Technology can help practitioners cope with clients who increasingly want on-demand service, as well as a close and transparent relationship with their adviser, according to a seminar hosted by a city law firm.
Wedlake Bell, along with wealth and asset management industry headhunters Syracuse Partners, hosted speakers who examined how the wealth management industry can evolve in an increasingly competitive and technology-led environment.
Denis Nagy, co-founder and chief executive of wealth manager Dolfin, looked at the fundamental changes impacting the sector, including economics, geopolitics and regulation.
He said that since the 2008 global financial crisis the wealth management industry has increased transparency and taken steps to create a more open environment. Clients are more aware of the complexities of the financial and regulatory landscape, and they want an even closer relationship with their wealth managers.
However high net worth clients “now expect a different approach to asset management. They want it to be now, they want it fast and accurate, and they want the experience to be more enjoyable,” Mr Nagy said.
He said that using technology, firms are able to enhance processes such as on-boarding, trading, investment advice and reporting. Technological innovations including blockchain, artificial intelligence and big data have the potential to deliver entirely new value to the wealth management industry.
Adopting these changes will help what is a traditional industry to survive and thrive by increasing its appeal to the younger generation, he said.
But Mr Nagy said technology is expensive, so in many cases partnering with an existing, tech-savvy wealth management platform may prove compelling.
Looking at the importance of diversity and differentiation in terms of success in the wealth management industry, Heartwood Wealth chief executive Tracey Davidson asserted that the two are essential for success.
“To differentiate is to create the best foundation for a business to succeed and that diversity in the workplace is not only a social requirement but a commercial imperative,” said Ms Davidson.
She emphasised that, “corporate culture needs to be clearly defined. It needs time to percolate and be embedded into the walls of a firm”.
She also highlighted the need for a diversified workforce. Wealth managers need to demonstrate that the industry is an attractive environment to work in, in order to employ the best employees.
She shared some of the ways her firm is working on this including: flexible working to fit around family life; holding career discussions before maternity leave ensuring that talented employees return and that mothers can maintain their career progression and place on the salary scale.
Ms Davidson stated: “A truly diverse workforce provides a variety of input, opinion and challenge that brings value to every part of your business.”
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