28% of High Net Worth (HNW) clients plan to switch wealth managers over the next three years. This is the latest finding from the 2021 EY Global Wealth Report. Notably, they’re planning to move their money over to FinTech platforms, which enjoyed a generous boost over the 2020 lockdown period.
Over the next three years, these platforms are anticipated to see a whooping 74% increase in usage. Deloitte predicts that the US robo-advice industry alone will hold as much as $7 trillion in assets by 2025.
So, what’s driving today’s millionaires away from traditional wealth managers and into the arms of digital-first firms? Industry experts share their candid thoughts and offer strategic solutions.
“When we talk about younger people coming into the financial services space we absolutely have to talk about education”, explains Morgan Stanley’s Director and Chair of the Risk Committee, Terri Duhon. “Because it is a world full of vocabulary and it looks complex. And the fact of the matter is it really isn’t… Somehow, we in the financial services industry have really made it look as complex as we possibly can, and that’s a shame.”
Across the investment landscape, younger investors tend to feel less confident about how to reach their investment goals. This can lead to cautious investing – an unfortunate irony, as investors with longer time frames generally should be taking more risk.
Added to this tentative approach, younger investors can also suffer from short-term thinking. A concept that Head of Product Strategy for Wealth Dynamix, Dominic Snell believes should be addressed early on. “I think when people are very young, it’s really important to educate them on this idea of delayed gratification”, he elaborates. “And I think that millennials, or very young people now, they’re so used to having things very, very quickly, like immediately, and it’s actually a big problem”.
There’s no doubt that many young people will become extremely wealthy, in what’s referred to as The Great Wealth Transfer. In North America, $8.8 trillion is expected to change hands before 2030, from one generation to the next. And many will not inherit from their parents, with the benefit of family office wisdom to fall back on. They will need to rely on their own financial intuition to make the right decision. This is particularly true among Millennial women, who are becoming increasingly entrepreneurial. Today more than half of HNW Millennial women created their own wealth – compared to just 37% of HNW Baby Boomer women.
These self-made Millennials will be the first in their family to select a wealth manager. And so, without financial literacy, there is a very real threat for today’s firms that this new breed of investor will bypass advisors altogether. They could head straight to robo-advice without considering other options.
“These self-made Millennials will be the first in their family to select a wealth manager. And so, without financial literacy, there is a very real threat for today’s firms that this new breed of investor will bypass advisors altogether.”
One way to overcome this hurdle – while also doing a good social deed – would be for forward-thinking firms to provide tools and games to improve general financial literacy. “Financial institutions and perhaps even technology, and even apps and games, if they can start to teach people [about] investing and waiting for that delay of gratification, that could actually help”, explains Snell.
HSBC’s Head of Business Management for Customer Channels, Roohi Gupta agrees, “What wealth tech can actually do is allow us to teach customers about the concepts – because let’s be real; wealth investment is a very overwhelming topic for somebody who’s not from this industry”.
Gamifying financial concepts is relatively straightforward solution. And it could prove to be the most cost-effective investment wealth managers will ever make. It would help to build loyalty from an early age, with positive brand associations with a new generation of customers. Most importantly, explaining the differences between – for example, active and passive management – could help steer potential clients away from robo-advisors and towards traditional firms.
Women are more likely to switch wealth managers than men. While there are many reasons for this, perhaps the most obvious is because the wealth products women are offered are rarely built for them.
“All the financial space at least until recently has been built for men”, elaborates Luc Haldimann, Founder and CEO of financial software provider, Unblu Inc. In a recent BCG survey, 63% of female respondents felt that their wealth manager needed to improve its value proposition. There’s an ongoing issue within the investment industry, where products created for men are being re-packaged with marketing designed to attract women. Like spray-painting an apple and calling it an orange. But recycling products which suited a by-gone generation will not work. What’s needed are a suite of new products, intentionally built for the fresh wave of HNW clients. According to Haldimann, the best place for portfolio-builders to start focusing their efforts would be on this ever growing segment of wealthy women.
