Changing the Client Experience in Wealth Management

With technology affecting every aspect of our daily lives, the lack of technological adaption in the Wealth Management Industry should serve a clear warning sign. In a race to obtain monopoly on millennial investors, the traditional industry may find itself quickly losing out…


The Wealth Management Industry is discovering the effects of an increasingly digitalised and technology based economy. Rapid digital innovation has caused unexpected shifts in client preference and expectations, resulting in greater client dissatisfaction in the traditional industry.

Time-poor HNWI want access to their wealth data on their terms. Companies like Amazon and Apple are offering new levels of self-service and personalisation, giving people real-time easy access. (Deloitte, 2015) In comparison, the Wealth Management Industry is severely lagging behind in addressing the changing trends client needs. This failure benefits the growth of fintech and robo-advisors, as individuals are more willing to consider less mainstream providers to manage their wealth.

Why are clients dissatisfied?

Positive client-advisor relationships are driven by client experience not performance. A paper conducted by Deloitte revealed that 76% of manager terminations were due to poor client experience. (Deloitte, 2019) Clients expect, for the price they pay, to have customised advice and bespoke investment portfolios. However, big companies use the word ‘bespoke’ to make clients feel special and in reality, have several different investment solutions that fit most clients. (Graham Harrison, ARC)

Six factors of client dissatisfaction:

  1. Client distrust: EY’s Global Wealth Management Survey revealed that 1/3 clients planned to move providers in the next three years. (EY, 2019)

  2. Poor performance: Many clients believe that their returns should be higher but have no means of assessing their performance due to lack of transparent benchmarking.

  3. Dependence: Clients worry about independence due to Advisors’ conflict of interest. Advisors push their own company’s products, on which they earn commission.

  4. Pricing transparency: Nearly 50% of clients do not trust they are being charged fairly for the service offered. The Financial Conduct Authority, revealed that costs often have no relation to investment performance. (FCA, 2017)

  5. Time management: Most HNWI do not have the time for face-to-face meetings with wealth advisors every few months.

  6. Technological gap: There has been little digital innovation despite clients showing a preference towards digital wealth management.

A changing generation  

EY’s Global Wealth Management survey shows that the clients most likely to move providers are the wealthiest and youngest. (EY, 2019) Digital-native millennials, as they enter their prime earning years, and set to inherit USD30 trillion from baby boomers, are becoming bigger investors. (HSBC, 2017) Millennials, have significantly higher expectations in communication and transparency in the Wealth Management sector compared to previous generations. They are also more attracted to the cheaper costs and personalisation of non-traditional Wealth Management services.

It is crucial that the Wealth Management Industry meet the changing requirements of clients or accept digitalised financial advice as the future. It will be interesting to see how the Industry adapts to the challenge of fintech and robo-advisers, and who ultimately retains the upper hand.

Catherine ChildComment