In January, I predicted that in 2020 the most successful wealth managers would be those who did the best job of leveraging client, market and portfolio performance data to actively shape client engagement. They would use this data to formulate more compelling campaigns and deliver more relevant, personalised services, I said.
Little did we know that a few months later data would become so central to retaining customers and preserving (let alone growing) AuM, that those who fail to act may struggle to weather the COVID-19 storm. The urgency to act is now far greater, as business continuity could depend upon it.
Digitisation has already happened in wealth management, to a greater or lesser extent. Huge data sets are being collected, offering the opportunity for relationship managers to learn a great deal about customer behaviour and determine next best action for each client. However, the ability of each firm to interrogate and analyse this data, to gain meaningful and actionable insights, varies immensely. Many struggle to transform noise into signals that can be acted upon.
However, wealth managers face a delicate balancing act, now that they are having to consider changing business and operating models, while also remaining compliant and in many cases running remediation projects for KYC/AML. Reviews are needed to determine whether existing IT systems are fit for purpose for the new normal. The pressure is on for front office and support teams to continue providing value-added, proactive client service, while at the same time managing ongoing distractions and conflicting priorities.
Wealth managers must act quickly and leverage data more effectively to cope with the turbulence that we face today, manage the transition from crisis through recovery, and prepare for the vastly different post-COVID world that lies ahead.
3 ways to use data to secure your business
- Know how your clients are feeling. Wealth managers are reporting that they can meet or even exceed revenue targets, simply by increasing share of wallet from existing clients. With new business hard to generate in the current climate, this is positive news. Precise and accurate analysis of each client’s sentiments and Net Promoter Score (NPS) will be the key to allaying fears and unlocking the potential of current clients. In times of crisis the challenge for relationship managers is to manage both portfolios and people’s emotions. Using data to triage which customers feel most exposed, segment according to vulnerability and risk profile, and delve deep into the data that lies beneath is a great way for relationship managers to determine next best actions and be more proactive in their outreach.For clients with higher risk thresholds and more optimistic outlooks, who can wait a little longer for in-person interactions, highly personalised, pre-configured communications can be used to perpetuate engagement and make them feel valued at this critical time.
- Pivot quickly and efficiently to re-plan portfolios. Clients want answers fast in a crisis. To be agile and meet client service expectations, relationship managers need easy access to client, market and portfolio data. They must be able to analyse it in a holistic way and formulate compelling recommendations as quickly as possible. In cases where new data collection is required, to increase understanding of a shift in personal circumstances, this must be done sensitively, in a frictionless way, without duplication.
- Respond to market volatility with compelling new products. Post-COVID, client appetite for certain forms of investments is expected to subside, while new market opportunities will inevitably emerge. ESG-based investments, for example, will become more popular due to regulatory pressures. Wealth managers must act now to analyse market trend data and gauge shifting client priorities, then align them with new products that will help to maximise upselling opportunity.
Fundamentally, the vital role that data plays in optimising wealth management operations and enriching client service hasn’t changed. What has changed is the stakes, and the urgency for wealth managers to act quickly, to maintain profitability. For some, it could even be a matter of survival.