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Case Study: Citizens Wealth Group – Regulatory Updates & Harmonization

Citizens Wealth

Background: In early 2019, Citizens Bank acquired Clarfeld Financial Advisors, a top wealth management firm that provided solutions and services for high-net-worth foundations and individuals.

As a result of the acquisition of Clarfeld Financial Advisors, Citizens Bank offers lending and trust services and high-end financial solutions in addition to banking. It is headquartered in Tarrytown, New York and provides private bank and wealth management services through offices across eleven states.

Integrating Citizens With Clarfeld

Situation: As soon as Citizens Bank private wealth group purchased Clarfeld Financial Advisors, it quickly recognized the need to harmonize regulatory processes and procedures to integrate the two groups into one.

The problem?

Each group’s interpretation and approach to regulatory risks was different. Additionally, the current sets of regulatory procedures were outdated and needed to be updated to reflect current regulations and procedures.

No harmonizing and updating policies and procedures would put the combined organization at great risk with regulators, not to mention the risk of potential financial losses.

Advice: Use the process of procedural harmonization to bring the teams together and create one team/group.

The process of harmonization focused on:

  • review and update the new procedures to reflect current practices and regulations
  • application rationalization should occur at the same time to get the teams using the same tools and reflect these systems in the documentation

Action: A thorough review involved:

  • all procedures affecting wealth from across the bank were brought under evaluation
  • all regulatory references were updated, and procedures changed accordingly
  • teams reviewed and negotiated regulatory risks, assumptions, and legal consequences
  • all documentation was updated to reflect the new organization and its practices

Outcome: The act of harmonization brought the teams into one group with a trusted source of truth reflecting their understanding of regulations, risks, practices, and procedures. This set the foundation for Citizens to acquire and absorb other wealth groups such as Paladin Advisors more efficiently.

Patrick Martin is an industry expert in banking technology, deciphering the elements that work collectively towards progress – and building a roadmap for successful execution. Contact him today to see how he can use his innovative strategies and industry expertise to help your organization.


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