The future of wealth advisory is no longer the traditional human advising another human scenario. With robo-platforms on the rise, the robot versus human debate continues to garner headlines.
Wealth management in the future, however, and in our view, is not an either/or scenario. Rather, it is an ampersand—humans & robots. Neither alone constitutes the future of investment advice. New Accenture research shows clients prefer hybrid models—a combination of humans and digital capabilities.
Providing an automated platform with periodic access to a human advisor ranks as the most preferred scenario across a range of investor profiles. Combining the best of both worlds—the low cost and access of robo-platforms with an advisor’s expertise in handling more nuanced or complex investing scenarios—hybrid firms ranked higher than all others in several dimensions critical to customer loyalty and satisfaction, from “customized service” to “low-cost products.”
Wealth management firms that want to remain competitive will need to address a mix of advisory styles. Digital tools, yesterday’s difference maker in the industry, are now no longer considered as such by a majority of investors (roughly 20 percent see them as influential in deciding between firms). Instead, an increasing number of clients see digital technologies as table stakes, necessary simply to consider a firm as a potential wealth management provider.
But where does that leave human advisors? Still firmly in the driver’s seat when clients require advice for complex or nuanced situations, an anxiety-producing bear market or a sensitive situation such as a death in the family. While 72 percent of US$10 million-plus investors and 56 percent of millennials question the value of a dedicated advisor according to our survey, only 8 percent of respondents believe robo-platforms can deliver customized advice.
Not only was a hybrid model given the best marks in our survey, but it helps improve client engagement. Hybrid model clients are significantly more likely to have sought and received firm assistance in financial planning than investors in any other model (64 percent versus 44 percent).
Firms should be shifting resources in the hybrid model direction now by:
Evolving your firm’s current capabilities into the building blocks of a hybrid model.
Key questions include: What role will robots play? What about humans? What is the best pricing model?
Getting serious about a digital platform
Continuous innovation via digital tools is necessary to keep pace with the competition. Invest now to create a dynamic digital platform strategy
Investing in digital talent
The future wealth management workforce will likely consist of professionals who see technology as a trusted co-worker—and know how to enhance it to clients’ advantage.
Developing a partner ecosystem that can support your hybrid model
It is unlikely that a firm could do it alone. Leveraging an ecosystem that can bridge the gaps is essential to giving clients the experience they are looking for when investing.