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Survey: wealth management way behind digital trend

Wealth management is one of the least tech-literate sectors of the financial services industry, and is falling well behind non-financial services industries, according to a PWC report.

Expert Investor


Francis Nikolai Acosta

Only one quarter of wealth managers globally offer digital channels beyond email and the digital strategies currently offered in the wealth management sector are sharply at odds with what HNWIs expect, the report said.

Yet, wealth management firms often seem to be oblivious to their technology inadequacies, according to PWC. “Some even overestimate their firm’s digital capability, rating it digitally sophisticated, when the only service offered to clients is a website,” the report said. Only a quarter of wealth management firms currently offer digital channels beyond e-mail. This means the vast majority of clients cannot view their portfolio online.

The report pulls from interviews with relationship managers, CEO’s and fintech representatives as well as a survey of 1,000 high net worth individuals in Europe, North America and Asia.

On a global scale, 55% of HNWIs surveyed believe it is important for their financial advisor or wealth manager to have a strong digital offering.

PwC said firms that embrace digital opportunities now are in a position to deliver “propositions of real and sustainable future value” which combine technological and human capital.

The growing popularity in the use of digital channels should not have significant impact on human capital in the financial industry, according to a recent CFA Institute survey.

About 70% of global respondents said engagement with human advisors for institutional investors and ultra-high net worth individuals will not be affected by the emergence of automated financial advice tools because these investors demand complex and tailored advice, the CFA survey showed.

It also suggested that peer-to-peer lending is the subsector within the financial industry that is expected to be most impacted by the digital trend.