The past 12 months have represented a tumultuous year for the entire global financial industry, not just for wealth management.
A number of factors made their mark. Ever-tightening regulations, geo-political upheaval, the latest cycle of digital innovation and an emerging client base have all presented challenges and opportunities over the last year. As well as client expectation for a client portal, advisor portal, enhanced client communication, robust client reporting, and financial mobility, all on one flexible digital platform.
The asset management industry stands on the edge of great changes that will permanently shape its future. At the forefront of these is digitalization, promising automation, AI-driven investing and data-centric advice, shaped in part by the gradual shift of global wealth to the ‘millennials’. Millennials have high expectations when it comes to client portals, advisor portals, client communication, client reporting, financial mobility, and digital platforms.
Much has been written on these predictions – but has the industry listened and acted accordingly?
Technology investment should become more nuanced in 2017. The industry’s relationship with innovation is gaining traction thanks to its ease in generating better advice, delivering richer information and coping with the demands of a more digitally savvy customer base including client portals, advisor portals, client communication, client reporting, and financial mobility. That said, a lot of firms see technology investment as a catchall solution, channelling money without much thought to its application. Wealth managers need to understand this segment of the market if they wish to lead it.
Managers should have a good working knowledge of the current technology available to them, and what solutions should be used within their business. They also need to be thinking long term, researching developing technology that they can feed into strategy reports and business plans. This will also help them identify emerging trends and solutions that may impact their own business model – for example, how technology may bring down the cost of active portfolio management, and to what extent specific technologies like blockchain will affect the sector.
Global wealth distribution is in constant flux – particularly at the local level – but this current period of transition is an industry-wide opportunity. And it’s not just about millennials.
We are already seeing the impact of aging populations in the western hemisphere on economic growth. Emerging countries and industries will also make their own mark – especially as younger audiences seek alternative investment streams with access to client portals, advisor portals, client communication, client reporting, financial mobility, and a digital platform. Investment managers must anticipate where future assets will come from, and how to create a tailored portfolio for a more clued-up, digital client using client portals and advisor portals. The key lies in the customer digital experience.
A firm’s branding or look is now equally as important as the investment and allocation advice they provide. The new ‘face’ of the brand is no longer the wealth manager himself or herself, but the data-rich, digital platforms that provide more informed and up-to-date information for better decision-making using client portals and advisor portals.
A balance of risks
Among the excitement and the potential of both technology and new customer trends, the wealth management landscape has also become more complex.
The DOL Fiduciary Rule – which extends fiduciary responsibility to all financial professionals who work with retirement plans – has prominently underscored the need for change that puts the financial advice industry in a stronger position. The proposed implementation delay doesn’t change anything for digital advice, since advisors and investors alike are already well down this road to a better, stronger position. Here, digital again comes into its own, giving clients more control over how they can view and act on their investments while decreasing the costs to the advisor of serving each client with client portals, advisor portals, client communication, and client reporting.
Digital provides a way to balance risks – form compliance to customer retention. Financial services firms should invest now, lest they be left behind.
To find out how to leverage InvestCloud to go digital, comply with the Fiduciary Rule and differentiate your business, request a demo through our website at www.investcloud.com/Demo or call us at +1 (888) 800-0188.