Introduction: Trends in wealth management: Great(er) expectations
A burgeoning ‘mass affluent’ segment and unprecedented transfer of wealth is presenting the wealth management industry with a once-in-a-generation level opportunity, but some traditional processes and practices will have to be reimagined to seize it.
In this issue of Perspectives, Thoughtworks domain experts outline the changes needed for wealth managers to meet client demands for more seamless, digital-driven services, better access to new asset classes, and experiences that deliver trust, purpose and transparency together with growth.
Emerging markets power global wealth expansion
Source: Credit Suisse/UBS
i. Wealth managers under pressure to deliver customized, and frictionless, client experiences
Delivering products, insights and services that are personalized to the client’s needs as they evolve through different stages of the wealth and life journey, consistently and at scale, is key to attracting the new generation of investors while keeping costs in check.
In pursuing this, traditional wealth managers can strike a careful balance between providing standard options for self-service that inform and engage the investor, but also human perspective and carefully tailored solutions to support critical decisions.
“Wealth management firms and traditional advisors have built trust over the years and therefore retain a significant competitive advantage. What they are struggling with is building a digital offering that can bridge some of those other gaps.”
Technical Director for Financial Services, Thoughtworks
ii. Closing the loop: Empowering wealth management advisors through data
High-quality data and digital resources throughout the client lifecycle contribute to advisor as well as client experience, by ensuring the leads and insights that advisors need to foster long-term customer relationships and thrive in their jobs are readily available.
GenAI in particular has the potential to reduce the research and administrative burden involved in the advisory role, and by contributing to satisfaction ensure wealth managers retain key people in a tough talent market.
EU AI Act: Approach to control high-risk systems
iii. Roadblocks on the digital and personalization journey
When pursuing digital transformation, wealth managers often lose sight of the need to focus first and foremost on the basics: creating a foundation of credible, integrated and accessible data, and a firm definition of what value looks like for the business.
Any technology implementation has to serve these goals, and incorporate a change management process that re-orients the organization and key roles around driving outcomes for the customer without compromising security or governance.
“Most firms have the financial resources to start transforming, but if other elements don’t change with it, they won’t get the results they’re striving for. It’s not just about technology, it's also about the culture – what is the firm’s appetite for experimentation, how are teams organized for rapid iteration and testing of MVPs in the market, and to what extent are training, communication and driving buy-in and new tool adoption made part of the change journey?”
Principal, Digital Transformation and Operations, Thoughtworks
iv. How the wealth management industry is gearing up for innovation
Having a platform that serves as a basis for efficient product development and data-driven decision-making positions wealth managers to meet demands that will only grow in the years ahead, whether for more sustainable investment options, access to a wider range of alternative assets or more transparent fee structures.
While complexities and the expectations of customers and advisors will always have to be balanced with the need to manage compliance and risks, digitalization promises a more resilient, responsive and democratic industry for advisors and investors alike.
“The power of data and AI really comes in when you're leveraging data not just at one particular point of recommending something to the customer, but at every stage of the customer lifecycle.”
Principal Consultant, Wealth Management and Capital Markets, Thoughtworks
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