Article Financial Services
09 April 2024

Mobile wealth and the future of omni-channel experiences

In today's blog, Simon Hull addresses how & why mobile fits into an overall omni-channel strategy for wealth management organisations.

As we enter Q2 2024, the wealth management industry is interestingly poised at the juncture of challenge and opportunity. Retaining customers is a challenge as expectations rise, new digital entrants provide alternatives, and intergenerational wealth transfer changes the demographic of the wealthy.

In this article, I’ll explore why now is the perfect time to capitalise on changing consumer needs and why the omni-channel experience needs intelligent mobile experiences to be the cornerstone of the wealth management experience.

The challenges explored

The EY World Wealth report 2023 found that 1/3rd of clients were likely to leave their wealth managers due to poor customer experience, which is a symptom of the ever-changing standards placed on businesses by consumers used to 24-7 – 365, always on service.

In parallel, many advisors are moving towards retirement age and wealth managers have a challenge to evolve their talent pool, retain high performers and bring onboard the next generation of talented team members.

On top of all of this, business models are challenged by market conditions, fee pressures and regulation, with a need to tackle high cost bases and improve efficiency.

You may not notice it, but there is a link between these challenges… Customer experience and advisor experience are closely tied together, as are advisor experience and business productivity. These links provide an opportunity to look for a panacea-style solution that can solve them all, and a bit of analysis and research points to the role that a next-generation intelligent mobile experience can play in this.

Why mobile experiences matter

Mobile experiences infused with intelligence provide the perfect tool to support the next-generation of wealth management clients and a hybrid advice model – it enables the ideal combination of self-service and enhanced omni-channel advisor relationships, and at the same time improves advisor efficiency and effectiveness.

Whether targeting UHNWIs, HNWIs, Mass Affluents or Mass Market, and across all generations, a mobile channel is something that is desired and highly valued by customers. Studies show that this must be combined with a human advisor relationship, and different segments and generations will use mobile in different ways, but it has to be there. In fact, providing a market leading mobile experience will position you as a digital leader for the next generation of investors and advisors.

This is backed up by data. Numerous surveys from the likes of Accenture, PwC and J.D. Power have highlighted the link between customer satisfaction and a strong mobile offering. An Accenture study found a direct link between mobile app satisfaction and overall client satisfaction and AUM, a PwC study found that 73% of under 45’s consider mobile access very important when selecting a wealth manager and J.D Power found that overall client satisfaction increases when clients interact with a wealth manager’s mobile app. On top of this, a 2020 study by Broadridge found that half of financial advisors (51%) report that they often think of leaving their current firm for one with better technology tools.

It’s clear that a mobile digital experience is a crucial component of an effective client and advisor acquisition and retention strategy.

Why modern customer experience is omni-channel

The customer challenge is complex and wealth managers will have different customer targeting and acquisition strategies across wealth segments and demographics, but as noted above, a mobile-first experience is important for them all.

Younger demographics (Gen Z, Millennials) have less investable assets right now but are digital-natives and have very different needs and preferences to older more traditional investors (Baby boomers and Gen X), but the wealth transfer is happening and will continue. The “great wealth transfer” is expected to be £5.5 trillion over next 30 years. It is clear wealth managers need a cross-generation engagement strategy. This is where an adaptable and personalised mobile experience comes into its own.

UHNW and HNW wealth management has traditionally been about personal relationships and face-to-face, but as the world becomes more digital they are increasingly looking for hybrid digital-advisor solutions. Accenture found that 70% of HNW customers use digital financial services and 85% use at least three mobile devices. The mass affluent and other underserved segments are now being targeted at scale to close the advice gap thanks to digital mobile technology, with self-directed accounts increasingly becoming the gateway through which firms can build the foundation for more lucrative investor relationships and additional services.

Mobile provides the always-on convenience and security that clients demand. It supports a key goal of providing client empowerment through instant access to features such as personalised information and analytics, goal-based visualisations, progress tracking and self-service capabilities.

Mobile is also a very effective and convenient data collection device. It can be used to better understand the clients needs, preferences and habits through self assessment tools, surveys and also real-time behavioural data collection. This is important to drive personalisation and provide ongoing fact finding and monitoring of a client’s situation.

Many wealth managers are looking to build engagement and guide clients to improved financial outcomes through behavioural science by providing personalised nudges, gamification and a wide variety of other techniques. Mobile is the perfect tool to support this through interactive experiences and app-based notifications. It’s also a great tool to engage wider family units in collaborative and intergenerational wealth planning. We often lean on psychological principles when designing apps, through what we call Helpful Behavioural Interventions. These are techniques that can be used to help steer users towards making decisions that support good decision making and better outcomes.

