Futurewealth report reveals a wide range of communication tools is key to engaging global wealthy

LONDON– According to a study released by SEI (NASDAQ: SEIC), Standard Chartered Private Bank and Scorpio Partnership the world’s wealthiest1 are more comfortable with digital communications than their less affluent counterparts and have integrated them with greater ease into their daily lives.

The research, entitled The Futurewealth Report: Stepping into the Communication Age, explores preferred methods of communication among 3,477 of the world’s wealthy, worth USD1.9 million on average. It reveals that those worth over USD4 million spend 28 hours a week using digital channels compared with the 19 hours among this wealthy group as a whole.

Indeed, the wealthiest are using digital channels like email, web portals, social networking, SMS messages, instant messaging and VOIP calls almost as much as more traditional channels such as face-to-face meetings, written communications and telephone calls. They are also pioneering niche forms of digital communication. Those with over USD4 million spend nearly 5 hours a week using instant messaging compared to the 1.6 hours spent on this activity by those with net worth under USD500,000.

The report highlights that it is the world’s wealthiest individuals have a strong appetite for digital communication and they expect their financial providers to follow suit. This has important ramifications for businesses looking to communicate efficiently with their wealthiest customers. In particular, they will expect to receive information through a wide range of channels more in the future emphasising the need or a well-planned, multi-channel communication strategy when engaging with these valued clients.

“Wealth managers must not over-emphasise the importance of face-to-face contact with their most prized clients,” says Catherine Tillotson, Managing Partner at Scorpio Partnership. “Our findings show is that the wealthiest individuals want a more dynamic relationship; they want to be able to engage with their wealth provider using the same tools that they are already actively using in their everyday lives.”

The study also finds a distinct regional split with High Net Worth individuals (HNWs) in the Asia Pacific countries already spending more time on communication channels than their Western counterparts. Significantly, many more HNWs in the Asia Pacific region expect to increase their usage of digital forms of communication in the next five years than their peers in Western markets.

The report also examines the reasons behind the future growth of digital communications among global HNWs. The world’s wealthy find digital communication tools offer a wide range of benefits: they are efficient, easy to access, flexible and offer good value for money. Certain digital channels are particularly useful in a wealth management context because they are secure, personal and help with record-keeping.

  1. The wealthiest of the Futurewealth survey respondents are defined as those with wealth over USD4 million.

By contrast, the more traditional channels of communication, such as telephone calls, face-to-face meetings and written communications tend have particular advantages, for example, providing visual contact or a personal connection.

“The second Futurewealth report reinforces the important role technology plays in the communication habits of the wealthy,” says Al West, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of SEI. “These studies show us which communication tools the wealthy are using, how they are using them, in what capacity, and importantly, how wealth managers need to adapt and evolve to meet their expectations.”

Detailed Findings 

The wealthiest of the sample are the most active communicators all round, spending 43 hours a week on communication tasks. This compares to the 30 hours spent on communication by the group as a whole.

Among the respondents, 35% expect to use digital channels of communication “much more” in five years’ time, compared with 26% who expect to use traditional channels “much more”.

This trend also applies to their financial relationships. With a five year view, email and secure web portals will become increasingly important channels of communication between the world’s wealthy and their wealth managers. Financial professionals also need to be mindful that wealthy clients see instant messaging, SMS, social networking and VOIP calls as “distinctly evident” in their future engagement.

Once again it is the wealthiest respondents, those worth over USD4 million, who have the highest expectations for digital delivery from their service providers. They are the clients who will be demanding more advanced forms of communications from their wealth advisors in the future.

There is also a geographic variation which shows that Asia Pacific HNWs are more communicative than those in the West. Those HNWs who live in the Asia Pacific countries already spend more time on communication tasks than HNWs in the Americas and Europe across all channels.

