Faced with arguably the biggest wealth transfer in history, as the ‘Baby Boomer’ generation pass on their money to their children via inheritance, wealth managers are increasingly pushing to find ways to digitise their businesses and meet the demands of ever-evolving client demographics. Client communications, underpinned by an agile digital marketing strategy, are central to this.
Although the significant intergenerational passing of wealth is inevitable, the idea that it will all happen smoothly and at once is entirely unlikely, and somewhat of a myth amongst financial circles. Indeed, the “you only live once” mindset of Baby Boomers, their lavish spending habits and tendency to spend their wealth rather than save it and pass it on to future generations, means any inherited sums are likely to be small, fragmented and received by a wide age range of customers.
This leaves wealth managers in a quandary. While digitisation could be pivotal to onboarding the next generation of Generation X and Millennial clients, firms must not lose sight of the broader demographics they continue to serve. Remaining agile in how they plan and execute their digital strategies, therefore, is fundamental to meeting evolving customer needs.
While the preferred communications channels may vary between different generations – from digital to traditional – above all today’s customers want a seamless, personalised experience across all channels. Firms looking to provide better client service are increasingly turning to new technology to foster better engagement and deepen relationships across all customer demographics.
A technological evolution
The rise of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in financial services, as well as similar Machine Learning and data analytics technologies, promises to alter the very foundations of the wealth management industry, enabling reps to maintain consistent contact with their clients by automating daily tasks.
However, though such digital transformation can significantly improve the odds of success for the industry, especially as they seek to serve a broader range of clients, for established organisations the pressure to digitise business models and products comes with its own challenges.
Cost, new entrants to the market creating competition, and a lack of internal awareness or communications across departments are just some of the challenges for digital implementation. While McKinsey research has also revealed that the average digital transformation will deliver lower-than-expected revenue 45% of the time.
For financial corporations, convoluted IT frameworks and legacy IT systems often fail to provide the adequate delivery infrastructure to support cloud-based services like AI and data analytics, which play a vital role in providing individualised communications across mobile, digital, social media and print technologies.
The upside is leveraging technological innovations such as AI – when combined with the right know-how and expertise – can propel wealth management firms to deliver a genuinely positive customer experience.
A cohesive eco-system
A cohesive eco-system, underpinned by agile leading-edge communications technologies, can enable financial organisations to leverage advanced journey mapping techniques, using relevant, existing data to generate highly engaging, personalised messages – and, perhaps more crucially, a customer experience that endures.
Such systems provide the foundation to support the design, management and delivery of personalised communications, on-demand across the entire customer journey, and this can complement old existent legacy infrastructure.
Indeed, the latest systems can effortlessly integrate with legacy systems, resulting in slicker processes that improve the flow of information internally and eliminate operational silos, while at the same time creating simplified and seamless transactions for customers.
By making operations more efficient, organisations can reduce costs and lower the risk of non-compliance, while providing consistency in messaging and brand image.
A transforming sector
An estimated $68 trillion of wealth is expected to move between generations within the next 25 years as the ‘Great Wealth Transfer’ takes effect. In an ever-shifting industry landscape, this intergenerational passing of wealth could prove the catalyst for investment management firms worldwide to begin the transition to more agile, digital strategies.
As the pace of change continues to accelerate, and technology reigns supreme across the financial services sectors, wealth managers need to find ways to digitise their businesses and make bold decisions to cater to evolving client expectations.