Maintain momentum in technology adoption to empower advisors and increase relevance

Every year, Wealth Dynamix CEO Gary Linieres asks the leadership team to reflect on the past year and share one piece of advice for wealth managers looking to differentiate their service offering in the year ahead. The post below is the response from Francois de Lescure, Managing Director Southern Europe.

With focus reverting to revenue growth in 2021, wealth managers must increase the impact of touchpoints to secure new business.

For the majority of wealth managers, 2020 forced attention onto business continuity and cost reduction, as Covid made its mark. Getting to grips with remote working, upgrading technology to enable new capabilities like eSignatures and ensuring that anxious customers were reassured took its toll. With so much time and money spent on client retention, and less opportunity to progress early-stage prospect engagement, pipelines are likely to be under pressure in 2021.

Failure to view advisors as your most important assets in 2021 could significantly impact revenue growth. For a sector so heavily entrenched in nurturing personal, face-to-face relationships, the knock-on effects and longevity of remote working has created unprecedented challenges. Moving forwards, wealth managers must place greater emphasis on addressing brand equity and embracing technology to create differentiation.

Three key revenue-accelerating initiatives that you can undertake in 2021 – rather than trying to implement an all-encompassing digital transformation project that could take months if not years – are:

Empower experienced advisors to be more productive and enable new recruits to become advisors earlier in their careers

With every generation, technical competency is rising and expectations that advanced technology will be provided to ease everyday work are high. When these expectations are met, wealth managers can reduce manual administration, generate next best recommendations automatically and create more time for client conversations.

Newly trained advisors can become self sufficient sooner because they have fewer systems and administrative tasks to master, and their next best actions are guided by automatically generated, data-driven insights as well as the advice of colleagues. Such empowerment enables wealth managers to attract and retain the best talent, because daily work becomes easier and conversion rates rise, which is a win-win for all stakeholders.

Accommodate the shifting communication preferences of clients, to increase convenience and build trust.

Technology and Covid have dramatically impacted the way we all communicate. Communication is becoming increasingly digital. But with so many channels available to us it is crucial that wealth managers respect the preferences of each client, to avoid being considered “difficult to do business with” – especially as wealth transfers from one generation to the next. Each client may have different communication preferences for each kind of activity, which is equally important to understand.

With Covid, many clients who would have preferred face to face meetings in the past now favour video or phone, and this is unlikely to revert in the future. With wealth managers now serving several generations, the right blend of digital and personal communications must be offered to strengthen client relationships.

Remain current and engaging as the ‘great wealth transfer’ kicks in

Although younger generations – which are set to inherit $30 trillion of wealth in the coming years – rely on technology and the experience of peers for all manner of advice and recommendations, their need for financial advice is now apparent. While 62% of millennials believe they have high financial knowledge and 68% claim to be good at dealing with day-to-day financial matters, in a 2020 TIAA Institute study only 19% of millennials demonstrated high financial literacy. ”GenXers don’t fare much better, with industry estimates showing struggles with spending and saving habits among large swaths of this generation. To acquire new clients wealth managers must find new and innovative ways to engage with these generations.

Interest in gamification is rising, but whatever the technique or channel, technology is the only way to monitor preferences and engage effectively with those whose inheritance will reach titanic proportions in the 2020s.

In the end, while healthy cost-to-income ratios ensure profitability, new clients and healthy revenue growth are needed to ensure long term stability and success. The need to empower advisors and communicate with clients is nothing new. What is new is the need for wealth managers to continually monitor shifting requirements and expectations, and to leverage technology to gain the agility to succeed.

This post is an extract from the e-book ‘5 ways wealth managers can get ahead in 2021’. Download the full e-book below.

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With a passion for data and B2B software solutions, Francois contributes to private banks transformation by enabling digital customer experience and behaviour prediction. Francois has over 20 years’ experience having worked closely with many of the leading names in the industry.

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