Is your wealth management firm still relying on one-to-one interactions and product-led advising? If so, those days are over. The wealth management landscape has changed dramatically in recent years, forcing firms to evolve quickly or risk losing business to a growing number of competitors. Today, I want to examine the key trends that are shaping this new reality and what steps your firm can take to chart a new path.

What’s changed?

  • Competition is more intense than ever. Your firm is facing competition not only from other wealth management firms, but also from new digital portfolio competitors, including Wealthfront and Betterment, and non-financial players. Even Google is trying to get in on the action.
  • Regulatory compliance is more challenging than ever. Increased regulation regarding fraud prevention and fiduciary responsibility are constantly changing the rules of the game.
  • Millennials and women are more important than ever. By 2025, career-minded, tech-savvy millennials will account for almost three-quarters of all income by 2025.[1] At the same time, women’s earning power and wealth ownership continues to rise.
  • Consumers want transparency and control—and they don’t want to pay a fortune for it. In short, the digital generation expects wealth management to meet the same kind of service standard that’s been set in education and consumer goods.
  • Digitalization is here to stay. Consumers expect collaborative wealth management relationships that are enhanced by digital technologies. It’s time to go digital or risk falling behind.

What can you do about it?

This new environment demands a new business model—one that provides customized and holistic advice, offers low-fee investment options, and supports digital access and collaboration. Getting from A to B is never easy—and your firm’s path might look much different than others—but there are a few important first steps that apply virtually across the board.

  • Explore how you can add unique value to advice-based experiences. Is it with wealth transfer workshops for families, or a loyalty program? What can you offer that’s different or do better than anyone else?
  • Determine what a hybrid advice model looks like for you. What are the relative strengths that set your human advisors and/or robo-advice services apart? What’s the best way to serve each of your major client groups?
  • Identify opportunities for digitalization. Think beyond robo-advice services here to onboarding and branch-specific tools that will give you a big bank for your buck.
Read the report.
  • Start thinking in terms of “advice” rather than “products.” That may require breaking down internal siloes, or at least collaborating on solutions.
  • Take a good look at your advisor workforce. As millennials and women become an increasingly important part of your client base, it’s important that your advisors reflect that change and can relate to the evolving needs of those they serve.

It’s an exciting time to be in wealth management. The steps your firm takes now will likely have lasting consequences, so take stock of your options. If you’re interested in discussing your organization’s strategy one on one, contact me directly at kendra.thompson@accenture.com.

For more on the emerging wealth management landscape, read: Future of Wealth Management

[1] http://www.cafamerica.org/generation-g-the-millennials-and-how-they-are-changing-the-art-of-giving

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