The last 12 months have been a real wake-up call on many fronts and have proffered certain vital lessons to the world.

Firstly, they have shown us that we should not take our health for granted. Once this is gone, it is difficult to get back.

Secondly, that rainy days are a reality, and financial planning needs to take priority. No matter how secure your job or income may be, there is always something around the corner that could potentially knock the wind out of you. Having prepared for a rainy day helps cushion this potential blow.

Thirdly, we have learnt that digital technology is now mainstream. Yes, we are still human, and we instinctively crave face-to-face contact, but technology, used appropriately, can be a helpful communication tool for almost every age cohort. It is impressive to notice how quickly technology is adopted when seen as an urgent need for an immediate solution.

At Curmi & Partners, we have experienced this change at very close quarters over the past year. Our journey started several years back when we overhauled our IT infrastructure – both the software and hardware side.

The objective back then was to change the way we communicate and what we communicate to our clients. To do this, we needed to completely start building our infrastructure from scratch in such a way that we would be able to give clients the visibility that we felt they ought to have. It’s not that the system we had then was inadequate for what we were providing, far from it. It was still probably one of the most advanced portfolio management systems on the island. Yet, it became clear that it could not grow in the way we wanted with the complexity the market would eventually require.

The future for us was one where we needed to be more efficient in our processes. This meant a much greater degree of automation throughout. It needed to bring together both the portfolio management and regulatory side of our business. More importantly, it needed to help us get closer to our clients by giving them access to what is essentially their information at the touch of a button.

I cannot say that the journey to achieve these objectives was simple. When changing software platforms, there are always hidden gremlins that surface when you least expect them to. Yet by staying focused on the bigger picture, we soldiered on, and I am proud that today we have launched Curmi Digital Wealth. CDW is a data-rich platform that allows our clients full access to all their investments. Adhering to international standards of reporting, it is an intuitive platform that is interactive and engaging. 

Besides transforming the way we work, it will change the quality and timeliness of the information we provide to our clients. We have already moved to a full digital reporting level. However, CDW is also a fully automated digital platform that allows our clients to follow their investment portfolio on a 24/7 basis. It combines mart graphical displays with critical data, enabling clients to understand their investments better and analyse them from different perspectives at the touch of a button. Whether viewing from an IOS device or an Android one, clients also benefit from downloading their reports to their devices or storing them within the platform itself.

The journey into the digital world has already proven to be critical to our ability to navigate successfully through the pandemic. It is difficult to imagine how we would have survived as well as we did without such automation. And the exciting aspect is that the more you invest in your processes, the more you realise what you can do, and the possibilities truly become endless. We now have a project team that is continuously focusing on what added features we can develop to be more relevant to our clients and to keep us closer to them at all times. The interesting angle is seeing how a broad range of age groups are embracing the technologies we are providing them with whilst also giving us feedback on adding new features.

The technology will keep evolving, and more features will be included over time. However, the need to balance technology with a human interface remains vital, and we do not wish to lose this. Whilst automation is inevitable and desirable, picking up the phone or communicating with another human being is just as critical. To us, being successful in this respect does not stop at introducing technology into everything that we do, but it is about combining it with our amazing team to be able to offer a service that can be entirely digital for the more tech-savvy yet still traditional for those less so.

I look forward to continuing this journey and strengthening the precious achievements obtained so far.

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