The interaction between customers and firms has changed, both in terms of space and way of interaction, leading to an increase in self-service technologies demand, delivery and usage, we speak of AI driven advisory – particularly of Robo Advisors -, managing a wide variety of financial advisory services – from payment advice to automated investment, at lower costs, quicker and online.
Today, clients are not willing to abandon the digital paradigm that is now established but begin to claim back the human touch they have missed. Traditional wealth management, based on physical interactions is long gone, and leaves space to online onboarding, automated portfolio creation with a taste of human engagement.
The perfect blend
Via a brief LinkedIn survey, we asked professionals what type of advisory model they’d reckon as most appropriate to their needs and preferences. Hybrid advisory climbs the ranks as most selected item (78%), compared to Human Advisory and AI driven advisory alone with a score tied of 11%.
If clients won’t give up on either of the two ingredients, we assume the best in class will be those who succeed in optimally blending the two across all the different stages of the relationship: onboarding, offering building, issues management and client retention.
As far as onboarding is concerned, it is generally about a tedious, long process including collecting and approval of client data and document, risk appetite profiling, ESG risk attitude, together with ID checks etc. from the client perspective, automation brought about by the hybrid approach enhance the onboarding experience so that clients have a quick, frictionless onboarding process and engage via either a preferred channel or a combination of digital and human interactions. This way, an efficient onboarding process is there to lay the foundation to winning and retaining clients.
Starting on the right foot, throughout next steps, portfolios are created, developed, and rebalanced by algorithms on one side and clients can autonomously access their investments anytime and anywhere thanks to an omnichannel approach. At the same time, they have the flexibility to reach out to their advisors whenever they want across the entire user journey, if they feel their changing needs call for higher – or better, hyper – personalisation of advice or they have more complex issues to discuss. Or during a crisis, when the financial situation seems to tremble, the human component of the hybrid solution serves as a buffer to support clients more thoroughly and reassure them about their finances.
Advisor’s side, they still have quite the place in the industry, but their role will be different. The digital component of the hybrid solution is an opportunity for financial advisors to boost operational efficiency and overall effectiveness, streamlining main processes and minimising errors, thus focusing attention and efforts on more value-adding activities and concentrate on building qualitative relationships.
What’s more, beyond processes that are preferably all digital, let’s think of a firm that managers considerably large portfolios. AI can assist the advisor in assembling client disorganised data into a single digital platform, monitor risks and exposure so that he earns back in time saving.
Digitalisation also provides more transparency around costs and fees in the eyes of consumers, and greater visibility and choice around how and where to invest their money. For instance, the next generation who’s already inheriting, is increasingly interested in environmental sustainability, ethical issues and the social cause and feel it’s their responsibility to make an impact on the social community.
At first sight, these seem to be advantages for the client only, nonetheless it’s worth reminding that satisfied customers is the goal of any advisory firms, so they are indeed extremely beneficial the other way round. Customer satisfaction will drive retention, relationship, loyalty.
Business’ side, a hybrid advisory approach enables firms to attract younger demographics, stay ahead of the curve, grow, and compete in the digital age.
At the end of the day, it’s always not easy to choose one thing over the other and when there’s a solution that offers the best of both worlds – process digitalisation keeping client front of mind on the background of an advanced, flexible platform -, it’s a wrap!