We cannot begin this Ultra article without referencing the UK referendum. We will be producing a more fulsome analysis on this next week. It is still far too early to know exactly what the vote means in the context of wealth management and private banking broadly. We’d be delighted to hear from you about what you think the ramifications will be for the world of wealth. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org with your thoughts.
This past week saw Source Media’s In|Vest conference in New York. Hundreds of industry professionals gathered to share their thoughts, insights and experiences with financial technology (FinTech) in wealth management. Two days of speeches, panels, demos and sales pitches all supported the general consensus: FinTech platforms hold real opportunity to drive future growth in wealth management and change the client experience (CX) for good.
The M&A markets seem to agree. Over the course of the last year a series of deals has sent tremors through the industry.
Figure 1: Timeline of wealth managers acquiring FinTech platforms
These deals show that FinTech’s future in wealth management is bright for two reasons. First, they signal that established operators are committing to a digital future – suggesting that wealth managers and private banks are still looking to cut costs and scale their online presence, heralding a fresh round of automation across the wealth management value chain.
Secondly, it could mark a change in the distribution of FinTech solutions. Whereas in the past many FinTech firms were delivering their services directly to the end-investor, these acquisitions and partnerships suggest that the route to market for these innovators is by distributing their solutions directly to other wealth businesses. As a result, wealth managers which could not afford to develop their own engaging digital solutions, can now access many FinTech-developed tools, affordably and a-la-carte and all to benefit of their HNW clients.
So what does this mean for investors and client experience?
Using digital solutions, wealth managers can now capture, store and analyze far more client data than ever before. Log-in and trading activity can be monitored with real-time alerts, emotional profiles can be constructed by advanced language software crawling through written text like emails and social media posts, and software can even predict the likelihood of a client experiencing a major life event in the near-term. But to what extent will all of this new data help firms holistically manage the client experience?
We recently surveyed a number of Chief Marketing Officers to better understand how they use client data to drive improvements in the client experience and their businesses more broadly. We found that even CMOs with large, complex, and well-funded client tracking programs often struggle to find the right analytical tools to drive strategic improvements in the client experience.
Despite all the client data firms have access to; many CX programs are very basic and do not link client feedback with other datasets to create actionable insights. While the proliferation of digital solutions across wealth management is a positive development, client data alone is not enough to drive improvements in the client experience.
To start with, internal client experience scores should always be understood in the context of an external benchmark. Most providers in our industry boast of high client satisfaction scores, so prioritizing improvements is not a matter of knowing how high your scores are, it is about knowing how you score relative to your competitors and critically where you could do things differently or better.
Firms can also yield valuable insights by comparing client engagement with advisor engagement. Polling advisors and clients helps firms identify gaps between what clients say they want and what advisors think they want. Bridging those divides improves the client experience, raises satisfaction and engagement scores, and helps firms retain more client assets.
Most importantly, firms should always consider the link between the client experience and financial performance. There is a trade-off between advisor productivity and client satisfaction, and understanding how your firm compares to peers is the best way to prioritize improvement initiatives (Figure 2).
Figure 2: The Final Frontier – Productivity vs. Client Experience
Without the proper market context, Firm D may consider investing in CX improvements. Relative to their competition, however, Firm D’s CX scores are best-in-class. Overlaying client experience scores with advisor productivity rankings makes clear that Firm D’s real improvement opportunity is around raising advisor productivity.
This is an exciting time in the industry. Emerging tools and technology provide a significant opportunity for wealth managers to better serve their clients and grow their businesses. But firms trying to manage the whole client experience will increasingly notice a gap between the data they need and the data they get from their platform providers. As wealth management steps into the digital age, Scorpio Partnership is happy to help firms mind the gap between the data and the platform.
News from the world of wealth:
You already have the tools you need to beat robo – (Financial Planning)
Millennial investors warn wealth managers to go digital – (Financial Times)
Global HNW wealth could surpass $100 trillion by 2025 – (Value Walk)
Thought of the week:
‘I took the road less travelled, and that has made all the difference.’ – Robert Frost, American poet
Coming events in the world of wealth:
Author: Joseph Ebin, Manager at Scorpio Partnership.
Expertise: Joseph focuses the key performance indicators at wealth managers, and in particular, the linkages between performance, reward, and the client experience.
Background: Joseph joined McLagan in 2013 where he was responsible for data management and analytics relating to wealth management performance and reward. Since joining the Scorpio team Joseph focuses on performance, reward, and client insight.