“I believe the biggest group of underbanked people are women today”, he reveals “There is a huge shift of wealth to women in the next five years – I think the majority is going to be women”. Haldimann is not wrong. Women today hold more than 32% of the world’s wealth, make up 15% of Ultra HNW clients, and those figures are rapidly compounding. By 2023, women are expected to hold $93 trillion.
Every woman is different, of course women cannot be treated as a homogenous group of investors. But there are some characteristic trends firms should prioritise. For example, 64% of women will factor environmental, social and governance (ESG) criteria into their portfolio. And this becomes more of a priority as their wealth grows. For some, this could mean a high allocation towards climate mitigation, while for others it could involve greater exposure to women-owned businesses. Using data collected by machine learning programmes and personal interactions, managers could build a range of different portfolios, better suited to female preferences.
What’s more, firms could also benefit from providing more detail when it comes to investment opportunities. “It’s not that women are more risk adverse from our research”, explains Haldimann. “It’s they want to know more details; they want to understand what they’re doing more”. These extra details, it turns out, are a huge part of why women make better investors than men. A study by Warwick Business School found that women investors research investments more thoroughly, leading to 1.8% higher returns than their male counterparts.
“Women are more likely to switch wealth managers than men. While there are many reasons for this, perhaps the most obvious is because the wealth products women are offered are rarely built for them.”
But it’s not just women who need more details and new investment products. “I think this applies not just for women, but also for younger people – millennials but also generation Z. People want to understand more”, explains Haldimann.
Senior Vice President at Northern Trust, Nina Jones agrees that this characteristic blend of detail-orientated ESG investing will continue to thrive. “I’m excited by, the engagement of investors in their own financial affairs, particularly with a focus on ESG”, she explains. “I think that this is going to be a huge force for good in the global economy over the coming decade”.
As women become more recognised as value-adding investors, other previously side-lined groups are coming to the forefront too. The 2021 World Wealth Report highlighted the plight of LGBTQ+ investors. A meagre 41% of whom felt that their wealth manager understood their unique needs.
Breaking out of the straight, white, male Baby Boomer box is essential for wealth managers looking to future-proof their offering. New investment products and marketing must be designed with the full spectrum of today’s investors in mind. The first step to this journey is collecting client data, which can be easily gathered and presented into reports with analytical technology.
“The two big boxes to tick in terms of ultimate experience are simplicity and convenience”, explains Jones. “[Across] digital transformation in the rest of the world, particularly the retail sector, leisure sector, those are the two things which time and time again have proved to be successful”.
This, according to Jones, is one of the major differentiators between Millennials and their Baby Boomer parents. “Millennials have proved that convenience trumps privacy, possibly because there is a generation of people who’ve grown up without that expectation of privacy”, she explains.
Convenience is one of the most important features that will make a product stick over the long-term. A century ago, people moved away from the individual local stores their families had been visiting for years, in favour of the supermarket. Convenience wins over the long-term, even if it means sacrificing loyalty.
“Across the panel, all the experts agreed that technology has an undeniable role to play in creating more convenience and simplicity.”
Jones puts it into perspective, demonstrating how the value of time is playing an increasingly important role in our lives. “In terms of my own consuming habits, I regularly pay more on Amazon because it saves me having to go and get the tube into town to go and buy something from a shop”, Jones elaborates. “That’s time that I’m not spending on my children, not spending doing some of the things that I would love to do. Instead, I pay more for often a less good product for something that I could go to the shops and buy.”
Across the panel, all the experts agreed that technology has an undeniable role to play in creating more convenience and simplicity. To date, 47% of Millennial and Gen-Z HNW individuals are unsatisfied with their firm’s overall digital maturity. What’s more, 50% of HNW investors under the age of 40 would like to opt for purely digital advice from their firm, with zero face-to-face interactions.
