Wealth Management and Private Banking

15 July 2018James Goad

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Appropriate digital tools can help to build client trust and improve client engagement. Successful digital solutions need to be designed with client specific needs in mind and wealth managers must build solutions centred on these needs rather than age or demographic. Adopting the correct security measures and maintaining advisor contact are key cornerstones of digital strategy.


  • Clients increasingly expect multichannel digital solutions that allow them to access information “anytime and anywhere” while maintaining direct contact with their advisers for more complex concerns.
  • The premise “that more information is always better information” is a common misconception - wealth managers need to determine with great care what information they want to make available online.
  • Successful digital solutions need to be designed with client specific needs in mind and exposed to early client feedback.

Key issues and challenges:

  • The session opened with findings from EY research that showed that appropriate digital capabilities can drive client engagement, performance and trust. According to the research the most desired solutions include better understanding of financial goals, access to financial tools and goal based advice.
  • When designing appropriate solutions client expectations are usually segmented by age and demographics. However, this research advises to focus on client specific needs instead.
  • Roundtable participants agreed that segmentation by demographics and age is rather simplistic. One participant noted that: “the premise that younger clients want access to quick information and older clients prefer paper valuations” is outdated.
  • Clients have different needs and priorities and it is the role of the wealth manager to satisfy these bespoke expectations.
  • Clients are used to accessing information “anytime and anywhere” when dealing with service providers outside of the wealth industry and it is therefore unsurprising that they expect equivalent or better digital capabilities from their wealth managers. 
  • Delegates agreed that security is the cornerstone of any digital solution. But while security is a prerequisite, digital solutions also need to be easy to access and work seamlessly. Problems with logging in and verifying personal information frustrate clients and in turn can have a negative impact on client engagement.
  • One attendee noted that with these considerations in mind, his firm adopted facial recognition to make access to online solutions both easy and secure for clients.
  • Another important factor is to ensure that client expectations are managed appropriately.
  • One participant shared an example of an older client that went through all security measures in order to access the firm’s online platform. She said: “The disappointment in his face was immense when he realised that all he could see was one line of his portfolio balance”.
  • However, the idea that “more information is always better information” can be a common misconception.
  • Too much information without context can also overwhelm and confuse clients. One participant mentioned that they used to have a feature on their platform that assigned star ratings to various funds. While this feature was very engaging for clients, it was eliciting so many questions and confusion over investment decisions that it was soon abandoned.  
  • The expert of the session noted that collecting early customer feedback is crucial when designing appropriate digital solutions. Wealth managers can determine “the story and the way they want to tell it to their clients” but it is important to expose the solution to early client feedback and adjust it accordingly.

Conclusions and solutions:

  • Participants concluded that the winning digital solution needs to keep the right balance between online and offline experience.
  • The most desired model is likely to be a multichannel approach that allows clients to access information they are interested in “anytime and anywhere”
  • Appropriate digital tools can strengthen personal relationships with wealth advisers by allowing them to focus on value adding activities and more complex client concerns.
  • Successful digital solutions need to be designed with client specific needs in mind and exposed to early client feedback.

Expert: Fadi Souki, Solutions Consultant, SS&C