Personalisation transforming the wealth management industry

By Morne Fischer, Managing Director, xSMTHS

The financial services sector is currently experiencing a period of significant change and uncertainty, as central banks continue to battle rising inflation and interest rate increases.

At the same time, the Covid pandemic has accelerated many technological changes – such as digital transformation and fintech – across different sectors, including wealth and asset management. Online customer engagement is quickly becoming mainstream, and fintech companies are stepping in to meet the growing demand.

In a fast-changing environment, advisors are under time pressure, and need to produce core personalised content faster. According to a report by Boston Consulting Group, the average book of global wealth managers comprises roughly 65% of clients with accounts of less than $1 million.

This puts advisors and wealth managers at risk of losing the majority of their clients if they do not get personalisation right at scale, and further improve their service efficiencies.

Wealth managers and financial advisors are therefore having to evaluate the business cost to serve smaller portfolio size segments. That’s because the financial advisor business is no longer solely about strong networking, so the cost of providing personal advice to lower-net-worth clients has become unsustainable.

All of this presents a critical challenge for financial advisors, who are now serving five generations of investors with diverse financial planning needs, risk tolerance levels, and life-stage journeys. Personalising the message and automating the marketing of service for each investor segment has therefore become increasingly complex, and not all segments are comfortable with the pace and shift to the new technology.

The personal touch

Personalisation refers to the process of tailoring financial products and services to meet the specific needs of individual clients, while marketing automation involves the use of technology to automate and streamline marketing tasks and campaigns.

One of the key benefits of personalisation in wealth management is that it allows financial advisors to better understand and meet the unique needs of their clients. This includes everything from creating customised investment portfolios, to providing personalised financial planning and advice.

By providing personalised services, financial advisors can build stronger relationships with their clients, increase client loyalty, and ultimately drive more business.

Marketing automation technology in turn helps financial advisors streamline many of the marketing tasks and campaigns that are necessary to reach new clients, and retain existing ones, with personalisation in mind.

For example, marketing automation can be used to send personalised targeted email campaigns, track website visitors and lead generation, and personalise the content on a financial advisor’s website.

Some of the most popular marketing automation tools are CRM-connected marketing cloud systems that allows wealth managers to manage clients’ data and interactions, track their preferences and behaviour, and analyse their performance.

More recently these technologies have been grouped into Customer Data Platforms (CDP) that can unify known and unknown customer data during the acquisition process. This can then help financial advisors create more effective marketing campaigns, identify potential new clients, and retain existing ones.

Moreover, with the advent of modern technologies like artificial intelligence, machine learning and predictive analytics, marketing automation has become more sophisticated and effective since many of these functions come prebuilt into marketing cloud and CDP systems.

This gives wealth managers the insights they need to predict which clients are most likely to churn, or to identify which prospects are most likely to convert into clients and allows financial advisors to target their marketing efforts more effectively to improve ROI.

Transformative technology

Investors grade wealth managers based on their most recent experience. They want to know if their investment company has a mobile-first approach, a good balance of human interaction, and digital enablement capabilities, and if it meets the demand for self-service.

As investors seek safety in an uncertain market, there is also a shift towards aggregation of finances. Consumers are gradually moving towards a single company or well-integrated platform to view and meet all their financial needs, including investments, banking, and insurance. An integrated financial experience gives them a sense of control over their financial position with limited or no loose ends.

To bring about change, financial services companies need to reimagine the end-to-end customer experience, with less fragmentation and more unification of platform experiences. They need to focus on multiple personas, such as the end customer, advisor, middle office, operations and service.

But it’s not necessary or practical to make changes to many customer journeys at once. It’s rather more effective to focus on improving only a few key business processes such as opening accounts, moving assets or onboarding advisors.

Once these changes have been implemented, it is important to track their performance and make adjustments as necessary. This will provide insight into how much of an impact these changes have had and what the return on investment is for improving these specific processes or journeys.

Companies should also study the critical pain points and key areas of opportunity, and then focus on modernising their data strategies. This could involve reducing the number of systems they use, cleaning and normalising data, and integrating proprietary and third-party data sources.

Personalisation and marketing automation technology will play a critical role in helping financial advisors and firms better understand and meet the needs of their clients, and ultimately drive more business. As the wealth management industry continues to evolve, it’s likely that these technologies will become increasingly important and widely adopted.

Morné Fischer is the founder and managing director of xSMTHS, a Salesforce Partner business that specialises in the building and implementation of cloud-based, data-driven marketing technology solutions.