Our latest survey, Survive and Thrive to 2025: Insights from the Wealth Management C-Level, shows how the wealth management industry remains attractive, even during a time of great industry turmoil. Over a short period, the industry has entered a much tougher environment with major volatility and uncertainty. Industry-wide transformation and digital disruption were already well underway before the COVID-19 pandemic. Our expectation is these trends should only accelerate under the current climate.

Fortunately, the past 25 years have demonstrated the wealth industry to be resilient in the face of major challenges. These have included the global financial crisis of 2008, subsequent bank rescues and mergers, progressive disclosure requirements, tougher regulations and the rise of new technology and service models. Despite experiencing significant dips, the industry has always recovered its upward growth path.

Overcoming Business Model Inertia

Given the level of disruption the industry is facing, it is surprising our survey shows that 78% of wealth managers are still not yet considering wholesale change to their business models. Also, when it comes to megatrends affecting the industry, many firms may be underestimating not just the challenges, but also the significant new opportunities that lie ahead—about $260tn of holistic personal wealth, including non-bankable assets, are at play. Non-bankable assets could include private assets—such as direct equity, residential and commercial real estate, family businesses, art and passion assets—as well as non-investable assets like life insurance and pensions. These asset types represent growth opportunities of $78tn and $68tn, respectively.

Wealth managers have a unique opportunity to deliver greater value to clients in the short term by playing a pivotal role in moderating the economic and social challenges that have been accentuated by an unprecedented pandemic. The time to act is now to demonstrate responsible wealth management in action and support clients.

Firms also need to invest in additional capabilities to grow in the long term. Technology and talent will be at the heart of this, with digitization opening access to a new breed of clients while helping to retain existing ones. The winning combinations will likely offer the right mix of automation and talent to allow firms to deliver much greater personalized client services across all segments. This opens opportunities for a more efficient scaled delivery of services to clients with lower levels of wealth who have historically been underserved.

A Stark Reality for Wealth Managers

I am pleased to introduce the findings of our latest survey conducted by Accenture and Orbium before the current pandemic began. The messages are clear and the reality stark: every wealth management firm should expect to have its business, operating and technology models fundamentally challenged in the years ahead. The survey report aims to deliver a practical framework for surviving and thriving not just today but to 2025 and beyond. The time to act and to change in order to survive and thrive is now.

For more information, read: Survive and Thrive to 2025: Insights from the Wealth Management C-Level

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