Ask any wealth manager who their future competitors will be and they’ll probably say one of the big-name private banking brands or a local boutique offering similar products and services to their own. They may mention an emerging robo-advisor with DIY investment tools or a professional services organisation with a wealth advisory proposition. Few would say Google. And yet from the client perspective, a search engine could be the future market leader in wealth.

In a recent survey we conducted with technology solutions provider, FactSet, Google was deemed by HNWIs to have the most exciting potential as a wealth management service. From the client perspective, Google embodies a good corporate culture; one that gives ultimate control to the user, is geared to provide transparency and facilitates efficient information management and delivery.

HNWIs believe so much in developing an information culture in wealth that they think that all parts of the industry should be geared to support it. They assert that industry regulators should be expediting transparency by ensuring firms have appropriate technology, can demonstrate client suitability and prove their investment process.

This is so important that many actually judge the credentials of their wealth management partners based on the information that they provide; for investors with wealth levels surpassing USD10 million, the quality of the investment insight they receive is the most important evidence point of a secure organisation.

Figure 1: What role should regulators play in policing the wealth management industry?


But it appears that many wealth management firms could currently be falling short when it comes to providing the information culture that clients crave.

Clients expect ongoing information management – particularly when it comes to personal data. A majority of clients want their money managers to be providing evaluations on their risk profile on at least a monthly basis. Younger clients want these more frequently still, with 30% of those under the age of 35 demanding weekly assessments and 16% a daily review.

Three in every five millennial investors also claim that they expect their wealth management firms to be screening, managing and allocating their investments in a socially responsible manner, requiring them to have a full line of sight into the environmental, social and governance (ESG) credentials of their securities. Clearly, effective information flow between firm and client is important so that clients can manage their own social credentials too.

Figure 2: To what extent do you agree that your portfolio should be managed and allocated in a socially responsible manner?


Despite this desire for data, most operators are communicating with clients on a monthly basis, regardless of whether they are discussing sensitive issues – such as risks and restrictions, updates on securities and portfolio valuations – or more general information such as market reviews. Many too have not implemented robust systems to effectively screen investments according to ESG factors.

So beware the age of information and take heed that HNWIs are increasingly demanding greater levels of transparency about the how, the why and the what of wealth management: they want to see in clear detail how their wealth is being managed, why their investments match their particular profile and what exactly their investments consist of.

And if you need any further inspiration on how to deliver this, simply search for “Google”.

To read the full report The Culture Challenge: HNWIs Vision for the Wealth Management Industry in the Age of Information, please visit: www.factset.com/smart-wealth-ebook

Thought for the week:

“It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts.” – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (Author of Sherlock Holmes)

News from the world of wealth:

Smaller wealth management firms at risk as M&A deals reach eight year high – Investment Week

New rules force closure of about 10,000 Chinese private wealth management firms in six months – SCMP

Robo wealth managers – the future or just a fad? – Spears WMS

UBS sees outflows from LatAm clients as tax regulations bite – Citywire Americas

Coming events in the world of wealth:


Annie Catchpole Scorpio PartnershipAuthor: Annie Catchpole, Senior Manager at Scorpio Partnership.

Expertise: Annie works on the research team at Scorpio and leads projects with a marketing and market insight focus. She runs a number of thought leadership programmes, which cover themes such as entrepreneurship, client experience and culture.

Background: During her time at Scorpio, she has completed a range of assignments for family offices, wealth managers and private banks, as well as a number of internal marketing projects.

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