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 Roubini ThoughtLab

The Wealth Advisor of the Future

Over the next five years, household assets are expected to increase by $89 trillion in the 25 top markets, pumping $50 trillion into the wealth industry, according to new research by Roubini ThoughtLab. But if wealth advisors and investment firms don’t change their business models, they could lose out on those assets. Nearly half of investors surveyed are willing to switch firms if their needs are not met.

Wealth advisors of the future will look more like a “general practitioner” who calls on specialists when clients need it.

“Next-generation wealth advisors will need to be hyper responsive, highly empathetic and digitally savvy,” the report said. “Equally important, they will need to be multidimensional professionals able to provide both specialized advice and life goal-planning—always keeping their clients’ best interests in mind.”

In five years, investors will still hire an advisor based on quality, fees, reputation and range of services. But they will also look for a digitally savvy advisor, with 57 percent demanding anytime, anywhere, any device access; 51 percent wanting an integrated omni-channel experience; and half looking for advanced use of digital technology and analytics.

The report, Wealth and Asset Management 2021, was conducted in conjunction with the Bank of Montreal, Broadridge Financial Solutions, CFA Institute, Cisco, eToro, Schroders, SEI and State Street. The research is based on a survey of 2,000 investors and 500 investment providers across 10 major wealth markets. It also involved interviews and economic modeling led by economist Dr. Nouriel Roubini.

When asked about how advisors should adapt over the next five years, investment providers said they’ll need to be more responsive (58 percent), offer superior investment advice (44 percent), become digitally savvy (42 percent) and provide broader life planning advice.

“The winners in this new playing field will likely be large full-service institutions, mutual funds companies and trusted names in wealth management,” said Lou Celi, CEO of Roubini ThoughtLab and the program director. “These organizations may be better equipped to meet the rising demand for specialized expertise, responsive 24/7 service and wider investment and financial services.”

More than two-thirds of universal banks and mutual fund firms, for example, already have in-house teams and incubators dedicated to changing their digital strategy. 

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