For the wealth management industry, what a disruptive year it was. We witnessed the rise of fintechs and robo-advisors, digital platforms, changing customer expectations, and the regulatory upheaval of CRM2.
It’s also pretty clear that this onslaught of rapid and transformational change is only going to continue. So as we look ahead, here are six of the major trends that we predict will impact wealth management in 2018.
1. The pervasive demand for digital.
Yes, the focus is squarely on digital and its transformative powers throughout organizations. With so many of us relying on our smartphones and the internet, we expect the same kind of easy, intuitive access and immediacy of information from our investment providers. Firms that haven’t developed and implemented a comprehensive digital strategy will be at a significant disadvantage.
2. It’s all about the customer journey.
Technology has made product offerings across firms more homogenous. Transparency has made investors more aware of what they’re paying for their investments. As investor expectations change, firms are looking for a competitive edge … and that edge is the quality of the customer experience. Savvy firms have adopted the mantra of being customer obsessed. They’re now intent on providing a consistently positive customer journey at every touchpoint, from onboarding throughout the entire relationship.
3. Regulatory pressures aren’t going away.
After all the regulatory change of the last several years, culminating with CRM2 last year, you might have hoped that the regulators would take a pause. Not so. In fact, they’re working on a number of significant proposed reforms, including a ban on embedded commissions and a Best Interest Standard, that will continue to reshape the industry. Susan Silma, Practice Leader, Client and Industry Strategy at PureFacts, gave a series of regulatory presentations recently to advisors with a Canadian bank. She asked what they saw as the biggest challenge to this industry. Overwhelmingly their answer was “the regulatory burden”. The increasing costs and challenges of compliance will continue to affect wealth management firms in 2018.
4. Intelligent data is a driving force.
The proliferation of data and its intelligent application is transforming operations and user experiences, with its reach extending far beyond predictive analytics. Emerging technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Robotic Process Automation and Cognitive Analytics are making their presence felt in wealth management. They’re starting to enable the creation of new products, improved digital experiences for customers, and the delivery of more personalized services.
5. Hybrid advisors set the pace.
Hybrid advisors that combine human and the automated wealth services of robo-advisors have caused a major shift in the industry. Robos such as WealthSimple and NestWealth have automated portfolio management and changed customer expectations around the interface. By adopting a hybrid advisor approach, human advisors are becoming more efficient, gaining market share through greater customer satisfaction, and reducing costs for their firms. As advisors are freed up to spend less time on asset allocation and rebalancing, they’re able to spend more time on customer relationships.
6. Proactive cybersecurity is the watchword.
With so much sensitive data floating around now, hackers are having a field day. Until now, wealth management firms were able to get by with a reactive approach to security threats; fixing breaches when they occurred. That no longer cuts it. To truly protect investor information and to thwart hackers, firms need to allocate the necessary resources to develop a proactive approach to cybercrime.
At PureFacts, our consulting services and custom digital solutions can help your firm solve significant business challenges. We can show you how to turn digital disruption into a growth opportunity and create awe-inspiring journeys for your customers. Our unparalleled regulatory expertise and investor insights ensure that we always deliver superior, customer-friendly solutions that are fully compliant.