New research undertaken by wealth industry expert Scorpio Partnership on behalf of SunGard, has found that wealth management firms in Asia are not fully supporting the technology and service requirements of their advisors and high net worth clients, potentially impacting service capability and client confidence. This is a key conclusion drawn from the report, ‘Future Advisor Asia’, which examines how Asia’s wealth management sector is meeting the changing needs of the region’s growing high net worth population.
The research, which surveyed* over 400 high net worth individuals (HNWIs) and 96 wealth advisors and senior managers in China, Hong Kong, Singapore, the Philippines and Indonesia, examined current wealth management industry challenges, the role of digital channels in high net worth client management and the future role of the advisor.
Key findings of the research revealed:
- Asia’s advisors are taking technology into their own hands: A significant percentage of advisors are using iPads and other tablets for presentations (51%), investment research (46%) and portfolio analysis (41%) to help meet client demands ‘on the go’. Advisors believe that their employers are behind in this area.
- Investors are empowering themselves: Asia’s millionaires are also increasingly empowering themselves through digital channels. On average, HNWI’s spend 5.3 hours online per week regarding financial matters and the demand for financial apps is on the rise. When investors predict their usage patterns in five years’ time, they expect the largest increase to be their online interaction directly with their financial institution on matters related to their wealth.
- Client servicing is slipping as a priority: The average advisor is spending less than 40% of time on client-facing activities and just 12% on prospecting. Too much time spent on administrative tasks is interfering with focusing on customer relations.
- Knowledge of the client is lacking: Despite spending less than half their time on direct client servicing, 88% of advisors believe they have a good understanding of their clients’ overall wealth and manage approximately 38% of their clients’ portfolio. In contrast, the client responses indicated advisors have a very poor level of knowledge and often manage much less than the stated 38%.
- Value-based services: While investors consider their wealth managers to be relatively solid value for the money, the industry has a much higher opinion of its own value. 62% of advisors ranked their services as either good or excellent value against a lower number of investors on the service value of international (44%) and local (43%) wealth managers ranking their services as good or very good. This points to a perception gap between high net worth clients and wealth advisors.
Commenting on the research, Sebastian Dovey, managing partner at Scorpio Partnership said, “This research has revealed a clear crossroads in digital revolution for financial services. Asia-based millionaires are very much in favor of integrating digital into their wealth management experience. They are active users now. The challenge is for Asia’s wealth management community to keep up and deepen their relationship model through digital means. It is a revolution that Asia’s advisors must become part of to remain competitive.”
Edward Lopez, executive vice president, SunGard’s wealth and private banking business unit, said, “The key finding from this research is that the region’s wealth management institutions are not investing enough in services and channels that are a vital part of the industry’s future. There is a significant opportunity for these firms to implement strategies to help enhance the customer experience, attract and retain clients and boost advisor productivity that can help them compete more effectively and safeguard future profitability.”
*The SunGard Future Advisor research was undertaken in September 2012. The study is based on two surveys, a survey of 400 high net worth clients and 96 wealth professionals undertaken by Scorpio Partnership.