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To say the needs and preferences of wealth management clients are changing would be the understatement of the decade. Gone are the days when a senior couple facing retirement would approach a single financial services firm to handle all their money management needs. Today's wealth management clients are just as likely to be millennials wanting to invest in a profitable financial future or a cryptocurrency investor who wants to learn about opportunities to invest their earnings.

Practice managers who understand the rapid changes happening in their industry and the diverse financial needs of their clients are better positioned to grow their firms and help their financial services advisors keep pace with the changing wealth management services sector. The following are seven key points practice managers need to know how client needs are evolving.

1. Technological Edge: There is a growing desire from wealth management clients for financial advisory services that give them an extra edge in improving their wealth management efforts. Clients want to know their financial services firms are using the latest technologies for improving their clients' portfolios, and this includes services like artificial intelligence-enabled money management recommendations and the use of machine learning to better predict financial outcomes.

2. Enhanced Services: In the last year, total global wealth in the US grew by 6.4% and global high net worth individuals (HNWIs) wealth is projected to nearly triple in size from 2006-2025 and to surpass US$100 trillion by 2025. HNWIs increasingly are looking for enhanced wealth management services. Practice managers need to ensure their firms are positioned to attract these upscale clients and serve their needs. To that end, they need to help their Financial Advisors offer a premium, timely, highly-individualized, omni-channel experience (see point 7 below.)

3. Contemporary Money Management Worldview: Today's savvy financial services clients are no longer satisfied to have one firm handle all their wealth management needs. Clients are using a myriad of money management tools and mobile applications, e.g. RobinHood.com, and expect their financial services firms to take their diverse financial needs and preferences into account. Practice managers need to ensure their wealth managers are up-to-date on the shifting sands of client preferences and stay abreast of new tools and services their clients might be using. Paying close attention to changes in the fintech startup sector is an excellent way for financial advisors and practice managers to remain in the know about their own industry. Wealth management firms not putting a focus on adviser knowledge and industry training will be putting themselves at a serious disadvantage against their competitors.

4. Cybersecurity: With growing concern over cybersecurity, today's wealth management clients are looking for premium-level security from their financial services partners. They want to know their wealth management firm is taking all necessary precautions to protect their data and ensure their financial futures aren't put in jeopardy due to deficient security measures. Practice managers who understand the growing need for superior cybersecurity measures are better positioned to not only protect their clients' data, but to use their tough stance on cybersecurity as a selling point to attract more clients.

5. Thought Leadership: Thanks to increasing interest in the financial services sector, today's wealth management clients are looking for more information from their money management partners. It is no longer enough for a wealth management firm to assist their clients with managing their financial portfolio; today's financial consumers want their financial services advisors to assist them in learning more about smart money management practices. From company blogs advising on the latest investment trends, to weekly email newsletters about robotic process automation and cryptocurrency market trends, smart wealth management practice managers need to take a multi-pronged approach to client education.

6. Blockchain: There is growing demand from clients for blockchain and smart contract solutions from their wealth management partners. Practice managers who make it their mission to develop a deep understanding of blockchain technology and its implications for the financial services sector will be better able to lead their advisors into the future of wealth management. 

7. Omnichannel: Practice managers who realize their clients expect to be engaged seamlessly whenever and whenever they wish, when seeking financial management advice/services, need to address the need for customer-journey mapping and omnichannel engagement strategies. A customer journey map tells the story of the customer’s experience: from initial contact, through the process of engagement and into a long-term relationship. These maps, usually an infographic, highlight potential gaps that exist in what devices and channels customers use to engage their financial advisor (see below.)

Customer-Journey-Map

Source: Enabling Customer Driven Innovations Using Business Architecture

This information then could be used to ensure that the online and offline experience the customer has with the firm is seamless.

As the needs of wealth management clients change, practice managers need to change too if they want to continue to build a sound financial services firm. Understanding how the demands of their clients are shifting offers an opportunity for practice managers to transform their agency and help their financial advisors grow. Failure to keep up with changing client needs is no longer an option; agency survival depends on a willingness to change and adapt.

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Disclaimer

The above article is meant for information purposes only and is not intended in any way to provide legal or other advice for any specific situation.  Readers always should consult their own tax, accounting and legal advisors before taking any action related to the above article or subject matter.

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