Two years ago, Objectway and Efma conducted the joint survey “Digitisation in practice: transforming investment services for affluent clients” interviewing leading banks and wealth managers and discovering how firms were undertaking an integrated digital strategy by examining five digitisation focus areas: customer centricity, channel interaction, digital mobility, analytics, and social media.
Current state and future evolution
In the new edition of the Objectway-Efma survey “Digital engagement and collaboration in wealth management: the hype, the reality and the future”, we focused on observing how wealth and investment management sector has capitalized on digital engagement and collaboration with respect to our first survey’s findings. To this extent, we kept analyzing the focus areas of customer experience, analytics and social media, and deepened the investigation around digital strategy and online investment management.
We also explored the future evolution of the industry’s digital strategy to understand if, and how, firms are now leveraging on digitisation to grow their business, improve operational efficiency and productivity.
Opinion-leader financial institutions from 27 countries across the world took part in the study, thus offering a representative coverage of the countries of greatest interest with respect to the topics examined.
Most of the surveyed financial institutions (60%) are serving both affluent and private clients, with a composite situation in assets under management. This adds significance to the survey results, as this means that the emerging trends are affecting the whole scope of the market, from small to big-sized businesses.
The study results
The first key finding regards the place that digitisation has in financial institutions’ investments. Nearly half of respondents consider digital engagement and collaboration a strategic topic with board level commitment, and 90% of them is working on it.
Accordingly, firms have started using multiple channels to interact with their affluent and private clients. The respondents’ preferences show as a complementary approach is requested: a branch-based advisor with a face-to-face approach for the most sensitive themes is perceived as a commodity, while a remote support with digital collaboration capabilities assures immediacy, connectivity and ubiquity.
In terms of digital engagement and collaboration tools (such as document management, webcast, task management, video and chat, etc.), the surveyed panel is quite well equipped and willing to further enhance them. However, the current situation is more about reactive data provisioning, with a clear evolution to a proactive approach by using online recommendations (+10%) and from a unidirectional to bi-directional attitude through co-browsing facilities (+10%) in the next two years. Interaction is considered pivotal.