Wealth Management is changing dramatically. The first post of this series has demonstrated how revenue growth is enabled by modern platforms. The second will take into account the perspective of a changing client base, and it will discuss how to deliver the right customer experience to these clients through a modern platform.
Demographics and change in generation
Change in generation of wealth holders is approaching – both due to an older generation passing on its wealth, and a younger generation seeing the fruits of their work. This younger generation has different expectations regarding transparency of decisions on their portfolio; they are also more self-directed, tech and social media-savvy.
These clients will not be content with a service which is opaque to them – many want to understand the structure of their portfolio, and also the impact their investments may have externally. This demands for a new, more transparent customer experience – providing informed clients with capabilities to perform deep analysis of their portfolio, “what-if” scenarios and advanced risk and performance measures – which has to be delivered through a platform.
These analytical capabilities overlap with those required by the advisor and will result in an increasing alignment between the client and advisor front-end.
Furthermore, digital research platforms allow self-directed research into markets and products. Audio-visual and gamified content makes complex topics transparent and raises client maturity.
As a result, the dynamics in the relationship between client and advisor will change, facilitating a co-creative conversation on the portfolio in a flexible interaction model.
Transforming the advisory processes
In the last decade, the wealth market has become bifurcated: the lower end of the market moved to funds and standardized portfolios, while individual portfolios, which are more expensive to maintain, tend to be reserved for the UHNWI segment.
This leaves an “advisory gap” in the mid-market. It is targeted by fin-techs and fast-moving competitors deploying robo-advisory technology to service their clients better and more effectively.
Embracing these techniques allows wealth managers to provide a more customized service for a broader range of portfolios, widen their client base. Integrating these approaches with an effective, industrialized end-to-end process results in considerable operational cost savings, driven by effort for processes ranging from portfolio setup and rebalancing to client reporting, breach notifications and documentation.
Figure 1 Effective time to construct an investment proposal
At the same time, it provides significant increases in effectiveness in a hybrid or purely personal advisory model: Firms expect it to shorten the time to prepare client meetings considerably (Figure 2). Furthermore, being able to share draft investment proposals with the client can result in material time savings for both parties.
COVID-19 and the change in interaction models
Private banking and wealth management are traditionally relationship-based and tend to focus more on personal advice. In fact, clients clearly prefer in-person interaction for complex transactions.
Figure 2 Client preferred interaction channels by complexity
However, COVID-19 has disrupted the notion that “personal” is synonymous to “face to face”. Complementing physical meetings by embedded video and audio functionality and co-browsing has proven a time-saver both for clients and advisors. Electronic signature and digital identity solutions enable onboarding and transaction closure without exchange of physical documents. Modern platforms integrate these interactions in an intelligent way at every step of the process, allowing to get in touch with an expert exactly when it is required, without the need to meet or to set up a phone call. Clients and advisors acknowledge the benefits of a more diverse range of interactions, and they are likely to stay.
Client Onboarding and Digital Identities
This use of digital signatures is only to expand. Digital trust platforms such as Adobe, DocuSign, InfoCert and Namirial enable legally binding contracting without the disruptive need to exchange physical paper. Progress in government-issued digital identities, such as those embedded in German ID cards, together with the evolution of the legal framework, will further increase security and legal enforceability.
However, there is a broader opportunity for banks. By becoming the centre of a digital trust network enabling other providers such as retailers to leverage their trust infrastructure, they can capitalize on the effort invested in establishing client identity in the KYC process, and find new value streams.
Platforms should be well-integrated with digital signature workflows and digital identities to enable both seamless customer experience and effective operations.
Pricing based on assets under management has been criticized as being insensitive to outcomes to clients. In response, asset managers have introduced outcome-linked fees. Despite conceptual challenges in such an approach, platforms should support this fee model as well as provide the capabilities to reflect future fee models.
The wealth management industry has the opportunity for considerable innovation of client experience, benefitting both customer outcomes and its own bottom line. This requires wealth management platforms to provide new capabilities in areas such as integration of robo-advisory tools, video and audio communications and digital identities.
The next part of this series will review how product innovation can be enabled by platforms.
 Source: Building fully integrated digital advisory platforms. Key insights from Deloitte's European WM advisory survey December 2021 – Swiss WM COE – Authors: Patrik Spiller, Christoph Künzle
 MonitorDeloitte 2017, Innovation in Private Banking & Wealth Management