Looking ahead, more than half (56%) of Asia Pacific-based respondents plan to use email much more in five years’ time compared to just 41% in the Americas and 33% in Europe. Almost half also plan to increase their usage of web portals, social networking and instant messaging in the next five years as well. Indeed, those in the Asia Pacific region are already highly active social networkers spending over four hours hours each week on social media sites, which is an hour and a half more than their Western counterparts.

The research also finds that Asia’s millionaires expect much more digital and non-digital communication in their financial relationships, meaning their wealth managers should review systems and structures to ensure they are communicating effectively with the world’s fastest growing community of HNWs.

This report is the second in a four-part series of studies as a component of the larger Futurewealth Project, which aims to better understand the ambitions and consumer attitudes of the world’s up-and-coming wealthy. Each report focuses on a different aspect of the theme of how technology and digital communications can be used to engage the next generation of wealthy. The next report will focus on Helpful Investment Technology looking at what wealthy technology customers expect from their financial provider.

For more information please contact:

Sebastian Dovey

Managing Partner

Scorpio Partnership

T: +44 20 7811 0120



Catherine Tillotson

Managing Partner

Scorpio Partnership

T: +44 20 7811 0120



Dana Grosser~

Corporate Public Relations

T: +1 610 676 2459





  1. In total, 3,477 individuals took part in this fourth global poll of the Futurewealthy. The average level of wealth among these individuals was USD1.9million.
  1. Geographically, 46% of the sample group live in Asia Pacific, 25.6% live in the Americas, 27.1% live in Europe and 1.3% live in other countries around the world. 65.3% are employees and 17.9% are business owners.
  1. The research covered four topics, the second of which has been included in this paper:
  • The digital habits of the Futurewealthy
  • Communication habits
  • Helpful investment technologies
  • Digital marketing
  1. The research was conducted using an online survey. Participants were identified using profiling techniques to determine their likelihood of qualifying as Futurewealthy candidates. They were contacted directly by email.
  1. The research was conducted by Scorpio Partnership in collaboration with Standard Chartered Private Bank, and SEI.
  2. Scorpio Partnership is a pioneer in the art of translating the complex needs of wealthy clients into practical, innovative and profitable solutions to target these customers. This award-winning firm has interviewed almost 10,000 millionaires and billionaires worldwide to collect opinions on what they will need next. With this knowledge, the firm has implemented strategic research, practical consulting and business innovation projects in over 35 countries.
  3. Standard Chartered Private Bank is the private banking division of Standard Chartered. Headquartered in Singapore, the Private Bank provides exciting career opportunities to over 1,200 employees including around 470 relationship managers globally. It has 22 offices including two trust offices across Asia, Africa, Middle East and Europe.
  • The Private Bank has grown strongly since its inception in May 2007. On top of its strong organic growth, it acquired American Express Bank in 2008, through which it has further improved its capabilities.
  • The Private Bank leverages the natural strengths of Standard Chartered: A heritage of over 150 years in international banking, an international network across more than 70 countries, and strong local presence in growth markets. This puts the Private Bank in an advantaged position to build and deepen the relationship with its clients.
  • Standard Chartered Private Bank’s strong growth and rising industry leadership has been recognised by the industry: major awards that the Private Bank has won include the “Best Global Private Bank” award at the Wealth Management Awards 2011 organised by The Financial Times and Investors Chronicle; “The Best Private Bank in Asia” and “The Best Private Bank in India” awards by The Banker in 2011; and the “Outstanding Private Bank in Asia Pacific” award at the annual Private Banker International Global Awards 2012, which the Private Bank has won four times.
  1. SEI (NASDAQ:SEIC) is a leading global provider of investment processing, fund processing, and investment management business outsourcing solutions that help corporations, financial institutions, financial advisors, and ultra-high-net-worth families create and manage wealth. As of September 30, 2012, through its subsidiaries and partnerships in which the company has a significant interest, SEI manages or administers $448 billion in mutual fund and pooled or separately managed assets, including $195 billion in assets under management and $253 billion in client assets under administration. For more information, visit