It is fair to say that today’s consumers are accessing the internet everywhere. In fact, you may well be reading this on a tablet device as you commute to work, or on your smartphone while you wait for the kettle to boil. Once you’re finished, you might book yourself a flight, check tomorrow’s weather forecast, or take a look at your bank accounts and investments. We regularly use smart phones and tablet devices to interact with the corporate world, and the financial services industry is no exception. In the retail sector, mobile banking is firmly established and tech-savvy investors are looking for similar functionality from wealth managers.
For those wealth managers who have invested in the underlying technology, this represents an opportunity to communicate with investors through new channels, and a scalable way to offer great service. Those that have not invested may soon find investor expectations have shifted, and they are falling behind.
Alongside new communication channels, investors now have access to an abundance of readily-available market information, comment and analysis, and are increasingly self-educated on the world of investment. Review websites – including several dedicated to the wealth management sector – provide potential investors with access to easy-to-digest price and service comparisons, and social media lets them shout far and wide about the good and bad service they receive.
Defining “good service”, and determining the delivery channels that entails, can be tricky. One person’s expectations will rarely be the same as the next. Ultimately, wealth managers need to deliver on all their clients’ expectations, using the right technology, if they want to keep their clients happy. Despite some commentators suggesting otherwise, face-to-face interactions with wealth managers are unlikely to be fully replaced. Instead, most firms will look to build on their existing service offering, with online and mobile visibility of investments, and by expanding the ways in which investors can interact with the professionals that are entrusted with their money.
Fundamentally, clients have to be impressed by the service they receive. This can mean stellar and consistent returns or exemplary customer service interactions – or more likely, both. Whilst a wealth manager needs to industrialise its operations to remain competitive and provide the desired returns, to the outside world they must offer a bespoke and personal service to the individual. Both hinge on engaging the right underlying technology.
By Alan Goddard, Director, Product Management, SS&C Technologies