Digital platforms to consolidate and automate the investment process are slowly gaining ground in Asia, but there is no ‘silver bullet’ and advisers will still play a role.
Alex Ypsilanti, Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder, Quantifeed
Steven Seow, Head of Wealth Management, Asia, Mercer
The wealth management industry continues to debate the extent of the influence of online and digital tools in changing the investment process and product selection.
Indeed, the focus for many players is how far to consolidate and automate these aspects of the business.
Retail-focused offerings are more likely at this stage to see disruption, believe practitioners, although private banking is less impacted than fintech proponents might want to believe.
What’s needed overall, it seems, is greater clarity over what robo-advice is and its real potential to impact the entire investment function – not just the distribution component.
Despite the influence of technology, however, banks, brokers and insurance companies are probably still best placed to win in this new age, despite social media and e-commerce platforms as the ‘big-tech’ threats.
After all, believe industry players, the traditional financial institutions have the all-important customers, data and product.
The upshot is perhaps most likely a hybrid model – with a growing proportion of investors preferring a digital-pus-human approach.
A key trend is also the emergence of the ‘wealth-care’ age – moving from HNW to the masses, from pushing product to solving problems, and from channel-led to client centric.
At the same time, machine learning will gain greater prominence to help deliver on goals such as clients being more interested in the performance of the entire portfolio with a view to longer term goals – as well as the new expectations that everyone has: outcomes rather than product; customisation over segmentation; transparency not opacity; convenience instead of delays; simplicity in the place of complexity; and engagement rather than isolation.
This is all part of having a relationship based on ongoing value, not on transactions.