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In the first article in our wealth management series, we examined how the role of digital in a changing wealth management landscape can optimise customer value.1

We now look at five use cases across the areas identified – hybrid advice, customer journeys, personalised experiences, changing customer demographics and data – to demonstrate how businesses can practically apply digital to drive more client-centric outcomes.

USE CASE 1: FINANCIAL PLANNING

Hybrid advice: Balancing ‘high tech’ and ‘high touch

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Fig 1: Financial planning process

With a conventional human-centric model, the end-to-end financial planning process is managed by relationship managers using less mature technology. The plan is put together based on an understanding of the client’s financial goals and reviewed periodically (usually quarterly).

With a hybrid model, a relationship manager uses advanced digital tools to provide greater planning insight throughout the process, including:

  • data-driven scenario modelling, offering increased flexible planning at a faster pace
  • linking external accounts to produce a plan that considers a client’s holistic financial picture and life circumstances
  • real-time systematic tracking of progress towards goals, available to clients anytime and anywhere
  • personalised product recommendations, facilitating cross and up-selling.

Successful adopters of hybrid advice models will understand how and when to blend human and digital, as well as which client segments and personas will find the blends most meaningful.

Use case 2: CLIENT ONBOARDING

Simplifying customer journeys

The onboarding process can consist of more than 50 steps, including completing forms and compliance checks, providing signatures, conducting suitability assessments and risk profiling. It’s complex and is consistently listed as one of the biggest areas of dissatisfaction for clients. In fact, over half of wealth managers are concerned about dropouts during onboarding and 16% see this as a top-level threat to business growth.2

Traditional onboarding requires printing documentation, paper signatures and scanning. Know-your-customer and anti-money-laundering requirements mean some parts of the process end up being duplicated, leading to wasted time and effort.

In comparison, digital onboarding includes:

  • virtual ID verification
  • automated compliance checks and screening
  • electronic signatures, reducing the number of steps to return signed documents (as well as the need to have hardware at home)
  • automated suitability assessments and risk profiling.

Digital tools can also extract client data captured during onboarding and allow it to be reused for setting up new products and services, reducing additional work and duplication. The case for digital change will become increasingly compelling as post-pandemic working within the industry continues to embed.

Use case 3: Marketing and Communication

Personalising experiences

Personalisation is a powerful tool for delivering customer value. Deliberate and relevant omnichannel content goes a long way towards developing customer loyalty and advocacy. According to recent Gate One research, “being obsessed with customer insight in the pursuit of delivering more personalised experiences” is a key pillar needed to create a more customer-centric business.3

Digital wealth applications can use client preferences and demographic data to deliver more memorable experiences to a range of client personas, in the form of:

  • relevant news articles and industry trends
  • investment updates and portfolio analysis
  • educational information and learning modules
  • new product and/or service updates.

These can be delivered through unified digital platforms (market leaders include InvestCloud Inc, Doxim and Broadridge’s AdvisorStream). Enhancing capabilities in this context will help firms overcome the longstanding challenge of delivering bespoke outreach at scale.

Use case 4: CLIENT PROSPECTING AND ACQUISITION

Managing the changing customer demographic

The growth of mass affluence and the perennial intergenerational wealth transfer has meant that firms must proactively manage changing client preferences to stay relevant. Digital client prospecting and acquisition capabilities are powerful ways to reach and engage with prospective clients quickly and deeply.

Firms can automate the prospecting process using digital accelerators to quickly identify high-value leads and segment their preferences using large volumes of data. Examples include Wealthpilot’s ‘WOW-Effect’ product,4 Broadridge’s Smart Insights,5 InvestCloud Digital Communication6 and WDX Engage.7

Other benefits include forecasting how profitable these prospects could be and predicting relationship tenure. This is particularly relevant when targeting Generation X and for high earners that are not rich yet (HENRYs). The time that’s freed up for relationship managers because of this approach means they can focus on other value-add tasks, such as strengthening existing client relationships.

Use case 5: DATA CENTRALISATION

Unlocking the value of data

Studies show that if firms transform their IT infrastructure and store their data centrally, up to 80% can be reused throughout their organisation. And yet 45% of wealth firms are making little or no progress towards this.2 Outdated infrastructure makes data hard to source, store, manage and analyse. Data quality is a challenge, with multiple versions of the truth existing across different systems.

Building a central data repository enables more powerful analytics to be extracted from a single source. The data can be reused across functions for core processes, to create economies of scale and increase efficiency. It’s worth noting that robust data governance and master data management principles should be in place to avoid ongoing challenges. Holding customer data in a future-proof and secure, central database also reduces the risk of cyber-attacks.

Future considerations

There are some exciting and compelling digital adoption examples within the wealth management industry. Firms should consider these when developing their transformation plans, while also recognising that successful execution isn’t always straightforward. In our next article in this series, we’ll share our top tips for successful transformation in this context.

Alex Cossor

As trusted transformation partners in the financial services sector, we can support your organisation to overcome complex change.

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