The wealth industry is changing. There’s no doubt about that. According to the recent Wealth and Asset Management 4.0 study, firms now expect up to three-quarters of their interactions with clients to be conducted digitally within two years, whilst 40% of investors themselves view being granted digital access to services as a priority going forward.

But what does this mean for the client-adviser relationship? How can financial planning and wealth management firms adapt to this rapidly shifting marketplace?

Our research suggests the key to success lies with embracing the added value that advisers are uniquely placed to provide – namely, a holistic approach to helping clients achieve their overall life goals and sustained financial health.

First, let’s explore the market trends driving this need.

  • Clients want more choice

We already know that a significant minority (around 39%) of investors look to their chosen firms for goal-based financial advice. And the data suggests this will rise within the foreseeable future, with the industry anticipating a roughly 10% increase in demand for retirement, next-generation succession and real-estate investment planning advice over the next two years.

As a result, the evidence indicates firms that widen their portfolio of products – and thereby offer more choice to clients – are well positioned to outperform those that don’t in years to come.

  • Investment in new digital channels is paying off

Financial planning is currently seeing the most rewards from digital investment, with over one-third of firms reporting a high ROI during the 2021 study.

And that’s no surprise given the growing expectation among investors for more personalisation. Firms should leverage advancements in digitisation to offer a more bespoke journey.

Put simply, this means offering a greater number of solutions while also ensuring it’s provided via channels that are convenient for them. For example, a massive 89% of investors have singled out mobile apps as the channel set to become their preferred medium of interaction over the next two years.

  • Investors still value the human touch

While the rise of hybrid human-digital advice solutions allows firms to widen their offering and reach new markets, the benefits of a strong client-adviser relationship are still apparent.

The demand for a more holistic product and service offering means a personalised approach is needed – moving away from static demographic details that might consign a consumer to the ‘mass-affluent’ or ‘UHNW’ box. After all, an individual’s needs vary throughout their life – so the more we can ask ‘where are they in their journey?’ rather than ‘who are they on paper?’, the more nuanced and high quality the final advice will be.

And that’s not all. Approaching the advice process in this way – where each individual is a moving target with evolving needs – will also encourage more robust fact finding as advisers will be less tempted to bring pre-determined ideas to the table based on demographic data or stereotypes.

Instead, the onus will be on firms to offer the widest possible set of options alongside personalised advice, ultimately empowering clients to make an informed choice that fits their situation.

Knowing why a holistic approach is so important, let’s look at what you need to get there.

  1. A client-centric culture

Optimised client outcomes will need a more profound cultural shift in the way firms approach the advice process and client relationships. And it will inevitably take a clear and focused culture strategy to make this approach stick in the long run.

That’s why it’s so important that senior management leads by example and champions a people-focused, purpose-led business strategy motivated by achieving the best possible outcomes for clients.

See how we can help you improve your organisational culture.

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  1. A robust compliance framework

While the financial advice industry might be moving towards a digital-first approach, there are still some unique regulatory challenges surrounding this – relatively – new advice model.

Understanding the regulatory environment, including the distinction between advised and non-advised transactions, will be key to navigating the future world of wealth while, at the same time, ensuring the right outcomes for your clients and protecting your business against unnecessary risk

Speak to our advisory team to discover how levelling up your compliance processes could unlock commercial benefits.

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  1. Supercharge processes for greater efficiency

Investors and regulators alike expect more from their advisers in terms of fair treatment and transparency. At the same time, compliance budgets are being squeezed more than ever. Automating as many of the manual, administrative compliance task as possible is in your best interest.

Whether you want to supercharge your business assurance with faster, more efficient case file reviews, or manage your ongoing SMCR obligations the smarter way, we can help you.

Find out how we’re enhancing our compliance solutions with smart RegTech to bring you more efficient, better value support.

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