Significant life stages, such as coming into an inheritance, usually prompt clients to seek human advice. As Snell explains, it’s not the generation of the client, but rather the experiences they are undergoing which tend to determine if they’d prefer digital or human advice. “Research points to the fact that it’s not the segmentation by age that really determines whether things are adopted… that’s a slightly old fashioned way of looking at things”, he explains. “When there’s a need to have that human touch – whether that’s a life event or something else – that’s what determines whether the channel is right or wrong for that situation”.
The best strategy for wealth management firms, according to Gupta, would be to offer digital service with human intervention at key life stages. “The millennials at this point are anything between 25 year olds to 40 year olds. That’s a huge range. Some of them definitely want to self- serve, but then there’s a whole lot, the affluent millennials who probably are at the cusp of making really complex decisions where they want that human interaction”, she explains. “So, I think the key is get digital right, but also intersperse it with human interactions. Have a hybrid world”.
Jones agrees, “You can offer that flexible opt in / opt out model in a much more holistic way through using digital technologies”. Creating a seamless hybrid service could help wealth managers retain, as well as attract clients. The blend of technological and human interaction could truly combine the best of both worlds.
There is no one-size-fits-all tech strategy because wealth managers are as diverse and multifaceted as the clients they serve. However, there are key areas of focus which all firms should prioritise, such as nurturing financial literacy, inclusion, and convenience. All these areas can be accelerated and carried by technology, but ultimately, it’s the humans in charge who need to direct these goals.
If you have a vision for where you would like your wealth management firm to be heading, Wealth Dynamix can work with you to bring that ambition to life. Our team of experts provide award winning client lifecycle management tools for relationship managers. We’ll work around you to take the hassle out of data and technology, freeing up your team to focus on existing clients. And together, we can attract new HNW individuals with a cutting-edge hybrid service.
Get in touch with Wealth Dynamix today to learn more about our Client Lifecycle Management platform.
This article is an extract from the State of the Market Digital Wealth Annual Report 2021. The full report can be accessed via the AltFi website here.
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An accomplished, results-driven sales and marketing professional, Gabriel has held sales and marketing leadership positions in Singapore and China at some of the world’s most successful and respected global technology enterprises.
During more than 20 years spent at IBM, Sun Microsystems and Microsoft, Gabriel developed and implemented sales and channel strategies to support strategic business objectives.
His specialism is growing and extending sales territories to grow revenues and increase market share.
Travis combines 15 years of software delivery, business modelling and leadership experience with a passion for transforming business needs into effective digital solutions. Before joining Wealth Dynamix in March 2018, Travis led Operations for Nikon – a role which incorporated CRM product ownership responsibility and initiated over 10 years of MS Dynamics experience, from 2011 to Dynamics 365.
Since joining the Wealth Dynamix team, Travis has been instrumental in designing and delivering some of our most strategic WDX1 projects. Leading the consulting team for WDX1, he is responsible for their recruitment and development. The team’s complex remit supports a fundamental aim – to ensure Wealth Dynamix delivers the best client experience. Travis is also responsible for ensuring the WDX1 product is designed and evolved in the most adaptable way possible to drive adoption across our client base, existing and future.
An experienced, tenacious marketer, Jo joined the Wealth Dynamix team in 2021 as Head of Marketing and quickly rose to the position of Chief Marketing Officer. A Brand and Marketing specialist with a proven track record in BRB and B2C communications, Jo combines a customer-centred approach with strategic thinking.
Having held senior Marketing positions in numerous FTSE 100 businesses, including Asda Stores Ltd, The Co-operative Retail Group, plus financial services brands MBNA, OneFamily, TransUnion, The Co-operative Group, she possesses a wealth of experience in the fields of finance and technology.
Jo is passionate about activating the Wealth Dynamix brand across every channel, taking a holistic marketing approach to drive consistency, salience and thought-leadership activity.
