The past few years have seen a rapid acceleration of digital across all sectors. In the wealth management industry, this is a complex paradigm that has conditioned client preferences and financial institutions themselves.
Yet, most clients still yearn for human-centric interactions with their financial advisors. In an industry that has a tradition of personalized relationships and professional meetings carried out over coffee, this is hardly surprising.
The experience of the pandemic has intensified this feeling among investors. In the UK, for example, over half of the youngest investment demographic reported a loss of faith in robo-advisors when grappling with the uncertainty caused by the global situation (Capgemini). From global banking leaders, we’re hearing about a similar demand for security and transparency. The executive of a well known wealth management firm told Unblu that, in the wake of the pandemic, the bank’s principal objective was to protect investments and get closer to clients through extended channels.
With digital as the driving force of industry change, wealth management firms who utilize digital technologies to augment their human resources will be in the best position to capture altered preferences and new client segments. As ever, this starts with an understanding of the definitive shifts in industry today.
Jostling for the mass affluent market
In wealth management, a ripple effect of the digital wave has been the democratization of investing. An influx of digital players lowered the barrier to access for wealth management, generating buzz around robo-advisory and start-ups at the lower end of the market. Meanwhile, the emergent transfer of generational wealth is ushering in a new client demographic—one that will largely consist of Millennial and Gen Z investors.
These shifts have translated as a mass affluent market made up of a larger cross-section of investors than ever before. And while this presents avenues of opportunities for wealth managers, incumbent firms must get to grips with the digital expectations of the incoming wealth management audience. Even established banks like Goldman Sachs have struggled to draw the attention of mainstream investors, despite an otherwise stable performance in the wealth space (Institutional Investor).
Standing before a financial climate riddled with rising inflation rates, staying competitive in a reformed wealth management landscape is no easy task. Honing in on digitally-enabled advisory services looks to be a sound investment in the expanded mass affluent market.
New client demographics, new demands
An additional layer of this demographic shift is that many of today’s investors are coming from tech and digital media businesses (Capgemini). Among this newer client base, an important pattern is the evolution of interests and value orientations. Because many are digital natives, the expectation for advice that covers crypto currencies and digital assets is steadily becoming more prominent.
What’s more, the zeitgeist of responsible business has increased the demand for sustainability scoring in the investable assets, among both individuals and corporate clients. Now that startups and specialist digital platforms are catering to these profiles, established firms should be willing to expand and refine their service offerings.
CX disruption to meet changing client expectations
When it comes to wealth management client experience, the solution isn’t quite as simple as migrating each interaction into the digital realm. If client-centricity is truly the objective, digital capabilities should be the means, not an end in itself.
In fact, the experience of external shocks throughout the pandemic created a double-sided effect. It accelerated the nascent demand for digital services, but it also reinstated the value of human interactions. In the context of wealth management, the personalized aspect of clients and financial advisors relationships remain indispensable.
For one of Unblu’s major wealth advisory customers, the ability to combine digital capabilities to support individual client journeys has been vital in upgrading online interactions. Having previously faced challenges with the integration of various CX platforms and tools, implementing Unblu has provided a platform of connected features that enhances the quality—and continuity—of client-advisor interactions.
Within the current CX climate, multiple touchpoints are vital for serving clients on their terms. Through an integrated omnichannel approach, wealth management journeys give clients the autonomy to engage with financial advisors at the necessary step. Only by crafting hybrid experiences can firms expect to meet their clients where they are, with several channels available to access advice at any time.
Stand-out client experience means transforming with the industry. By taking cues from their clients and anticipating the demands of emergent ones, firms will affirm their relevance in an increasingly saturated market. With digital developments permeating the industry in every sense, wealth advisory players should think carefully about how they will locate, then leverage the available technology to foster high-touch, human experiences.