Wealth managers in Asia Pacific have a lot to celebrate. As those of us who live and work here know full well, the scale of the opportunity emerging in the region is nothing short of breathtaking. Asia Pacific is quickly becoming the industry’s global center of growth, with total assets under management expected to nearly double to just under US$30 trillion by 2025. 
The market’s rapid development will inevitably be accompanied by profound changes and heightened competition. Which makes it important for wealth managers to ask: are we ready to make the most of this opportunity? Are we building the right connections with our clients in the region, and laying the groundwork for relationships that will last over the long term?
There’s of course no shortage of managers in Asia that excel at all the above. But there are also indications that many could do more. One recent study by Capgemini found just over 60% of Asia Pacific ex-Japan high net worth investors are satisfied with their wealth management firm, well under the global average. 
As the region’s affluent are presented with more investment options than ever, any shortfall in terms of client engagement represents a significant risk – which is why I believe client lifecycle management (CLM) is so important.
CLM may sound like consulting-speak, but it’s really the simple recognition that client relationships progress through multiple phases, and that for a relationship to flourish, the client needs to be consistently and actively engaged throughout all of them.
CLM is a broad, business-critical topic, but for now I want to focus on what we see as some of the main drivers of client disengagement – that is, the practices that lead to clients feeling alienated or dissatisfied, even deciding to take their business elsewhere. Addressing these pain points wealth managers is critical to ensuring the client lifecycle is a long and healthy one, and improving the industry as a whole.
Banal prospecting: All too often wealth management firms follow the herd on prospecting strategies and brand marketing. New consumers are interested in lifestyle, opportunities and social values. By building data driven personas on prospects that address these priorities, wealth managers can hone the relevancy of their marketing efforts, increasing conversion as well as retention.
Onerous onboarding: For regulatory and other reasons, the amounts of paperwork and time required to complete customer onboarding processes have only increased in recent years. Despite the advance of digitisation in many other areas, the bulk of these processes remain paper-based, both for the client and internal administration, and often force clients to field redundant requests for action or personal information.
Limited transparency: At a time where virtually every other kind of information is delivered instantaneously, many clients still struggle to get clear, up to date portfolio data from their managers on an on-demand or self-serve basis.
‘Spray and pray’ outreach: In too many cases efforts to engage or market new services to clients are blind product pushes, and limited to occasional ‘blasts’ via e-mail or social media that trot out the same tired slogans or offers. This lack of focus and personalisation does little to capture attention or cultivate loyalty.
‘Analog’ administration: Thanks to companies like Apple, consumers expect a certain level of speed, convenience and automation to surround simple support requests or administrative tasks, such as updating contact details. Yet in wealth management many such experiences remain cumbersome and bureaucratic.
These drivers will become even more problematic as a younger, more tech-savvy generation of investors comes to the fore, demanding more efficiency and transparency around fees and services. The good news is just as it fuels these expectations, technology offers the region’s wealth managers a clear path to meet them.
By adopting a more tactical approach to the retention and analysis of client data supported by a robust technology platform, managers can pave the way for more consistent and personalised services; cut costs by reducing inefficiencies; and identify and seize on new revenue opportunities. In the coming weeks we’ll explore how technology-enabled CLM can act as an engine for engagement – and foster the capabilities for innovation in wealth management that a fast-changing region demands.