We interviewed Alessandro Tortelli, Solution Practice Manager, on the wealth management industry, how it's changed, how it will continue to change in the future, and what factors are influencing this change.
Information technology (IT) is definitely a major disruptor for wealth management firms, but I see digitalization as part of a wider phenomenon: the dynamic disaggregation of the industry.
We can observe this disaggregation on many fronts. Businesswise, banks are looking for increasing specialization to position themselves more competitively. Governmental regulation adds to this. As progressively complex fiscal regimes coexist in different jurisdictions, banks are turning to external service providers to reduce their compliance burden.
At the same time, data is becoming more distributed across the value chain. The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has triggered a debate about customer data ownership. Regardless of the precise legal implications, it's become clear that banks no longer own all the data they use.
What does this mean for private bankers and wealth managers?
Disaggregation means that it no longer makes sense for banks to provide all services from A to Z by themselves. Instead, they need to view themselves as enabling customers to meet their financial goals. To do so, they must collaborate with their partners to increase value throughout the customer journey.
The Roubini Thoughtlab study states that investors want to manage their money in the same way they now shop, socialize, communicate, and learn. Do you agree?
The new generation of investors certainly comes with a new technology mindset. Nevertheless, investors are mainly concerned about the performance of their assets. What makes them different from previous generations, though, is the degree of involvement and personalization that they ask from their client advisor, across all channels. Digitally savvy investors, like consumers, want to play an active role in decisions concerning their assets.
Does this mean that wealth managers should seek new forms of customer engagement?
Yes, through both personal and digital channels. This will deepen their customer insight while offering the investor a broader channel choice.
You mentioned greater customer insight. How does this fit in?
By asking themselves, which interactions are most important for my customers? These are the "moments of truth" they need to prepare for.
Can you give examples of some "moments of truth?"
One common moment of truth is the first meeting with a prospective client. The advisor should have gathered enough data about them and show a holistic understanding of their profile and needs.
Another example is the activation of the investment portfolio. The advisor needs to anticipate the right moment and be ready to seamlessly execute the customer's demands.
Lastly, every time the advisor gets in touch with a customer represents a "moment of truth," as it's an opportunity to renew and deepen the relationship.
How does Appway support wealth managers in this?
Appway orchestrates all internal and customer interactions across different channels and all along the customer journey. To do so, we integrate with all relevant IT systems and applications, including external services.
Through this integration layer, we capture and process customer data systematically and continuously, in line with the bank's service strategy. We evaluate this data in real time, thereby supporting all process stakeholders, including client advisors, compliance, operations, and the customer.
Wealth managers stay abreast of the client's changing needs and the latest compliance status. Their effectiveness in managing dozens or even hundreds of high net worth individuals is markedly improved.
How do you counter disaggregation in the industry?
Compliance is a continuously rising concern. How is this reflected at Appway?
Compliance is an integral part of any Appway solution. A set of business rules defined by the customer guide all data gathering and analysis; these rules can be expanded, applied globally, and refined with the degree of granularity required in a local context.
But banks shouldn't profile their customers only to make the regulators happy. Here's a short anecdote that explains further: A Google manager requested KYC customer data from a private banker and the astonished banker said he couldn't give him access to this information. The Google manager replied, "That's a pity. That data is worth gold, and you're only digging for copper."