In the times ahead, 2022 would be seen as the pivotal year for how wealth management adoption grew and changed irreversibly. Coming out of volatile and ambiguous times, where consumers lacked physical offices, what investment advice would stand the test, there is also increasing evidence of how wealth-tech firms were betting big on digital technologies to drive more efficient wealth advice. Digital onboarding and servicing as processes allowed customers to balance short-term financial stability with longer-term yields. In short, the most significant gain for the wealth management industry is that most players, if not all, have begun taking firm steps towards a digital mindset.
Tectonic shifts, total transformation
The shifts are apparent. Pivoting to a relationship-based model where advisors offer personalized advice tailored to clients’ goals and life events is possible because of several advances – unified experiences and functionalities like account aggregation, CRM tools, and client portals.
Another critical advantage for wealth managers emerges from scale and omnichannel servicing. In this regard, digitization of account opening, account transitions, and e-signatures, among other workflow tools, has made scale jumps possible, reduced errors, and cut the processing time. In the times of remote working, add to this pot the collaboration tools like Zoom, whose instant appeal among the millennials isn’t going unnoticed.
Seizing the Environmental Social Governmental (ESG) edge
Before every discovery becomes an industry default, there is a window where wealth management firms capitalizing on a trend can achieve quicker customer acquisition. Most analyst firms predict how the current global unrest around sustainability is a cause close to the hearts of millennials and GenY. Support for climate change and other social causes are more than just conversations. The younger investors want their wealth and portfolio managers to be aware of these nuances and offer solutions that have deep links to sustainability.
A critical fallout of the increased M&A activity in the asset and wealth management (AWM) industry is the increased adoption of RPA (Robotic Process Automation). Merging company and industry data, onboarding new clients, transferring data faster to the new systems, and high sensitivity errors detection and alerts are all coveted features of RPA tools and technologies.
Additionally, along with the various digitization technologies now commonplace (OCR and ICR), there are matters of compliance that automation practices are transforming within AWM.
Top wealth-tech players are moving to account management systems for enhanced tracking (and auditing) of documents. With security against data breaches, Cloud applications allow more flexibility and quick scalability through far cheaper subscription options (Software-as-a-service), freeing firms from heavy capital investments in data storage. This cloud-based software market size is expected to grow to $20B before 2026.
Advanced Analytics and others
There is evidence that 71% of customers willingly share personal information with an increased demand for personalization. Then the onus of creating and maintaining empathetic connections is probably an advisor’s top priority. Wealth managers today use advanced analytics to transform data into insight for customers and channel these insights via interactive dashboards to do this capably. More than Robo-advisory as a notable AI /ML example, AWM firms are feverishly exploring more use cases across lead conversion, unstructured data ingestion, and high-frequency algorithmic trading. Finally, these tools offer unique ways to make optimal investment decisions. Admittedly, integrating these trending technologies is at its inception, and for AI and ML, the years ahead promise to be far more exciting.
Tech Titans in AWM
Across sectors and industries, firms today aspire to be either a technology company, financial companies, or both. Expanding their customers’ wallet share and consolidating their lifetime value are primary motivations for the FAANG companies (FB, Amazon, Apple, Netflix, Google). These digital savvy companies with deep roots in customer analytics are well suited to harness their vast swathes of data and enter wealth management and asset portfolios. Like felt across other businesses, such forays are likely to upheave the industry landscape, something that incumbent players must acknowledge and prepare for.
Emerging tech and the role of Data.
Real-time settlement models, data privacy protection, risk, financial history, and investments in cryptos are tangible Blockchain use cases in AWM. The leading wealth-tech firms understand the value of executing such high-touch services by embracing emerging technology. As autonomous financial instruments and investment vehicles become popular, the traditional wealth management functions like client advisory and portfolio management will become leaner and be threatened with revenue erosion.
All the mentioned growth levers – Automation, AI, ML, Cloud Computing, and Blockchain – ultimately rely on the robustness of a company’s data infrastructure, including managing data quality, integrity, and governance.
The actual unlocking of the full potential of these as-yet inchoate technologies is happening with each passing day. With the increase in global demands for holistic wealth management, offering niche investments, bespoke advice, or customized protection will also rise. The competitive edge for AWM companies will come from ecosystem collaborations and embracing new technologies that drive the customers’ pricing and value balance.