Comprehensive research conducted by PwC has determined that the wealth management sector of financial services is one of the least tech-literate sectors in the financial services industry. Interviewing over 1,000 high net worth individuals (HNWI) from the U.S., Europe and Asia and over 100 client facing relationship managers at wealth management firms and banks around the world, PwC compiled their findings into a report, Sink or Swim: Why Wealth Management Can’t Afford to Miss the Digital Wave.
There are two underlying problems that continue to perpetuate this technological illiteracy. First, there is a disconnect between the digital needs of the client and the wealth managers understanding not only of those needs, but their lack of recognizing their own firm’s digital shortcomings. Currently, 98% of HNWIs use the internet daily and 69% use online banking, yet only a quarter of wealth managers offer digital platforms beyond email. Secondly, there is significant apprehension towards the modernization of legacy practices and software. While CEOs recognize the need to modernize, relationship and account managers are proving resistant, unwilling to relinquish their traditional roles, client communication channels, and business development systems. Additionally, the physical act of digitizing a firm with years worth of documents, client history, and operational status quo is a challenging but necessary undertaking. Aging financial systems solved a modern day problem at their time of deployment but lack the digital capabilities both client and advisors need today such as client portals, advisor portals, client communication, client reporting, and financial mobility.
The traditional model of wealth management is evolving. Two-thirds of relationship managers do not consider robo-advice [Digital Advice] to be a threat, yet 14% of HNWIs currently use a robo-advisory service and 47% of those under the age of 45 who do not currently use a robo-advisor, would consider using one in the future. As the digital transformation of the legacy financial institution accelerates, HNWIs are starting to expect the same convenience and features in their financial apps as found in consumer apps, such as Uber like client reporting, client communication, client portal, and advisor portals. However, it is not all doom and gloom for the wealth management sector. The relationship between HNWIs and their wealth manager is ranked as the second most important feature, behind only returns, and digitizing can actually improve the relationship between clients and wealth managers, not cannibalize it by providing better client communication and client reporting.
Established wealth management firms and banks have inherent advantages over fintech startups and existing robo-advisors. A highly regulated industry provides high barriers of entry for newcomers and established firms already have extensive client bases and existing relationships. The goal for firms should be to establish a digital presence that facilitates client communication, client reporting, and financial mobility, eases client on boarding, and automates portfolio rebalancing and research. HNWIs are willing to pay a premium for good advice that is easy to understand and consume, making it imperative for wealth management firms to maintain a high-touch human element in their practice.
One of the most easily recognizable strengths of InvestCloud is our ability to overlay digital capabilities on top of existing data and infrastructure combined with our proprietary PWP (Programs Writing Programs) digital platform to create client value quickly. Client Portals facilitate digital client communication and client reporting allowing clients to quickly see their financial health, aggregated accounts, and custom views specific to the client’s needs. Advisor Portals give wealth advisors and relationship managers the ability to segment their client portfolios to quickly automate strategy implementation and custom service models based on client needs and relationship fee structures. InvestCloud’s Digital App Platform is an enabler for the financial institution to configure each digital experience based on a combination of client and advisor needs. One-client-fee model does not fit all. A hyper-modular app approach enables firms to customize fees, strategies, and service levels for each client type, from millennial to the Ultra High Net Worth.
A key insight of the PwC report is that HNWIs are very much willing to pay a premium for advice, yet still want the convenience of digital. InvestCloud facilitates client communication and client reporting by allowing clients to create ad hoc reports rather than rely on quarterly performance reviews and onsite meetings. Knowledgeable and informed clients are more willing to weather a volatile market and InvestCloud helps relationship managers tell the right story in any market.
The long term impact of a digital transformation includes increased client retention and a more focused effort on a wealth manager’s most important value-add, client relationships. Exceeding client expectations in an increasingly digital world is a reality with the right digital platform. Firms are identifying unique ways to offer a tiered level of advice/fee services powered by custom digital and human capabilities. Modern advisors are implementing the capabilities to work with younger clients on building wealth, then transitioning mature clients to a more high-touch relationship in the future once the client needs are more in line with a wealthy investor. InvestCloud is partnering with many types of wealth and investment management firms to attract more clients, increase client assets, and improve client relationships. While wealth management has traditionally been a slow adopter of technology, InvestCloud’s Digital App Platform is accelerating the transformation from monolithic service models to highly intuitive and nimble solutions for all types of clients, advisors, and institutions.
About InvestCloud Inc.
Headquartered in Los Angeles, InvestCloud empowers investors and managers with a single version of the integrated truth through its unique digital platform. Today the InvestCloud platform supports over $1.6 trillion of assets across some 660 institutional customers. InvestCloud creates custom solutions for better decision-making. From Client Communications (Client Portals and Client Reporting) and Client Management (Advisor Portals) to Digital Warehousing and Data Analytics, InvestCloud offers first-class investment platforms for successful investing that are rapid to deploy and hyper- modular. Customer segments include wealth managers, institutional investors, asset managers, family offices, asset services companies and financial platforms.