GlobalData Plc

Digital wealth management: not just for children

Investors young and old are turning to digital platforms for portfolio oversight. As wealth managers respond to the ever-changing demands of clients, they will do well to offer a customer experience that appeals to both digital natives and newbies.

During the Digital Integration in Wealth Management conference, Matteo Cassina of Saxo Markets highlighted that technology adoption has piqued the interest of many individuals approaching retirement, more so than is commonly believed. As they communicate with family members and even grandchildren via digital platforms, they are becoming accustomed to using technology to communicate from anywhere in the world. These older individuals are aware of the capabilities that technology affords: immediacy, interactivity, live chat and video communication, and collaboration. They know what technology is capable of providing, and as such are embracing these features when it comes to managing wealth. Older investors are happy to use digital tools such as iPads because they are intuitive and more responsive than paper balances.

On the other end of the spectrum are the digital natives. Many of the individuals within this group seek new delivery channels for existing capabilities. For example, many will never visit a physical bank branch, nor meet their wealth manager face-to-face. These individuals are accustomed to having global access, and while this affords convenience, it conditions clients to expect immediacy. To deliver real-time feedback and co-browsing capabilities, wealth managers are looking to machine-powered services.

Indeed, our 2016 Global Wealth Managers Survey shows that 38% agree or strongly agree with the statement that wealth managers should invest in automated investment services to complement their existing offerings. This is already the case with markets around the world, as our data also shows that 26% of wealth managers already offer automated investment services, and another 19% plan to within 12 months. This rise in technology uptake and market competition can be daunting for firms that want to improve the customer experience and bring digital services to market quickly. However, wealth managers will do well to ensure that no corners are cut.

Looking ahead, wealth management firms can improve the client experience by catering to the different investment needs and preferences of younger and older audiences. This starts with client onboarding, often the first experience in the customer journey. In addition to being seamless and compliant, onboarding should be tailored to the client depending on the information provided during the process. This is especially important for wealth managers with client bases that span a range of generations and investment preferences. Getting the customer journey right is paramount. At the end of the day, onboarding within three minutes doesn’t count for much if the platform doesn’t prompt for client-specific information. Wealth managers looking to ‘wow’ their clients should take the time to understand their audience to provide the traditional offerings of wealth management via digital platforms.

By Nicole Douglas, Wealth Management Analyst

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