WealthTech 2022 is focused on the here and now of technology in the wealth management space and features a collection of 11 industry viewpoints focused on the role and focus of technology in wealth management in the year ahead.
The Wealth Mosaic remains hugely excited by the value offered to wealth management by the increased use of modern, flexible and more accessible technology. This is a hugely transformative force, and it now increasingly sits at the heart of the wealth management industry. The contributions to this report, from experts in the WealthTech space, highlights some of the many opportunities and areas for positive impact from technology in wealth management.
Among the various viewpoints and focus areas, the following areas are highlighted as central to the current focus and to be considered by any wealth management firm in their approach to technology:
The impact of Covid-19
For the client, the advisor and the business in general, Covid-19 led to a significant speeding in the pace of technology change and adoption. Things that had been in the planning for years were suddenly thrust to the forefront of their focus and action. There has been a clear acceleration and the clock cannot be turned back. Indeed, it has finally opened the market to the benefits of real digital transformation.
Digitization is here
The market is now present and engaged with real digitalization. Covid-19 and other factors such as new technologies, changing client expectations and cost pressures have pushed this development to the fore. As one contributor added: “Digital is now seen as a fundamental innovator for business, paving the way for more rapid, technology-driven changes going forward.”
Focus on the client
Multiple themes are highlighted in the coming pages including the rise of the self-directed investor, Covid-19 accelerating digital investing, accessing new client segments, improving the digital experience of clients in wealth management, focusing on human-centred design and having digital empathy. At the heart of this is the expectation that the client should be placed at the very center of how a wealth management business operates.
The role and impact of M&A
The battle for assets in wealth management has raged on and there have been M&A deals aplenty. Deals have continued to roll in. There remain firms that want to exit the market as well as others that are looking to further grow, often fuelled by technology. And, of course, private equity remains an active market participant. Among several significant challenges for firms in relation to M&A, however, is the post-acquisition integration piece. The role of technology here is vital.
ESG and other investment themes
Pushing further into the mindset of clients and therefore wealth managers is sustainable and impact investing. The size and performance of this market cannot be ignored and the themes around it demand a response. Contributors are also seeing more interest and developments in decentralized digital services, crypto currencies, non-fungible tokens and more. Technology is key to delivering these offerings.
An area that the market cannot yet rid itself from is legacy technology. The question then becomes how to deal with it and stay apace with the competition and demands of the market. Contributors suggest that there are clear routes forward and modern technology offer a strong option. A lot of technology today is modular, Cloud and API-based, ecosystem focused and much easier to access and integrate. These systems can work with legacy back-end systems and allow front office innovation and modernization of the backend in parallel. Technology vendors are also increasingly developing their own ecosystems.
This report presents insights into these areas and more.