This past Tuesday over three dozen wealth and asset management professionals gathered in Boston to hear from a team of Celent analysts on topics like artificial intelligence, robo-advisors, behavioral traits of Millennials, and the most pressing challenges facing firms today. The symposium’s format consisted of a mix of presentations and panels, with a robust Q&A following each session. Attendees were highly engaged and Celent’s savvy inclusion of Slido only increased the participation level during those typically slower post-lunch, mid-afternoon hours. Highlights from the day include the following:
- Digital communication and engagement is critical to securing new, millennial clients—Analyst Ashley Globerman presented information on the platforms and channels advisors need to leverage in order to reach Millennials; all of which are digital. Backed by data on the segment’s workforce size and rise in net worth—something Seismic has addressed quite a few times—Globerman noted that as the vast majority of consumption, communication and vetting is done digitally, advisors need to get ahead of the technology curve in order to seize this opportunity. This adoption cannot be piecemealed either; firms need to innovate throughout the front, middle and back-ends in order to yield the best results. Types of client-centric, self-service digital tools that Globerman referenced involve risk assessment, financial scenarios, interactive, real-time communication and retirement or goal planning. Just as important are the analytics such platforms provide, allowing advisors to further tailor and refine the client experience.
- AI will continue to redefine both the client experience and the advisor capacity—From Will Trout’s presentation on AI’s enhancement and automation of wealth advice, allowing human advisors to serve clients at a greater scale, to Kelley Byrnes talking about the rise of AI in areas like customer service and backroom operations, it is clear that the technology, in almost all of its forms, is something to harness rather than fear. AI-powered advice is something Trout has been covering for quite some time, and his enthusiasm for the future of the technology within wealth and asset management has not waned. AI platforms that can assist advisors with risk assessment, investment allocation, and client communications will only help grow AUM across the mass affluent and high-net-worth market segments. In addition, delegating time-consuming, repetitive tasks to an AI solution empowers advisors to focus on providing the highest level of service, delighting clients with personalized, prudent investment advice. Byrnes’ relay on the introduction of technologies like chatbots showed that AI’s ability to process and generate language allows clients, especially Millennials, to engage with a firm in a manner that is both positive and expeditious. Diverting simple customer service inquiries and tasks to a chatbot alleviates cost and operational pressures for firms, but if a client wishes to escalate their concern, the entire conversation can be passed onto a human.
- Industry disruption has led to massive disparity—During a panel on the rise of technologies like robotics, AI, blockchain, regtech and big data within asset management, the overall consensus among analysts was that the merging of digital innovation and human services combined with the market forces of passive over active investing and general tech adoption among clients has provided progressive, agile firms with ample opportunity for growth, while those still handcuffed to spreadsheets struggle to grasp what exactly they need to do to survive. From leveraging intelligent trading platforms to sifting through data in search of patterns and “smoke signals”, firms with a desire to harness the potential of technological innovations are further altering the competitive landscape, leading to massive disparity and continued consolidation among laggards.
With highlights like these, it’s no wonder Celent’s Innovation & Insight Day sold out well in advance, and for anyone interested in staying abreast of the major trends and challenges transforming wealth and asset management while networking with industry leaders, attending next year’s symposium should be a top priority.