Over the past two plus years, the wealth management industry has experienced considerable change, and the wealthtech space in particular has been a key driver of transformation when it comes to how wealth management firms and their financial advisors support clients, process business and grow.
A great deal has happened in the wealthtech space since our last T3 Conference – which brings together leaders across the wealthtech, wealth management and venture capital spaces – concluded in February of 2020, just before the global pandemic made its way to our shores.
While the pandemic has been a human tragedy, it has also driven accelerated transformation of certain trends that might otherwise have taken years – if not decades – to come to fruition.
From virtual meetings, to tech-enabled remote work, to digital onboarding, to name but a few trends, technology is front and center to the future success of wealth management businesses.
At the invitation of Wealth Solutions Report – and in advance of the 2022 T3 Conference, which will be held from May 2 through May 5 this year in Denton, Texas – I’m honored to convene a special WSR wealthtech roundtable.
I’ve connected with attendees who will be at T3 this year about the tech trends they believe will be most crucial in redefining the wealth management space in 2022 and beyond.
Wealthtech Roundtable Participants
Thanks to the following experts for sharing their views:
As the list of fintech providers continues to grow, so does the desire for wealth managers to obtain more data. But as wealth management firms continue to adopt more technology, they often become inundated with the data that comes with it. Arguably, most businesses are drowning in data – this is where the phrase “too much of a good thing” applies.
More data is not always more useful. Disorganized, siloed or out-of-date information creates compliance concerns and hinders a firm’s ability to make informed business decisions.
As a result, we see wealthtech trends continuing to focus on data, particularly through the lens of treating it as a live asset with a full lifecycle. This means new technology and innovation aimed at improving data collection and storage, driving data-based decisions, as well as enabling the people and processes to create a culture of positive data management within firms.
At the T3 Conference, I want to awaken the industry to the possibilities available through better technology. Finding a technology that is purpose-built for wealth management, with capabilities tailored to financial firms and curated experiences for your team member’s different roles, will empower your team to gather business intelligence in a unified environment – a technology that powers more possibilities.
The most important wealthtech trend is serving the point when advisors and clients connect digitally. This moment is when value is determined. Both advisors and their clients want the experience to be simple, delightful and secure. Every wealthtech tool must work together seamlessly to create that moment and advisors should be able to implement it without any coding ability.
Consider the detailed effort any advisory firm takes in real life to curate their client experience. Wealthtech is evolving to reflect that same amount of care and service.
The digital space with your client should be like your physical space: Your onboarding should be as easy as walking through the door of your practice and signing a document, your client portal should be as appealing and comfortable as your client lounge, your digital communication should be as personal and available as you are in the office.
Our research and product development feedback show RIAs see the greatest return in tech that boosts the client relationship, even more so than gaining office efficiency. So after two years, I’m looking forward to meeting advisors again at T3. They’ve been our inspiration, and key to our recent CRM transformation.
The pandemic sparked unprecedented M&A activity across the industry. To avoid bearing the burden of these mergers, RIAs attending T3 should have their eyes on two things: data and service.
Do you own your data, or does your vendor? If your vendor undergoes M&A, can you still access your data? Data impacts client service, operations and valuation, and can be a key to conducting a smooth transition. Unfortunately, not all custodians and technology providers enable access to data in the same way.
When evaluating prospective providers at T3, ask the tough questions. Make sure any potential partner would offer your firm access to your data when you need it, and in a format that you can easily leverage.
In addition to data policies, RIAs should take the time to evaluate how prospective custodians and technology providers approach service. Service is difficult for providers to scale and is even harder to maintain after an M&A event.
As merged firms look to cut costs, they often cut staff and replace a human connection with automation.
While automation is a wonderful tool, it’s not a replacement for true white-glove service. Who likes waiting on hold all day?