Through Your Clients’ Eyes: Wealthtech Advances The Client Experience

Wealthtech Has Already Changed The Client Experience And Clients Demand More, Which Can Open New Opportunities For Advisors And Wealthtech Firms
Larry Roth is CEO of Wealth Solutions Report and Managing Partner of RLR Strategic Partners.
Larry Roth is CEO of Wealth Solutions Report and Managing Partner of RLR Strategic Partners.

The age of experience is upon us. Chief Experience Officers (CXOs) are becoming more frequent in top management. Snappy Kraken’s recent “State of Digital 2024” report revealed that advisors investing in search engine optimization (SEO) saw a 94% increase in new traffic to their websites, the quality of subject lines play a significant role in whether a client will open an email, and including videos in emails raised the open rate by 117%.

Clients are demanding more in their experiences with financial advisors, and responding better to those who learn what they like and provide it. Though I still maintain that we must get the basics right, there is tremendous opportunity for advisors that can establish excellent client experience, and for the wealthtech firms that provide the necessary solutions.

Given that a recent YCharts survey revealed that 75% of clients thought about leaving their advisors last year, the question is not whether to improve client experience, but how.

Recent Innovations In Client Experience

Wealthtech firms are stepping up to the challenge with a stream of innovations and upgrades that maintain a focus on an experience that pleases clients and attracts prospects.

For instance, Orion Advisors Solutions, which recently completed its annual Ascent conference, introduced a new behavioral finance (BeFi) tool in addition to the tools it has been offering. The new tool, called Pulsecheck, surveys clients in six areas: happiness, engagement, advancement, relationships, truth and strength, then integrates the results into other firm tools such as advisor talking points.

In the area of financial literacy, longtime Morningstar partner Financial Fitness Group, which provides financial wellness and investor educations solutions, was acquired by Aztec Software to merge with its iGrad financial literacy business. TIFIN also recently partnered with Franklin Templeton to launch TIFIN @Work, a financial wellness solution designed to help employees achieve their financial goals.

Fynancial developed what it terms a “social financial platform” to capture NextGen clients through an integrated financial app for phones, including a Zoom integration for advisors to reach clients with video calls.

These are only a few examples among dozens of client experience innovations that firms have been bringing to market through technological advancements. The pace of change is still accelerating and, like any dynamic situation, the jury is still out on which firms will take the lead in this race to provide the most fitting solutions for client needs and expectations.

The Current State Of Client Experience

Sindhu Joseph, CEO & Co-Founder, CogniCor
Sindhu Joseph, CEO & Co-Founder, CogniCor

Regardless of the advancements, some clients feel left behind, according to Sindhu Joseph, CEO and Co-Founder of CogniCor. “While high net worth investors often receive high-touch service from advisors, middle-class investors often feel left out of this engaged and personalized service experience.” She explains that these clients are often addressed without accounting for their situation or interests.

Joseph continued, “This type of client may see some wealthtech innovations, but most solutions providers support advisors, not the end user – especially for those with few assets for advisors to manage.”

Brian McLaughlin, President, Orion Advisor Technology
Brian McLaughlin, President, Orion Advisor Technology

Wade Spencer, Managing Director and Industry Lead at F2 Strategy, sees rapid development occurring as client expectations pressure advisors toward digital, and hybrid personal and digital interactions. “Advisors realize their clients don’t want the waste and security compromises that paper-based solutions create.”

Brian McLaughlin, President of Orion Advisor Technology, a business of Orion Advisor Solutions, says that the growth of firms over the past three years is largely attributable to increased personalization of client engagement. He sees an increasing trend of tailored and interactive engagement platforms. “Clients on their end see a curated experience, informed by disruptive AI technologies, that aligns closely with their individual goals and preferences, marking a significant shift toward bespoke wealthtech solutions.”

Wealthtech-Driven Change

Wade Spencer, Managing Director & Industry Lead, F2 Strategy
Wade Spencer, Managing Director & Industry Lead, F2 Strategy

Sid Yenamandra, Co-Founder of Surge Ventures and CEO of RegVerse, also views personalization as one of the transformative trends in wealthtech. In addition, he notes that client experience is becoming more efficient and compliant. “Clients now enjoy real-time portfolio management and regulatory insights, thanks to AI and machine learning, leading to a more transparent, empowered approach to managing finances with an added layer of security and compliance.”

McLaughlin points to AI as a driver of change – producing rapid advancement and practical applications – which enhances client needs through faster responses and intuitive client-facing portals. He believes these developments strengthen the client-advisor relationship: “This tech evolution fosters stronger trust and deeper advisor-client relationships.”

Spencer notes the richer experiences available to clients that reflect their personal needs, characteristics and goals. He says that technology is enabling clients to have more direct and detailed conversations about subjects. As an example, a general topic like “college planning” could become “Marissa plans to attend her parents’ alma mater, Wake Forest, in two years.”

What Clients Want Next

Sid Yenamandra, Co-Founder, Surge Ventures & CEO, RegVerse
Sid Yenamandra, Co-Founder, Surge Ventures & CEO, RegVerse

Joseph says that “younger investors, who are used to streamlined, highly personal engagement and access to transparent information from service providers like Amazon, Uber or Netflix,” will push advisors toward greater personalization.

She also sees clients demanding access to a broader range of investment options, including cryptoassets and alternatives. “Advisors must have access to portfolio management tools that enable them to offer these kinds of services in an efficient manner.”

Yenamandra says that, beyond personalization, clients are looking for platforms that ensure compliance with evolving regulations. “They value tools that offer a comprehensive view of their financial landscape, incorporating regulatory insights directly into their financial planning.”

Spencer says clients are demanding results in three areas. First, clients want more digital experience and less paper. Second, they want the ability to run “what if” scenario testing on their financial plans. Finally, they increasingly value the social impact of their portfolios.

BeFi is also becoming more important for advisors in response to clients looking to advisors to guide both their personal and financial prosperity, according to McLaughlin.

The Future Of Client Experience

An evolving and precise personalized financial plan driven by advances in mobile health monitoring could be in our future, according to Joseph. “By using financial data and real-time information on clients’ evolving physical well-being, advisors will be able to adjust plans to address the significant costs of health care for aging adults.”

McLaughlin highlights the great wealth transfer as a driver of client experience innovation. “Most immediately, wealthtech is positioned to positively impact clients’ expectations around the impending intergenerational wealth transfer.” He says that the transfer provides advisors with an opportunity to exceed clients’ service expectations, pointing to data from Orion’s recent Advisor Wealthtech Survey that revealed 57% of advisors are already focused on the great wealth transfer, with 36% planning to make it an area of focus in the next three years.

Predictive analytics and regulatory compliance are also possible areas for wealthtech to positively impact the client experience, according to Yenamandra. He points to RegVerse’s Avery platform, which he says “enables advisors to provide a more informed, compliant and interactive advisory relationship.”

Larry Roth is CEO of Wealth Solutions Report and Managing Partner of RLR Strategic Partners.

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