The human mind loves to look for signals to help guide a decision — a traffic light turning green, a shooting star, a synchronistic phone call.
Those moments that snap things into focus with a flash of clarity can often feel rare. But for Alan Neale, confirmation that Asset Class is the perfect place for him to grow his career hasn’t been a one-time epiphany. “I have that light bulb moment every day,” Asset Class’ head of design said.
And Asset Class has embraced the power of visual cues as the team brings the power of branding and design to private capital funds.
When Neale first met founder and CEO Ferdi Roberts, he recognized the opportunity to bring together his decades of experience across agency work and digital transformation in the financial services industry, while continuing to learn and grow.
“I was excited to build a disruptive platform that responds to customer needs and build intuitive products that they use and enjoy,” he said. “I love the space to grow and build out a great product from the ground up. Especially with transformation projects, I have an opportunity to put my own stamp on things while bringing on a talented team of specialists.”
Whether envisioning the branding at the company’s new Dublin office or leading the UX team through a Lean-Agile development process, Neale’s work touches every aspect of Asset Class’ design vision both internally and for clients — with no limits to what his team can strive for
WHAT THEY DO
Asset Class offers an end-to-end solution for private capital clients and investors. Neale describes the product as “an operating system that powers the fund.” “It’s a holistic approach to everything from customer relationship management to investor portals to portfolio and deal management,” he said. “You can get on board and expand usage as your company grows. Companies don’t have to use third-parties and aren’t going to outgrow Asset Class’ products because the tools offer complete solutions for every aspect of the business within the investment space.”
“An Untouched Space for Digital Transformation”
“The investment space is really untouched for a digital transformation,” Neale said. “It’s very gratifying to be able to fix these long-standing pain points for customers, like being able to digitally connect funds and banks and share data easily through an investor portal.”
But preparing clients to move forward with digital transformation isn’t always easy, especially when paired with encouragement to streamline the brand experience, according to Neale.
“A lot of our clients are still using spreadsheets, and branding is very new to them,” he said. “We try to bring them on that journey so they understand the power of their brand message — building loyalty, helping investors trust the brand, understanding the security in limiting the use of third-party services.”
And for those clients who have never had a partner help them understand the benefits of a strong brand and centralizing their offerings, Asset Class serves as an example of how branding can support building strong client relationships. Rather than receiving emails from third-party vendors, every web link, address and email Asset Class sends arrives with clear and straightforward branding that communicates the message is clearly coming from a single, trusted source.
“Clients see the value in that. If their investors get an email from them, it appears as from our client specifically,” Neale said. “Everything is customized and centralized.”
Transitioning to Asset Class doesn’t just minimize brand dilution for investors — the platform also streamlines daily work. Rather than splitting time and energy across multiple products, clients are able to utilize Asset Class’ suite of modules to fit the needs of the specific fund. Working through that transition with clients helps Neale and his team understand how they can continue to improve the next generation of the product.
“It is really about simplifying the day-to-day job,” he said. “From early workshops, we get an understanding of what scale of professional services they need. Some clients will use features that other clients won’t, and that’s great — that’s why we’ve taken a modular approach.”
“We Keep Our Clients Front and Center”
From quick wins to macro-level changes, Neale’s focus remains on understanding customer needs — and for good reason.
“The product almost builds itself when you understand the needs of the user,” he said. “We keep our clients front and center and help them make their processes quicker and easier for their investors.”
“The product almost builds itself when you understand the needs of the user.”
As customers use Asset Class’ products to build a custom solution for their needs, a suite of features products flows support every part of the investment and fund management process.
“Because of the modular base, they can start small and expand,” Neale said. “Our clients don’t need to take everything on at once. But as they expand, they’ll start using portfolio or deal management and start using more and more of our modules.”
As Neale’s team supports clients through building out their work with Asset Class, they also learn more about how they can drive the future of their products and services ahead. While engaging with clients through branding workshops, the Asset Class design team is able to explore new possibilities for the products and dig into which features and tools will be most useful in the future.
“When we look to improve features, we look at how clients use the products, whether that is from an out-of-the-box customizable approach or through our professional services team,” Neale said.
“More Than the Sum of Its Parts”
The experts who make up Asset Class’ design team — powering both the out-of-the-box solutions and professional services — are prepared to use their knowledge to power the private capital industry toward a new era of digital possibilities.
Asset Class’ priorities for its own future are mirrored in the support the company offers to its clients. “Like our clients, we're on a journey of discovery and of product evolution. And what we're doing for ourselves, we're equally doing for our clients,” Neale said. “So if we listen to the customer well, it helps us evolve quicker and helps them get a better product. It's a win-win.”
Neale is confident that Asset Class is building the team that will successfully make that ambitious goal a reality.
“We’re building the dream team of specialists from across the world,” he said. “The expertise is more than the sum of its parts, and it’s built this culture of knowledge that has received validation from our users and customers.”
“We’re building the dream team of specialists from across the world.”
As the team grows, the product will only continue to improve and better meet client needs.
“People who come on board bring fresh thinking,” Neale said. “As the knowledge base expands, we will be able to offer features that we couldn’t have previously imagined.”