A wealth manager’s potential for success is only as good as the strength of their personal relationships. In the past, those relationships have always been cultivated in person, but as the coronavirus pandemic has restricted travel and in-person meetings, wealth managers are having to rethink how they can attract new prospects, onboard clients and manage those relationships in a digital environment.
Working closely with The Wealth Mosaic, we held a discussion as part of a research project into the ways technology can enhance the advisor-client relationship, drawing on valuable insights from industry leaders including Wealth Dynamix MD for Southern Europe, Francois de Lescure, Christian Gmünder, Head Private Client Operations & Services at Vontobel, Cyril Bouchu, Principal – Managing Director at Decisive and Loïc Paquotte, Director at Chappuis Halder.
Here are three key takeaways from the discussion on how wealth managers can step up their digital transformation.
While technology can support firms during the prospecting stage, wealth managers still view tech as an enabler rather than a replacement for human interaction. Wealth managers are skeptical that firms can develop meaningful relationships with potential clients based entirely on digital interactions, but technology can be advantageous for building trust, such as treating a prospect like a valued client before they actually become one by giving them access to an online client portal. While many wealth managers have improved their online visibility in recent years, messaging is not always consistent or joined up across those digital channels—something they need to improve. And while many firms have created partial solutions to support digital client acquisition, the current Covid-19 environment has highlighted the limitations of those solutions, increasing the need for firms to accelerate their digital transformation plans and make remote prospecting more effective.
The key with client onboarding is to make it as quick and painless as possible—if the process is slow, repetitive or too complicated, then those potential clients will simply go elsewhere. One tip for speeding up onboarding is for firms to view acquisition and onboarding as one combined process where client data can be gathered during the prospecting stage and then automated to more rapidly onboard that client. This is an area where established wealth managers need to focus their tech investment given that new entrants, who are unencumbered with legacy systems, can create more streamlined and simplified onboarding processes. Wealth managers also need to think about how to enhance this digital onboarding experience in the same way that they have made their physical receptions and meeting rooms plush and inviting. The benchmark here is not what other firms are doing, but the digital apps that clients use in their everyday lives, such as Uber.
The increase in new digital channels means wealth managers have more ways to engage with clients and add value to those relationships. This could be as simple as making communication more convenient, such as using compliance-friendly messaging apps. There is also an opportunity for firms to go beyond using video conferencing software and embrace technology as a way to improve client interactions, such as providing a live simulation of an investment proposal rather than sending it a week later via email. Another way firms can use tech to more efficiently manage client relationships is through a dedicated advisor dashboard where all client information and digital tools are located in one place. Integrating technology such as AI can also give wealth managers tailored insights and product recommendations, enabling advisors to engage with clients more thoughtfully and provide a better all-round experience.
These insights were taken from our recent webinar hosted by The Wealth Mosaic to discuss how technology can enhance the advisor-client relationship. The full webinar replay is available here: view webinar replay.
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