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Technological, economic and demographic shifts will transform the wealth management industry by 2021, finds research by Roubini ThoughtLab.

Investors will expect new advisory and digital solutions that some advisors aren’t prepared to offer. If their new needs aren’t met, 48% of investors say they’ll switch providers.

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The research is based on a survey of 2,000 investors and 500 investment providers across 10 major wealth markets, in-depth interviews, and economic modeling. The study was produced in conjunction with BMO, Broadridge Financial Solutions, CFA Institute, Cisco, eToro, Schroders, SEI and State Street.

In the next five years, investors worldwide will expect more from advisory firms, including more customized solutions (72%), access to wider investment options (64%), greater cybersecurity (63%), and the use of the latest technology (62%). They will also demand more from personal wealth advisors: responsive 24/7 service (51%), advice that delivers high returns (40%), digital proficiency (37%), broader financial and life-planning advice (36%), and lower fees (35%).

While wealth providers are attempting to adapt, some are not as prepared as their clients think. For example, 63% of investors believe their providers are prepared to ensure cybersecurity, versus 48% of providers who say they are. Similarly, 64% of investors think their investment providers can offer options across asset classes and global markets, but 47% of firms say they are prepared to do so.

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The digital imperative is not just from millennials and the mass affluent, but from across generations and wealth levels. For example, 41% of millennials expect to have access over any device in the next five years, but 49% of Gen X and 50% of baby boomers expect to do the same. Similarly, 54% of ultra-high-net-worth investors want their investment providers to use the latest digital technology, versus 39% for the mass affluent.

The Winners: Large institutions, trusted brands and digital leaders

The research also shows that financial technology will disrupt the industry from within, unlike in other industries, such as retail, which experienced external disruption from digital startups such as Amazon and eBay.

A top priority of 59% of investment providers is to build, partner or acquire fintech capabilities. To stay competitive, most wealth firms are developing new digital capabilities, such as “anytime, anywhere, any device” access (55%).

Universal banks and mutual fund firms are more digitally advanced than other providers. More than two-thirds of these organizations have already set up in-house teams and incubators to drive digital transformation. They are also ahead in setting a digital vision and adapting products and business models, aligning the front, middle and back offices, and ensuring close coordination between IT and business units.

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Digital leaders—firms in advanced stages of digital transformation—report that last year they increased assets under management by 7.2%, profitability 6.8% and productivity by 9.4% through the use of technology. The ultimate goal for these firms is to become “omniproviders,” able to serve customers seamlessly across all channels. By 2021, 57% of digital leaders surveyed plan to be fully integrated omniproviders.

Originally published on Advisor.ca
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