In what could be a front-runner for the biggest understatement of the year, it’s safe to say that innovation in technology has impacted our lives in ways that many of us wouldn’t have dreamed of just a few years ago. As a late-arriving member of GenX, I’m part of a generation that caught the ‘tip of the spear’ of the Internet age – old enough to remember corded home phones and pen pals, but young enough to fully embrace the birth of the mainstream Internet. Now, millennials and subsequent generations are relying on digital solutions at increasingly earlier ages.
For these age groups, the rapid pace of consumer-based technical innovation has been so relentless that it is now normalized. It’s expected. It is this type of consumer that the Wealth Management industry finds itself vying for, now and in the future. As these age groups move into their prime earning years and begin to inherit wealth, they will be looking for wealth management firms that progressively employ digital tools and practices to improve service, efficiency, and overall experience.
Putting client service at the center of wealth management is fast becoming a key point of differentiation, as providers move from merely selling products, to delivering compelling, seamless and personalized customer solutions across digital and non-digital channels.
Organizations are increasingly turning to strategies such as Design Thinking to put themselves in their customers’ shoes when developing next-gen solutions that address the entire customer journey, from first interaction through to building and maintaining loyalty. Digitally-supported concepts such as goal-based planning and customer 360° portfolio views can build trust and strengthen stickiness, enabling providers to uncover more up-sell/cross sell opportunities.
Transforming advice in wealth management
Yet, the digital age has not eliminated the need for relationships. The role of the advisor will continue to be incredibly important, though the mode and type of communication will radically change. Traditional face-to-face interactions will also reduce, as more modern and popular tools like text, social media, Skype and Facetime take over as more efficient modes of exchange. Self-service will gain more share, with AI-derived tools such as chatbots and robo-advice stepping in to provide solutions to more independent customers.
The choice of self or full serve models will usually not be a binary decision, and most people will seek self/full hybrid models to varying degrees. A recent Wealth report revealed that 68.7% of the interviewed High Net Worth Investors globally indicated that hybrid models are a significant factor in their decisions to consolidate assets with their primary wealth management firm. The ability of organizations to offer a seamless experience that can offer this blend of service will be well positioned to gain and maintain client share across the service spectrum.
Innovation is also enabling advisors to be more proactive and informed, allowing them to spend more time on advice and less on administration. For example, a next-generation Advisor solution we are planning, focuses on harmonizing all the tools an advisor uses into one integrated portal for a seamless and efficient experience. The portal will include AI and analytics-based solutions that leverage client data and intelligence to notify advisors about the clients’ life events, enabling them to have more meaningful conversations with their clients.
The Time for Digital is Now
As new generations are growing up immersed in technology now entering the high-earning period of their lives, the time for the wealth management industry to fully embrace digital is now. Organizations failing to do so will risk falling behind more prepared competitors in gaining the attention of the soon-to-be majority digital customer.
- Capgemini’s World Wealth Report 2018: