Wealth management is on the move – exciting times ahead!

By Steve Young
12 December 2019

SS&C Advent’s latest survey – “C-Suite Confidential: Ten Key Tech & Ops Trends” – demonstrates evidence of a significant shift in the wealth management landscape.

SS&C Advent recently completed our eighth annual survey on technology and operations trends in the wealth management industry. It is interesting to reflect on the key changes in these industries over this period. There has been a significant shift in sentiment, although most interestingly, the disparity between 2018 and 2019 is almost as large as it is to the original survey.

Nearly every other year a common theme across the reports was regulation – either the general term or specific pieces of regulation, for example MIFID II. In the latest survey, though regulation is included, it is not as prominent as in previous surveys. Given the ongoing impact of GDPR and other global data privacy initiatives I find this both interesting and encouraging. The survey suggests firms are embracing regulation as an ongoing business and operational imperative, as opposed to viewing it as individual projects and requirements. This will be beneficial to both wealth managers and their clients.

Outsourcing has also been a growing influence in the survey. In early editions, outsourcing barely received a mention, whereas in the latest survey we see a deepening understanding and acceptance of how firms can leverage outsourcing, both technical and operational, to evolve their capabilities to bring a sharper focus to their business and client needs.

The latest survey shows a growing understanding of changes to customer behaviour and needs. In our original survey (2013), much of the technology talk was around “mobility” without a keen understanding of the actual needs of the end customer. The perception was data delivery, by leveraging multiple channels, with mobile devices was the “cutting edge.” Last year the technology buzzword of choice was robo-advice.

This year, it is encouraging to see considerations for wealth management have moved to a more holistic view.  Firms are grasping the need to implement meaningful change and to overhaul their business model. An industry built on tradition and a risk adverse culture is beginning an evolution. Customer choice over what, when and how they interact is key, affecting almost all areas of the operation.

In truth, this is reflected in some places with a new set of buzzwords, such as customer experience (CX) or user experience (UX). However, where these are fully understood they are bringing the required cultural changes that the industry needs.

The latest survey is a fascinating insight into the global wealth industry and reflects the increasing pace of change it is undergoing. In the past it has felt like in many firms there was a lack of real vision or any appetite to change and evolve. Here we can see evidence that the needle is finally on the move. Exciting times ahead!

For more survey insights, read the report.