said Pearson. “America forgets things quickly. Bernie Madoff, Ponzi schemes, bad investments. Lack of clarity makes these situations possible.”
He built Nepsis on this principle of first delivering clarity to clients. The firm does this through a back-to-basics investment strategy — and a conscientious focus on keeping investors and the agents who serve them in the know with real-time information on the status of their investments and the market at large.
To deliver clarity and maintain trust, communication from Nepsis needs to be fluid, consistent, and relentlessly intelligent. In building the firm, Pearson needed a platform that could allow it to scale quickly without diminishing a high-touch customer experience.
Short term, the firm needed a system that would allow the back office to rapidly onboard and service new accounts. Long term, Pearson needed a technology foundation with enough flexibility and scale to grow the company several times its existing size. Amidst this incredible growth, the business would also have to evolve to keep pace with sweeping change across the financial services industry.
Having worked in the technology industry previously, Pearson brought this agile, forward-thinking mindset to all of his decisions when establishing the firm. “What others in our business are doing with tech is all over the map. There are still guys using Excel spreadsheets,” said Pearson. “A lot of advisors don’t have the vision to see how technology can improve their business. That’s really where it starts. You have to be able to buy into the idea that technology is your friend, not your foe.”
With plans for rapid and dynamic growth, Pearson realized that the foundational architecture needed to be able to grow and adapt to the changing needs of his business. “You can spend a lot of time trying to make something work and you end up with a hodgepodge with no strategy around it,” said Pearson. “I chose Salesforce because I trusted that it could take us wherever we wanted to go.”
Pearson viewed money spent on his technology vendor not as a cost, but as an investment in the future — similar to the investment his clients make in working with top-notch advisors whose expertise allows them to build greater wealth.
An initial goal was to reduce dramatically the time advisors had to spend on paperwork. “We wanted to make life easier for the advisors,” said Pearson. “If we do that, they bring more business to our firm. At the same time, they increase the level of service they give to their clients. So the advisor is in a situation where they have to do less work for more accurate paperwork, turned around quicker, which means assets are coming in the door faster. And the end client gets better service through Salesforce.”
These efficiencies allowed Nepsis to do what every business dreams of: Grow its client base quickly and significantly without straining its support staff or diminishing customer experience. In the 18 months after adopting Salesforce, Nepsis grew its assets under management (AUM) by 150% without adding any administrative support staff. Meanwhile, clients received an even better level of service.
Today’s investors demand more data — indeed, more clarity — than ever. Trust comes from sharing information fluidly and frequently. Salesforce frees up more time for Nepsis advisors to spend in direct communication with clients, but as importantly, it gives them flexible access to incredibly rich data. “The efficiencies we’ve given the advisor are great,” said Pearson, “but that’s baseline. The icing is that they have access to better data faster, and they can have access from anywhere in the world.”
Because everything is tracked through Salesforce, advisors are up to speed in real time on a client’s portfolio and financial activity. “It’s incredible efficiency that paves the way for incredible customer service. An advisor can say, ‘Hey, we had a conversation on October 3rd that you needed to pay down a debt. Have you taken care of that?’ And the client is floored,” said Pearson.
Trust is also in play when it comes to cybersecurity. Increasingly, customers across every industry are concerned that their data might be vulnerable. Financial data, of course, is particularly sensitive. This was at top of mind as Pearson considered partners. “Our data is safe, secure, and available when we need it with Salesforce,” he said, citing that confidence as a major deciding factor.
Today at Nepsis, management is confident that advisors and investors are taken care of; there’s no time spent putting out fires. Pearson and his partners can use that free capacity to worry about “the other stuff.” In 2015, that meant moving the company in a new direction, one that is affecting wealth management industrywide: robo-investing, the use of automated computer algorithms that allocate, deploy, and rebalance investments. Nepsis is creating its own robo-investing option, but even more importantly, it is supporting its advisors such that they can provide a level of service that competing robo advisors can’t touch.
A comprehensive marketing campaign is also underway, along with online lead generation and investment in the front-end process for the advisor. On the website there’s now a free stress test, so that an investor can find out if their portfolio is performing at its best. “The data from that is going to flow through Act-On into Salesforce,” said Pearson. “We’ll be able to track from start to finish what happens after a client fills out the stress test.”
The investment strategy is working. “We’re now prepared to grow to a billion dollars and will not have to do much technologically in the process,” said Pearson. Nepsis’ AUM is anticipated to grow 40%–50% over the next year.
Pearson believes strongly in the ability of Nepsis to improve clients’ lives beyond their wallets, and it’s that belief that has compelled him to focus so resolutely on growth, and to seek partners who can keep pace. “If you can bring clarity to someone, it has a trickle-down effect,” said Pearson. “It makes your life easier. My work is about helping people understand the power of clarity and the power it gives you to be successful — not just financially, but in your marriage, with your family, with your job.” Clarity is more than an investment strategy; it’s a way of life that Nepsis looks to bring to every advisor and investor it serves.