The New Era of “Social Wealth Management”
It is a brave new world, though not everyone saw it coming at such a fast and furious pace. Two years ago, an Oracle survey revealed that two thirds of worldwide executives felt that social networking would have little or no impact on their business. And this was thought to be particularly true with wealth management firms, whose best clients – top producers and investors, are the older generations who were believed to be slow in adopting new trends. But no more! The time has come as we witness a massive transfer of wealth from baby-boomers to Gen X and Y. Thanks to the younger generations’ entrepreneurial success in capitalizing on social media innovations, the golden generations are following their lead to become increasingly active with social media and the latest digital technologies.
EMC Consulting recently conducted a comprehensive analysis of the wealth management and brokerage industry marketplace – reviewing the competitive landscape as well as technology platforms and tools to garner a better understanding of the overall consumer technology trends. Our research validated that many firms have in fact already realized the significance of new channels to better service their clients including:
- Increased use of mobile technology and social media platforms;
- Increased spending in online products and services to meet needs of increasingly tech savvy clients;
- Increased spending on client reporting tools to improve transparency and client satisfaction.
At Morgan Stanley, financial advisors can use LinkedIn to communicate and connect with their clients. Conversely, Ameriprise Financial enables a consumer to use LinkedIn to find advisors connected to the people he or she knows. Bank of America Merrill Lynch recently provided 1,000 iPads to selected advisors for a mobile pilot. Asset manager PIMCO demonstrates its thought leadership with daily tweets on big economic themes.
Firms that are slow to adopt these new digital channels are being hurt; they are missing out the opportunity to harness the power of new ways to reach the ever growing Twitter/Facebook generation who has a high bar in terms of expectations around interactive customer services, rich user experience and mobility.
It seems that wealth management firms who favor the socially visible technologies (e.g, online and mobile, search, data and communication) are likely to be more successful than their more traditional counterparts. The changing nature of the wealth management business leaves firms and advisors with few choices but to quickly adapt to compete in this new era.
However, what is the optimum approach? Focusing aggressively on developing social media technologies to better serve customers, or taking a balanced approach of building underlying technologies including a service-oriented architecture that holds the potential to enable faster innovation, greater efficiency, and new revenue channels?
It is a brave new world, but no one has written the playbook…Yet!
In my next blog, I will further examine the major technology initiatives in areas relative to web services, e-commerce and FA desktop tools that will empower firms and financial advisors to prosper in this newfound consumer information revolution.