People, partnerships and preferences: how digital paved the way for more human wealth management

It’s no secret that digital innovation has raised the bar for consumer experiences. The demand for 24/7 services, omnichannel offerings and seamless interactions are common threads across every industry, and financial services are no strangers to continuous CX disruption.

In retail banking for instance, there are suggestions that tech’s Big Four will soon descend on the traditional financial ecosystem (Saïd Business School). Certainly, now that payments happen almost exclusively in the digital realm, it doesn’t take a stretch of the imagination to see how lending and mortgages may eventually become the territory of BigTech.

For now, the wealth management space remains populated by incumbent banks and traditional firms, but it’s a slightly more crowded room than before.

Opening doors for digital natives

With the influx of new players such as robo-advisers and wealthtech startups, the digital realm has opened doors to non-traditional wealth advisory clients. Equally, the booming technology and media industries have produced clientele who are digital natives. The inevitable result is an increasing demand for digitally-delivered wealth management services—and experiences that are as innovative as they are informative.

These digital-native audiences are also displaying an appetite for environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG)-focused wealth advice. As a result, sustainability scoring specialists are resonating with impact-conscious investors, including individuals and corporate clients. Since this is a relatively new area of competency, major firms are seeing a need to partner with ESG specialists to keep pace with demand.

The missing piece of client experiences

With so much hype around data-powered and digital innovations, it’s easy to see how some have fallen into the trap of believing future-proof CX means going all-out on automation. Certainly, there are elements of the wealth management client journey that work well when digital takes the lead but this is not a hard and fast rule. In fact, most clients crave the kind of personalised interactions they once got when they’d meet their advisers for coffee.

The ongoing impact of Covid-19 has only reinforced that sentiment. It did speed up the shift towards remote services, but the pandemic also revealed what happens when tech is used at the expense of client-centricity. Without a human-focused counterweight to digital wealth management, the personal core of the human-adviser relationship all but disappeared.

On top of that, the security implications of digitally delivered wealth management represent a very real threat for clients. With cyberattacks on the rise, firms must be empathetic to client concerns about the safety of their investments. As an issue that has both its roots and remedy in technological innovation, moderating clients’ security concerns will require something more: the human touch.

Prioritising the personal

In their advancement of digital channels, wealth firms must consider how they can augment the human components of their services. This usually starts with an omnichannel, hybrid engagement strategy that gives clients multiple routes through their journey, allowing them to mediate between low and high touch interactions. Whichever way they choose to engage, one thing is constant. The personalised aspect of the client-adviser relationship remains indispensable.

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