Future of Wealth Management is relationships not transactions, new research finds

by | Sep 19, 2023

·   Wealth clients want multi-channel relationships – as 95% of clients reject chatbots

·   Wealth management staff will need new skills – to support and complement deployment of more technology

A new report from Simplify Consulting, the practitioner-led consultancy in the wealth management industry, lays bare the challenge facing wealth managers as they gear up for the great transition: clients demanding multi-channel relationships, staff requiring a new skill set, and a massive increase in the use of technology, as the industry moves towards the AI-driven metaverse.

The report, “Making waves: exploring the future of wealth operations,” has been compiled following interviews with 10 leading UK wealth operations professionals and a survey of more than 250 wealth management investors.

The report argues the future of wealth management will see:

1.       Multi-channel wealth management

·         Across all ages, 95% prefer human interactions over machine ones, leaving just 5% favouring automation or chatbots. Older respondents simply want to speak to humans and younger people trust humans to solve problems quicker than robots.

·         58% of under 34s see social media as an important communication tool, compared with 12% of over 65s.

·         Traditional channels remain vital: 61% of all respondents want paper correspondence, 66% of over 65s indicated email is ‘very important’, and 78% of all respondents want direct contact with the person or team that can support them.

2.       Employees will need different skills

Once, the typical wealth management offering featured call centres staffed with young graduates.

This is unlikely to work in future – with some firms having already repealed the offering.

The new, multi-channel model demands well-trained, skilled and professional agents with good communication skills and high emotional intelligence.

With 74% of survey respondents saying customer services is a differentiator when selecting a provider, it is clear that wealth operations departments will become a crucial source of competitive advantage.

3.       Technology moves to the metaverse

Some 73% of clients in the survey want more access to professionals, services delivered with greater speed and at a convenient time to the client. 

This 24/7 model requires blockchain – enabling providers to share data in real time and make fund settlement periods of four days, and other lengthy legacy processes, a thing of the past.

Beyond that, the industry will move to the metaverse, a virtual shared space where people can interact, work and engage together – giving clients more human access, through virtual channels.

Carl Woodward, co-founder and director at Simplify Consulting, commented on the survey results: “If the wealth management industry wants to change with the times – and everyone agrees it has to – and thrive, it needs processes that focus on relationships, not transactions.

“It still uses processes that are decades old. But it now needs the operational infrastructure to deliver a 24/7, multi-channel experience to the widest demographic it has ever served.

“In the past, wealth managers could be content with a relatively narrow demographic. Now they must serve more people across a much wider range of age groups through different forms of communication. Each age band has its own preferences – such as more social for younger clients, more email for older clients – but wealth managers must master them all.

“This means a sea change for the people who deliver wealth management: better skilled agents, especially with greater emotional intelligence; and operations staff ditching repetitive tasks and focusing on detailed oversight and technology configuration.”

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