Modernizing Wealth Management: The Technology Trends Evolving Advisor Work and Service Delivery
With clients’ needs evolving, today’s wealth management firms have to acclimate traditional services — investment advice, estate planning, accounting, tax services, and more — for a new digital reality. Wealth management leaders know the right technology is no longer a “nice to have” but a must, and are putting their money where their mouth is.
As Gartner notes in its “Top 10 Trends in Wealth Management Technology for 2021” report, “For 2021, seven out of 10 surveyed wealth firms are increasing investment on both existing and emerging technologies.” And that trend isn’t likely to slow down in 2022, as digital technology has proven to be a competitive advantage for firms hoping to streamline operations, uncover new microservices opportunities, and elevate client servicing.
Here are a few of the trends included in the report that stood out to us:
Uncovering operational efficiencies
A wealth management firm’s success is contingent on the impact of advisors’ activities. That’s why firms are examining how they can update the solutions fundamental in advisors’ arsenals, including advisor desktops, portfolio management, CRM, market data, client life cycle management (CLM), and more.
With an ‘anything antiquated must go’ mindset, firms are looking at how emerging technologies can unlock new operational efficiencies. As the Gartner® report states, “The majority of surveyed wealth management firms (63%) are adopting, replacing or upgrading their advisor desktop technology, creating an opportunity to incorporate emerging technologies to better support revenue-generating activities.”
The report adds, “The importance of supporting advisors via technology solutions is exemplified by the fact that a strong majority intend to increase spending on this technology over the next two years, with some increasing spending by more than 7% (see Figure 2).”
The right technology doesn’t just expedite advisor work, it also helps make it more meaningful by creating more room for high-impact and strategic activities. As the Gartner report notes, “Firms have an opportunity to aid advisor productivity and support a focus on higher-value activities by integrating and automating many of the functions currently found in advisor-supporting technology.”
In order for agile work to be the most effective, solutions need to be scalable, which is where the importance of APIs and microservices comes into play. The report states, “Futureproof advisor technology projects by looking for vendors that are taking an API and microservices-focused approach and are open to cloud deployments to support scaling and integration with emerging technologies.”
Dynamic duo: APIs & microservices
“Not only are firms opening up APIs to a larger number of participants to ease integration and creation, but also they are beginning to focus on microservices,” the Gartner report notes.
Strategic API deployment is key for building a seamless and flexible microservice architecture, which relies on the creation of single-function modules with well-defined purposes that make wealth management services feel unique. The Gartner report notes, “APIs and microservices are trending because as wealth managers try to remain relevant by expanding their advice offerings beyond those handled by roboadvisors or other retail-focused competitors, it becomes even more important to be able to serve clients holistically.”
Client collaboration reigns supreme
Designed to “support clients who are interacting with their wealth management firms on their own or in collaboration with their advisors,” client-facing technology in wealth management often includes collaboration solutions like “mobile applications, video conferencing and screen-sharing applications,” according to Gartner. This type of technology is a necessity for fostering meaningful relationships between clients and advisors, as well as instilling a sense of trust in the firm, especially in a world with reduced in-person interaction.
“The pandemic only served to accelerate the need for a better client collaboration experience and highlighted the gaps between existing and required capabilities,” the report reflects. This divide has spawned the rapid adoption of experience-first solutions that could potentially aid with client retention.
According to the Gartner report, “A higher percentage (73%) are adopting, replacing or upgrading client-facing technologies, with the majority increasing spending over the next two years, and over a fifth increasing spending by 7% or more.”
When selecting a vendor for client-facing technology, interoperability and flexibility need to remain top of mind for firm leadership. The report recommends, “Audit current vendor capabilities to identify which existing partners may have solutions that will easily integrate to meet expectations, or which solutions will require the addition of other vendor solutions to meet client and firm needs.”
That’s where we believe a unified communications platform like Zoom comes into play.
Technology that supports a people-first approach
Human interactions are at the heart of any effective financial transaction or client relationship. Zoom helps today’s wealth management firms deliver the same trust through virtual interactions as in-person communication, driving efficiencies and allowing for relationship-building that defies the physical limits of distance and location.
Our unified communications platform — which includes meetings, chat, phone, and conference room and workspace solutions — provides the flexibility and interoperability that today’s wealth management firms require to address modern client needs and establish stand-out services. We also offer a Zoom API that allows developers to access information from Zoom to build private services or public applications on the Zoom App Marketplace, enabling financial solution vendors to develop custom solutions optimized for an evolving landscape.
By deploying Zoom as a key client-facing solution, wealth management firms can foster more meaningful work and relationships, elevating the experience for both employees and clients alike.
Gartner, Top 10 Trends in Wealth Management Technology for 2021, By Darrin Courtney, 7 July 2021
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