A mobile app can also be a great tool for ongoing client education. It is required under Consumer Duty that clients fully understand the product that they are investing in, and we know that people learn in different ways. Through intelligent mobile experience we can curate personalised learning journeys that are aligned to favoured communication and learning styles.

Mobile can also strengthen the client-advisor relationship and lead to higher quality conversations through efficiency improvements and the direct link this provides to an advisor, giving clients the ability to contact advisors and have more responsive interactions over mobile channels. This is covered more in the next section.

Advisor experience – insightful and automated

The Broadridge study mentioned earlier states that across generations, 74% of financial advisors wish their firm had access to better technology tools, and 82% state that paperwork detracts from time spent working with clients.

An FCA study shows that 50% of advisors are over the age of 55, and 60% of advisor time is spent on non advisory based tasks. In order to attract, retain and get the most out of advisors firms need to automate and empower, to remove mundane tasks and organisational frictions while providing them with the insights to provide better customer service.

The advisor is key in an omnichannel experience, a mobile app in the hands of clients opens up new modes of interactions, and intelligent mobile capabilities in the hands of the advisor, such as dashboards and analytics, arms them with the insights to have high quality conversations.

Mobile can strengthen the client-advisor relationship. Client self-service and automation of routine tasks frees up advisors / RM’s to focus more on high value activity and understanding clients. This enables advisors to focus on areas such as more holistic advice and whole life planning. Mobile is itself also a more natural and convenient direct link to an advisor, and enables clients to connect directly over secure messaging or tools such as Whatsapp to get much quicker answers to questions, and even jump on a mobile video call if needed.

Mobile technology can also be used to support the advisor to have an end-to-end view of internal workflows and status of customer related activity. A mobile dashboard on a tablet for example can be used to surface information to advisors from anywhere, so that they can see the status of requests and middle/back office processes such as onboarding, compliance, transactions, reports etc removing the need for them to manually chase individual people and departments.

The same technology can be used to surface client information, analytics and suggestions that can be reviewed on-the-go ahead of face-to-face meetings, and then automate meeting summaries, actions and kick off next steps automatically. This of course needs digitisation on the back-end to support the mobile experience, but it has the potential to vastly improve the experience of the advisor and by extension the client.

The essential components of intelligent mobile experiences

Harnessing the potential of mobile and AI to create intelligent experiences is not a new strategy, and indeed much of the increased competition from new entrants mentioned above is already doing this. Some of the top app-based UK digital wealth platforms include the likes of MoneyFarm, Nutmeg and Wealthify all offering slick digital interfaces and a variety of services such as robo advice, financial planning and investment funds.

Large banks such as Citi and JPM Wealth Management also have impressive offerings and are able to leverage digital capability from their retail banking arms and invest heavily in internal technology teams and acquisitions. However there is a large majority of the market who are lagging behind in terms of client and advisor digital experience, and the associated innovation and operational efficiency benefits that can be obtained through digital technology and AI.

When we talk about intelligent mobile experiences, there are 3 key components:

Customer research and human-centred design – market leaders are using a human centred design-first approach, using experience and service design to deeply understand users (clients and advisors) to craft the most appealing and intuitive omnichannel experiences. Understanding the intricacies of the needs, preferences and behaviours of targeted wealth bands, demographics, behavioural archetypes and personas along with regulatory mandates around Accessibility and Consumer Duty are critical to a successful solution.

Mobile technology – advances in modern consumer technology such as mobile phones and other touch screen devices such as tablets offer incredibly powerful technology and rich sensors that enable highly responsive, real-time experiences wrapped in the highest levels of biometric security. Mastering mobile architectures and component design is key to creating a future proofed platform that will adapt and evolve with the business and customers.

AI / Generative AI – AI provides the intelligence backbone that underpins a modern mobile solution. The ability to create hyper personalised and adaptive experiences at scale based on an individual client’s needs and preferences is the next frontier and will transform everything from client interactions to investment strategy.

Our conclusion

Wealth managers are entering a period of opportunity driven by changes in customer expectations and profiles, regulatory mandates, competition and rapid developments in digital and AI technology.

Mobile-first omni-channel experiences are a driver of customer satisfaction and retention across all wealth bands and demographics, a key talent acquisition mechanism for advisors and a driver of overall business efficiency. By meeting the core needs of users, wealth managers can both gain a competitive advantage in the market and maintain compliance.

If you would like to get ahead and learn more about intelligent digital experiences then please get in touch. Waracle is a digital technology consultancy specialising in creating client-facing digital experiences and AI solutions in wealth and asset management.


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Simon Hull
Simon Hull
Managing Director