Douglass Winthrop

A Top Financial Investment Firm With The Latest Tech & Web Capabilities

Client overview: Douglass Winthrop Advisors (DWA) is an SEC-registered investment advisor to individuals, trusts, families, pensions, and endowments. Founded in 1999, DWA is majority-owned and managed by its principals, with a minority interest held by a small group of investors. DWA is headquartered in New York City, with Washington, D.C., and West Palm Beach.

The Challenge

As a prestigious financial advisory firm, Douglass Winthrop understood the integral relationship between technology and client service. With this in mind, DWA engaged WSD for strategic advisory and IT services to ensure its investment experts always had access to the latest tech solutions. To better understand the project scope, WSD conducted an IT and needs assessment that included auditing all hardware and software assets and interviewing key leaders within the firm. After reviewing the assessment findings and discussing the company's intent to grow and scale its business while maintaining a client-centric focus, DWA’s management team tasked us with:

  1. Improving core system functionalities
  2. Enhancing remote work capabilities
  3. Implementing a new CRM solution
  4. Building a new web site

Our Strategy & Solutions

Working closely with key stakeholders at DWA, our team of technical experts explored the company's in-depth business needs and created complementary strategies for technical solutions.

Kicking off the project in early 2019, we prioritized client service by first identifying and resolving all end-user operational issues. As strategic advisors, we outlined goals for each initiative, highlighting the business and technology needs to enable key components like standardizing data, managing vendors, streamlining business processes, creating automated reports, and improving client engagement.

However, when the pandemic hit, our focus quickly shifted from the many facets of this project to resolving one business-critical element: rapidly implementing a work-from-home solution.

Investment team at terminal

Enabling A New Communications Platform & Remote Work Strategy

Douglass Winthrop, like many companies, had an in-person work culture that primarily utilized traditional phone and email communications before the pandemic. As a result, the company needed to pivot from in-person to remote work when New York City went on lockdown. Not wanting our client to skip a beat, we worked tirelessly to assess and securely provision equipment for employees while implementing a unified communications platform. Within one week, we rolled out an SEC-compliant version of Slack and had employees working securely from home. Today, staff are back in the office, but Slack remains a widely adopted and essential mode of communication.

Selecting & Implementing A CRM Solution

The desire for a robust CRM platform was a key theme throughout the technical assessment and stakeholder interviews. The team at DWA wanted a solution that would integrate with other core technologies, provide reporting, capture detailed client information, streamline business processes, provide easy access to client information, and include mobile capabilities.

Salentica Elements logo

To turn our client's needs into reality, we provided end-to-end CRM services, such as detailing product requirements, creating the RFP, conducting vendor demos and evaluations, leading the system selection, data cleansing, data migration, and implementing the CRM solution.  

DWA's new CRM, Salentica Elements, is explicitly designed for the financial services industry and utilizes a customized version of Salesforce. The packaged product integrates nicely with the client's portfolio management system (APX),utilizes Salesforce’s best-in-class mobile application, and has an array of desired features and functionality tailored to RIAs.

Increasing Information Security

Tech enhancements often present the perfect opportunity to increase information security measures within a company. Knowing this, DWA sought to add additional processes and levels of protection to its existing security practices. WSD joined a weekly IT steering meeting with key stakeholders at DWA to bolster emphasis on the topic. As a proactive tool, we utilized a leading software to conduct phishing simulations, which helped educate and train staff on detecting and avoiding cyber security threats. We also enhanced the system framework and strengthened the identity and access management protocols to improve security.

Managing Vendors

Working with various vendors throughout a tech upgrade can be daunting for many. To help make this project as seamless and worry-free as possible for DWA, we led all vendor management efforts for operational improvement. We developed vendor relationships, ensured vendors followed policies, and managed vendor integrations of new software. Additionally, we spearheaded vendor-to-vendor collaboration efforts by leading multi-app vendor calls to resolve issues and coordinated an onsite office day for vendors to work together in person.


A primary conclusion of our IT and needs assessment process was the need to hire a full time Director of IT. While DWA had capable IT vendors and expert operational staff, the firm had grown to the point where a full time on site Director of IT was a strategic imperative. WSD participated in efforts to find, vet, hire, and knowledgeshare with a new Director of IT. The firm's IT infrastructure is now capably managed by Vilas Satkalmi.

Services Provided

Content Management SystemCRM Selection & ImplementationHostingInformation SecurityIT Consulting Lead GenerationPhishing SimulationsProject ManagementSalesforce ImplementationStrategic AdvisoryWebsite DesignWebsite DevelopmentVendor Management 

The Result

Today, the financial experts at DWA have access to new technologies, tools, and workflows to help them collaborate and work from any location. Streamlined processes and workflows maximize efficiency. Mobile capabilities make client service possible while on the go.

Staff quickly access information, which improves client service and calls. And the rapid adoption of phishing education has increased employee awareness of cyber security. 

We've enjoyed working closely with DWA and look forward to watching their business grow and continue to thrive. Visit to learn more about the dedicated team at Douglass Winthrop.

The DWA team at work


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