Like many others, the investment industry is dealing with significant changes driven by digital, social, and economic factors. The pandemic accelerated some of these influences, while others have gradually evolved. One trend shaping our future is online customer interaction. In a business traditionally built on face-to-face contact, Covid proved that it was certainly possible for wealth managers to liaise with clients remotely. Since then, there has been a lot of focus on keeping online communication channels open. This is absolutely vital. However, there is a much broader picture to consider. If firms want to thrive in a new era of wealth management innovation, the sector as a whole must embrace a holistic approach to digitisation.
Investors are calling for personalisation, democratisation, and transparency. And pressure to meet these demands is mounting fast against a backdrop of high interest rates and economic uncertainty. Satisfying expectations requires innovative thinking and the clever use of data to deliver customer-centric experiences tailored to the individual.
Wealth management may have been relatively slow to adopt digital transformation, but we can learn from segments that have advanced faster to facilitate a smoother transition. One is healthcare, where the benefits of digitisation for both clients and industry professionals are clear.
Putting Investors In The Driving Seat
Healthcare had to harness digital technology as part of the immediate response to Covid, but the sudden shift also helped to address longer-term dissatisfaction. Even pre-pandemic, care pathways were not cohesive and too little attention was paid to improving the patient experience.
The gap was especially apparent at a time when lifestyle brands were investing heavily in digital tools to deepen connections with customers as they moved seamlessly between channels. With technology being used to create comprehensive journeys and hyper-personalised services in sectors such as retail, patients were becoming frustrated, and health outcomes were being jeopardised.
As innovators from technology, telecom, and consumer industries entered the healthcare market, they recognised that patient portals weren’t doing enough to streamline multiple touchpoints and consolidate massive amounts of data – all of which would help put the patient in control. That’s when the digital front door was developed, engaging patients at each stage using everyday technology. It gave people a gateway to their care that was clear, convenient, and accessible.
Investors want to be in the driving seat of their financial future in a similar way. Wealth management client portals are far from delivering a holistic view of an individual’s financial wellbeing independently of where and what those investments may be. As end-to-end care pathways have emerged, we need a digital front door that allows us to create comprehensive wealth pathways that federate identities, and unifies Know Your Customer (KYC) and Anti-Money Laundering (AML) processes, connecting all of a person’s assets in a single-pane-of-glass solution.
A consolidated view of data also means we can move from focusing on products to concentrating on hyper- personalisation of wealth pathways and customer outcomes. It will allow wealth managers to develop bespoke risk profiles and custom portfolios aligned with investors’ Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) preferences and structured for their personal values, based on a customised 360-degree picture incorporating different facets of their personal life.
With so much to consider, rapid transformation can be overwhelming, which is why no entity, regardless of their size, should expect to digitise systems and processes alone. Savvy healthcare providers saw that ground-breaking innovation could only come from successful partnerships. Similarly, it’s important for the wealth management firms to keep an open mind and be on the lookout for synergies. Competitors can also be valuable collaborators, and it’s better to move forward in a stronger position together rather than risk losing your place in the market.
Making Wellbeing A Strategic Focus Through Technology
Integrating new technologies isn’t only about elevating client experiences; it’s fundamental for employee wellbeing. In healthcare, there is the concept of clinical decision support systems (CDSS). This data-driven software is designed to improve healthcare delivery, supporting clinicians in complex decision-making processes by ensuring they have the right information to improve patient outcomes.
As a result, healthcare practitioners get more time to spend with patients helping them to make informed choices about their care. As these systems became more widespread, they had a significant positive impact by reducing the time it took to properly understand a patient’s needs at a specific stage in the care pathway.
It also helped to improve the overall patient experience by reducing misdiagnosis, side effects and potential drug interactions early, which in turn provided better peace of mind for medical workers. Of course, improvements can still be made, which will happen as technologies and processes evolve.
In wealth and asset management, we have the capability to develop wealth decision support systems, which will provide the same type of benefits as clinical decision support systems. Applications that analyse financial data to provide real-time impacts on a client’s portfolio, show how decisions and recommendations align with investor preferences, and minimise risk will certainly reduce stress and improve work/life balance.
Meanwhile automating repetitive manual tasks, like analysing numerous data points to provide the best investment options, allows client managers to focus more on cultivating customer relationships.
We can also unlock further potential in areas by leveraging the power of technology and generative Artificial Intelligence (AI), enabling us to simplify the personalisation of investments and eliminate cognitive bias from investment decisions. We’re seeing examples of this already with the rise in robo-advisors or using ChatGPT for personalised customer communications – new possibilities are emerging all the time.
When we look at the biggest stress factors, KYC/AML, risk management, impact analysis, rebalancing, tax management, market volatility, and governance are all very high on the list. A digital-first approach will help to alleviate these stressors, resulting in a healthier, more productive environment.
It’s an exciting time for wealth and asset management firms that are willing to leave their comfort zones and integrate digital capabilities to keep pace with change. In an environment where innovation and collaboration are crucial, Industrial Thought Ltd. is committed to working with the industry to develop effective strategies, so companies can stand out from the crowd, deliver superior experiences for investors, and build a legacy of innovation and collaboration that will benefit future generations.
We believe that by working together, we can deliver exceptional experiences for our clients, our industry, and our planet which will pave the way towards a more sustainable, equitable, and prosperous world.
First published in the PIMFA Spring Journal 2023 on 22 June 2023.
By Nuno Godinho, Group CEO of Industrial Thought Group