How Large Wealth Management Firms Can Win Over Clients with Modern Digital Experiences

The world was gradually changing toward a more digital-first experience preference and then a pandemic hit, accelerating and permanently altering the ways consumers prefer to interact with service providers. We now expect that service providers to “make it easy for me” across all industries.

Perhaps due to the layers of bureaucracy that tend to limit quick action, advisors at large wealth management firms ($100+ billion in AUM) are stuck in the old ways of working—phone calls, face-to-face meetings and quarterly reports. It’s a dated experience younger generations don’t appreciate. But these firms are also the ones that have the most ability to invest and define a better digital client experience.

This new experience brings benefits to the client, advisor and firm through a personalized client experience, a better understanding of the client and clear action items and differentiation of firms among competitors. Reimagining the entire client journey might be overwhelming, so for the purposes of this article we focus on the possibilities that arise when we design new experiences around financial planning.

Generating New and Interesting Opportunities for Client and Prospect Engagement

Today our digital experiences are transaction driven. Technology tools like DocuSign help us execute forms. Helpful, but boring and doesn’t inspire increased engagement.

The wealth management industry needs to get creative to drive the future of the business. Digital tools could create action centers for end clients that are not necessarily location or time bound and then evaluate the opportunities and challenges associated with them. Better client engagement would lead to improved client retention and lead generation. Implementing engagement tools such as gamification or establishing incentives for engagement as other industries have done, can entice clients to keep coming back to engage with their advisor.

Financial plans are not static. Some ways advisors could build in opportunities for clients and prospects to “play with their plan” include:

  • Use virtual reality (VR) to get clients more involved in high value financial planning.
  • Create a self service planning platform that makes the process more active and accounts for the ongoing nature of planning, letting clients explore how their family’s everyday decisions —like where to go to college—could change their long term financial plan.
  • Capture what clients are doing in a self-service planning tool and trigger an action alert to their advisor within the CRM.
  • Build a lead generation tool that invites prospects to experiment with different financial plans, build model comparisons and send that data to advisors and their marketing automation tools

Additionally,  firms could see a history of advisor and client activities that display value such as a timeline of what the advisor or firm has done and create a task list of “open items” that the client needs to perform. And, they could create a rewards program for referrals to improve efficiency in their prospecting efforts.

All of these engagement opportunities should be personalized. For example, when a client changes a college decision, include the child’s actual name instead of a generic reference such as “14-year old child”.

Digital Engagement Leads to Differentiation

To date, there has been a lot of cultural resistance within wealth management to make interactive digital tools or personalized experiences. This reluctance to drive digital engagement is a result of the industry’s legacy as a relationship business. In reality, someone will democratize these tools and create more transparency and availability in the traditional processes. Disallowing new tools or fearing this change in the way financial advice is delivered will only impair growth as clients become more geographically dispersed, and digital natives become the primary focus of wealth management firms. The firms that become tomorrow’s leaders will be those that embrace the disruption.

The firms that move first will have an advantage. Large wealth management firms are in the unique position to be able to integrate their technology systems together and separate themselves from competitors with a bespoke digital experience. They can mine data to create the next best action for advisors, trigger alerts, and overall deliver a higher level of sophistication to clients.

For support building your modern digital client experience, get in touch.

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