Technology at T3: Integrated client needs and customer experience

The evolution of technology in wealth management can be a little dizzying, especially for a financial services industry that still holds firm to its belief that face-to-face advisement is the best way to serve customers. Especially when you consider that most millennials – today’s new high net-worth individuals (HNWI) – judge the strength of a wealth manager based on the firm’s digital offerings, according to a CFA Institute report from two years ago.

That hasn’t changed.

Instead, it serves as a reminder that FinTech disruption is less of a blaze and more of a slow burn, continuously changing the way wealth management firms attract new business and serve established clients. Something to keep in mind as we make our way through the T3 Enterprise Conference in October.

Keep your eyes on the future

Two more trends, referenced in CFA’s 2019 Trends Influencing the Future of the Investment Profession report, are sure to be top of mind for T3 attendees:

1. Customers want products that integrate client needs

The report headline reads: “The appetite for solutions investing and integrating greater client needs,” as a source of potential disruption and future change, but what it is really saying is “customer experience is vitally important.”

How so?

We’ve beat the drum about customer experience becoming the key differentiator among brands over the next few years, overtaking both price and product. In fact, 67 percent of general consumers are content to pay more for an exceptional customer experience, according to Salesforce.

That makes every interaction with clients a chance to win or lose future business. Or, as CFA says, this client desire for solutions investing “will affect all aspects of the professional/client relationship, including leveraging technology and data, better understanding and engaging customers, and tailoring and implementing portfolio construction based on client needs.”

2. Technology will inform portfolio construction – but don’t forget the human touch

Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning will play more of a role in overall portfolio construction, reads CFA’s report, with 21 percent institute member respondents saying it is their firm’s top tech priority.

More interesting, though, is CFA’s focus on people-plus-technology models. Or what the institute calls “AI+HI” – the “HI” standing for human intelligence.

“For certain interactions, the combined model adds more value than either component alone because it leverages the benefits of both,” the report reads. “We cite ethical orientation, transparency, communication, empathy, tacit knowledge and trust interaction as the key human elements that technology cannot (yet) reproduce.”

That last statement circles all the way back to customer experience and client relationship building. Technology, then, including AI, is meant to build an environment in which the human element can better thrive professionally. What we’ve always called the transition from low-value tasks, like manual data entry, to high-value tasks, such as using that data and personal knowledge of client needs to best serve the customer.

Where do we go from here?

Changes in the wealth management landscape — including clients’ demographics and expectations, as well as the emergence of agile competitors — will continue shaping the industry in the years to come. In five to 10 years, the role of wealth managers as we know it will be significantly different.

Long-term success — and indeed, survival — will depend on how organizations respond to the digital wave. Wealth management firms that have invested in digital technology are already seeing returns in the form of higher client satisfaction, which will translate into loyal customers.

Implementing a powerful content services platform is a good first step in realizing this vision — as well as for immediate, measurable gains. Giving employees access to the information they need, when they need it, results in faster and more accurate service, which in turn improves the customer experience.

It would be a mistake, however, to think that technology can replace the value of personalized advice and service, or that customers of the future expect everything to be remote and online. The future of wealth management is more personalized than ever, if organizations can realize the vision of digital innovation complementing and enhancing their offerings.

Want to learn more about digital transformation? Download our ebook Overcoming the challenges of digital transformation in wealth management.

Going to the T3 Enterprise Conference? Make sure you stop by Hyland booth to continue the conversation.

Bryan Boynar

Bryan Boynar

Bryan Boynar is Hyland's global solution marketing manager for the financial services industry.

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