Agustin joined Wealth Dynamix over six years ago bringing a wealth of experience in change management.
Having experienced first-hand the challenges of managing clients through change, Agu now brings that expertise to Wealth Management firms looking to leverage technology in order to help them connect more effectively with their clients.
Agu has a deep technical knowledge of our solutions that allows him to deliver our products effectively, unlocking the full potential of every feature.
As our Head of Strategic Client Relationships, Agu’s specialist expertise supports firms to become more efficient, transparent and dependable using our CLM solutions.
Juan has over 20 years’ experience developing and implementing CRM solutions and has spent the last 10 focusing primarily on the Client Lifecycle Management (CLM) in the Wealth Management industry.
Currently Head of Development, Juan is responsible on overseeing the technical direction of the product.
Before joining Wealth Dynamix, Juan has worked for Barclays, Fujitsu and Ciber delivering large scale CRM projects in the financial services industry.
Juan has a first degree in Telecommunication Engineering from Universidad Blas Pascal and a MSc in Business Information Technology from London South Bank University.
An internationally experienced change management professional, Ben is responsible for overseeing projects both internally, and for clients.
In a career spanning more than 20 years in global banking, finance and management consulting, Ben has led strategy formulation, project planning, change management adoption, business networking consultation and transformational change projects at Fortis Investments, Barclays Wealth and Investment Management and Verisure Securitas Direct. Since beginning his career at Deloitte, Ben has also amassed a wealth of experience working on complex CRM system implementations, and is a PROSCI-certified Change Practitioner and a Certified Scrum Master (Scrum Alliance).
When David joined Wealth Dynamix in 2015 he brought with him a vast amount of experience delivering large-scale Microsoft Dynamics CRM projects. As a Senior Business Analyst at Royal Bank of Scotland David managed deployments with more than 2000 users, for both Business and Commercial Banking, as well as working on key AML initiatives for RBS International. In his current role at Wealth Dynamix David supports the growth and strategic direction of client implementations in Europe. Wealth Dynamix leverages David’s product expertise to shape the product roadmap and ensure that the firm delivers solutions with the right capabilities, that will be enthusiastically adopted, by all customers.
Prior to his involvement in the wealth management sector, David worked as a waste management contracts manager, working with Multi Services Kent to ensure effective waste clearance and re-use at the 2012 London Olympics.
Since joining Wealth Dynamix in 2019, Cédric has worked closely with clients to ensure that the WDX and CLMi solutions are deployed efficiently and effectively.
In a career spanning more than 25 years, Cédric has become an accomplished business and global project management leader covering both technology and financial markets sectors. Having held various roles in private banking (front, middle and back office) and brokerages, in both functional and technical roles, Cédric has led many projects including client onboarding implementations and KYC reviews, regulatory compliance projects (including PSD2, MIFID2/PRIIPS, GDPR, CRS, Rubik) and digital transformation projects (online and mobile design and implementation).
Cédric has vast experience building and managing international project teams, having created three offshore teams in Tunisia and India, managed a 70-employee company as Deputy CEO and a startup Fintech founded to create smartphone apps.
As Director of Pre-Sales, Johnny is responsible for maintaining the firm’s pre-sales policies, methodologies and resourcing. He is also leads some of WDX’s largest pre-sales analysis exercises, conducted for a wider variety of financial services firms spanning multiple jurisdictions.
Continual engagement with existing and prospective clients helps to inform the WDX1 product strategy, roadmap and pricing.
Johnny has spent his whole career in financial technology in various consultancy and
pre-sales roles. His expertise covers the full stack of systems required by leading Private Banks and Wealth Managers, encompassing core banking solutions, portfolio management solutions, Client Lifecycle Management (CLM) solutions and more.
William’s commercial expertise in connecting technology to solve wealth management business challenges was borne out of his early career as a stockbroker, followed by a variety of Client Relationship Management and Sales roles in asset management and banking.
