As the next generation takes charge of their money, wealth management firms are having to adapt their processes to suit clients who have grown up in the information age, commonly referred to as digital natives. This systemic shift in the industry creates an opportunity to inspire innovation for wealth management firms. So, how can wealth management professionals prepare?
A modernized approach to wealth management requires careful planning and commitment to meet new generations’ demands and support a future-forward strategy to remain competitive in the digital world.
Bridging the Generational Gap
Firms are now beginning to face the pressures of a new demographic with very different expectations. Digital natives expect instant results and seamless integration, gravitating toward wealth management firms that meet these expectations. Wealth managers who are slow to recognize these changing needs may find it harder to attract new clients due to poor engagement and communication.
Wealth management firms should prepare to meet the digital needs of the younger generation. Millennials and Gen X consumers will gravitate toward an environment that offers intuitive real-time access to their information mirroring user experiences in social media, music streaming or even mobile banking apps. The future of wealth management is contingent upon an innovative, effective solution for knowledge work automation that will support the needs of every age demographic.
AI and Automation Are Efficiency Generators, Not a Replacement
Wealth management companies are typically hesitant to adopt cutting-edge initiatives in their digital transformation journey. The rapid increase in awareness of AI, sparked by generative AI tools like ChatGPT, has raised fears that technology solutions will replace or eliminate their jobs. This is not the case. The advancements in artificial intelligence have laid the foundation to create opportunities for success, shaping the future of productivity and collaboration. Improved knowledge work automation processes, supported by AI, allow firms to do more rather than replace professionals.
As an advisor, accessing the right information quickly and efficiently, no matter where it’s located, is vital. Information-rich tasks benefit enormously from AI and automated processes. AI-powered systems can easily sort through large volumes of information to recognize patterns and categories in the data to support new ways to search, find, use and manage information. Automated workflows become easy to implement for supporting compliance and operational efficiency whilst reducing repetitive manual work.
According to a recent study from MIT Technology Review Insights, the implementation of AI has increased, with 79% of companies having fully deployed more than three types of AI in their businesses in 2022, and 76% plan to significantly increase their investments in AI through the next fiscal year.
These solutions improve visibility, security and processing of information. As a result, wealth management professionals can find information faster and spend more time acting on the insights it contains.
Out With the Old, In With the New
Firms manage massive quantities of confidential client data and information, making it essential that wealth management professionals have the technical capabilities to easily share the right information with authorized people. Firms that still rely on legacy technologies or manual processes risk lost or siloed information, which can create inefficiency and regulatory challenges. These can ultimately impact client satisfaction, the firm’s bottom line, and reputational standing.
A successful knowledge management strategy can no longer rely on manual processes or outdated solutions to store and share information. The saying “you get out what you put in,” is true for data too. The foundation for modern AI technology solutions is built on organized, structured information and knowledge work automation platforms. Digital integration with new solutions rooted in AI improves decision-making and helps ensure firms comply with industry regulations. A knowledge work automation system will reduce the opportunity for human error to impact operations and will streamline audit trail creation by linking the right users, information, and processes together. Advisors will work with content in context, so they have all the information they need to make the right proposal and recommendation to help clients achieve their financial goals, whilst increasing the firm’s assets under management.
Opportunity Inspires Innovation
Although we have yet to unlock the full potential of AI, it is never too early for wealth management firms to take advantage of the tools and systems readily available. In the coming years, wealth management teams will be able to interact with information using natural language rather than reading lengthy documents or complex reports. AI and machine-learning models provide enormous opportunities to take on time-consuming and often cumbersome repetitive workloads, with the ability to summarize documents.
As a result, automated document workflows will improve process efficiency and accuracy. Moreover, advisors and operational teams can reduce business risk with automated document security and compliance, ultimately eliminating information chaos. With the power of AI and automated workflows, employees can focus on generating value rather than manually intensive tasks and, perhaps, most importantly, create greater client success. Early adopters of tech-forward initiatives have a distinctive advantage with the option to grow and develop as new capabilities are introduced.
As wealth managers enter the era of the Great Wealth Transfer, firms must be prepared to adapt to serve the needs of digital native clients and be AI-ready for the future. To modernize, firms should first take a step back and understand their pain points, blockages and challenges by looking at their end-to-end processes and seeing what tasks are repetitive and could be automated. To begin laying the foundations for AI, wealth management professionals should think about ensuring their information is clean and organized to be ready for what is next to come.
AI is radically changing knowledge work automation for the better. Wealth managers should start to build AI into their firms and take advantage of intelligent solutions to work smarter, not harder, freeing up valuable time to focus on the client’s wants and long-term goals.
Yohan Lobo is Industry Solutions Manager, Financial Services at M-Files.