The speakers included Bruce Weatherill, Global Private Banking/Wealth Management Leader at PricewaterhouseCoopers; Natasha McMillan, Senior Manager at PricewaterhouseCoopers: Justin Urquhart-Stewart, Co-founder of Seven Investment Management; and Alison Malton, Managing Director at ComPeer.
Each of the three speakers provided insights into strategies for managing the dual challenges facing the wealth management industry: increasingly stringent regulatory controls and more demanding clients. They identified operational efficiency and risk management as the key drivers for achieving future growth and overcoming the challenges of an evolving regulatory environment, increasingly volatile markets and increased competition from Independent Financial Advisors (IFAs) and stockbrokers for âshare of walletâ. The panelâs overall message was that wealth management firms need to evolve and differentiate in order to avoid consolidation.
According to the PricewaterhouseCoopersâ 2007 PwC Private Banking/ Wealth Management Survey presented at the event, CEOs of EMEA wealth management firms are extraordinarily confident that they can outperform the market and achieve growth of 28% of net new AUM within their own organizations within the next three years. The survey revealed that CEOsâ plans for growth include acquisitions and entry to new markets, with nearly 90% of CEOs feeling that there will be at least some, if not significant, consolidation within the industry.
Weatherill commented, âCEOs have some hard choices to make in order to achieve their growth ambitions, including whether to enter new markets, how to best address human resources and risk issues, and how to balance their firmâs growth in size without compromising an excellent client experience. Wealth managers recognize that significant investment is needed in front-office systems, including CRM and client reporting systems.â
Urquhart-Stewart observed, âThe industry needs to do a better job broadening clientsâ asset allocation to better manage risk, and to look at investment cycles spanning a minimum of five years. Predicting returns is impossible, but with the right portfolio construction across more asset classes, your client is going to have a less volatile journey and you can improve performance and predictability.â
Malton advised, âWealth managers need to look at devising new strategies and new models in order to stay ahead of a rapidly changing landscape where IFAs are gaining more ground. A quarter of all high income households consider their IFA to be their main financial adviser, compared with three percent who view wealth managers as their main adviser. Wealth managers cannot be complacent about the challenge of the IFA market.â
Host of the event, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Advent Software EMEA Hakan Valberg, said, âItâs great to see wealth managers taking advantage of industry support to find the solutions to their growth issues. The right technology applications are extremely relevant business tools where achieving and managing growth are concerned. At Advent we continue to invest in our solutions to help firms embrace best practices to improve their business. Weâre seeing a significant investment in technology, as wealth managers are accepting there is a flight to quality ahead and they are looking to differentiate themselves with a better, more streamlined offering.â