Having experienced first-hand the challenges of doing the job, William recognises that an unwavering focus on client service is required to build progressive and mutually beneficial partnerships in FOR the longer term. Having gained further experience working for financial technology service providers including Calastone and Contemi, he has the specialist expertise needed to identify how to leverage technology to help wealth managers connect more effectively with their clients, and become more efficient, transparent and dependable.
In addition to his role as Commercial Director at Wealth Dynamix, responsible for new business development in the UK, US and Middle East, William sits on the board of the Securities Investment Management Association (SIMA) where he is actively involved in exploring industry trends and challenges.
An experienced and accomplished specialist in CRM technology and wealth management, Dominic is responsible for defining and leading the product roadmap for Client Lifecycle Management (CLM) solutions at Wealth Dynamix. Experienced in SaaS strategy definition, Dominic formulated the development and launch plan for the firm’s cloud-based CLMi solution.
Prior to joining Wealth Dynamix in 2014, Dominic held senior positions in both RBS and Barclays Wealth and Investment Management, where he was responsible for leading enterprise-scale CRM implementation projects.
With more than 15 years wealth management and WealthTech experience he has vast expertise and insights into best practice CRM and CLM execution.
François joined Wealth Dynamix in 2020 to grow the company’s presence in France and further extend business operations across Europe and has since been designated Chief Revenue Officer, a member of the board.
Having closed several flagship deals for the company across Europe and Switzerland, today his role encompasses responsibility for new and existing revenues, recruiting, structuring and managing the sales team, plus owning the business forecast and reseller channels.
Previously, François served as Chief Sales and Marketing Officer, Executive Committee member and investor at DreamQuark, an Artificial Intelligence software startup. At DreamQuark, he secured the firm’s first recurring revenues with Tier-1 banks and insurance companies, won the Fintech of the Year award and enabled A and B level fundraising. Before that François spent almost 10 years at Nokia Networks, leading European Sales for Analytics Software.
François has an MBA awarded by INSEAD and an engineering degree from the École Centrale de Nantes.
Currently Chief Operating Officer and Board Member at Wealth Dynamix, Natalie is responsible for the strategic direction of operations across the business. A wealth and investment management industry expert, with more than 25 years experience delivering large-scale technology projects, Natalie plays a pivotal role in ensuring the efficient running of the firm and meeting key business goals.
Prior to joining Wealth Dynamix in 2019, Natalie was Head of Technology at Bridgepoint Advisers, a UK-based private equity investment firm. She joined Bridgepoint following an 18-year tenure at Quilter Cheviot, where she was Head of Technology responsible for Operations and execution of the firm’s business plan.
A wealth and investment management industry expert, Brent has more than 25 years of experience in developing front to back software solutions that address sector-specific operational and compliance challenges.
Prior to co-founding Wealth Dynamix in 2012, he was a Director at Third Financial Software, where he drove product development.
Previously, he led business development and product strategy for the wealth management division of Financial Objects.
Brent spent 13 years at DST (now SS&C) until 2007, where he was Associate Director responsible for the global product strategy of institutional front office and wealth management solutions.
He graduated from Downing College, Cambridge, with an honours degree in Geography.
With a lifetime career in wealth management, beginning in front office sales more than 25 years ago, Gary is recognised as a highly successful, award-winning executive and serial entrepreneur.
Currently CEO at Wealth Dynamix, one of Europe’s fastest growing WealthTech firms which he founded in 2012, Gary has pioneered a new approach to Client Lifecycle Management (CLM) and built solutions suited to both enterprise-scale and mid-size financial institutions.
In his early career Gary excelled in a wide variety of FinTech sales management and executive roles in the UK, Switzerland and France.
Following his tenure as Managing Director at Financial Objects, which saw revenues grow by more than 300% on his watch, Gary founded and subsequently exited from Third Financial Software after it became a leading front office technology provider.