Over the last few years, we’ve seen the digitization of various industries completely transform the way the world works. As for the financial services sector, we might be on the cusp of seeing digitization truly disrupt the current scenario to pave way for a digitally-enhanced financial planning and wealth management experience. We have already seen major wealth management firms make the shift towards a digital, omnichannel experience which we will get to in a bit; the question now is how exactly would digitization affect you as an investor?
While change may be gradual and will most probably take some time, there’s no denying a fact that the gears have been set into motion. A definite shift has been observed by many industry experts, and it may not be long before the digital age ushers in a whole new way of approaching financial planning and wealth management. Let’s take a look at what we can expect from the financial planning industry in the digital age.
- More Mobile: With smartphones flooding the market, there is an increased dependency on mobile devices to get things done on a day-to-day basis. According to McKinsey, close to 35% of all interactions that financial planners have with their clients happen over a mobile channel. It has also encouraged people from multiple generations to become more comfortable with engaging remotely with their financial advisors. In fact, owing to a purely digital interaction many new investors may never have to meet their certified financial planner in person.
- More Collaboration: The digital ecosystem has vaporized geographical borders. No matter where you are located, your financial advisor now has the luxury of collaborating with experienced wealth managers across the globe. Cross-border financial planning will be the next big thing; seamlessly allowing investors to allocate wealth in investment channels without going through the hassle of understanding new tax and legal regulations themselves. If you’re an NRI or an investor planning to make an investment outside your home country, look for a financial planner or wealth management firm that offers cross-border financial planning as a service.
- Data-driven Wealth Creation: A robust digital financial planning setup allows you and your financial planner to clearly see how your investments are doing and identify trends and anomalies with higher efficiency. Real-time updates and automated historical analyses provide valuable insights and give investors and financial planners an edge over the rest of the market. With a reduced dependency on humans to gather, clean, and analyse data, your financial planner gets to do more with their time, allowing them to help you make smarter financial decisions, backed by a true, data-driven understanding of the scenario.
- Improved Customer Experience: More good news if you’re an investor. The integration of tracking systems and digital tools in the financial planning industry is set to bring about a paradigm shift in customer experience. Other industries have already set a precedent when it comes to adopting new technology for a well-rounded customer journey and the pressure is on to build exciting new systems for financial services as well. A few of the major wealth management firms have already embraced analytics and digitization and it won’t be long before it permeates through the industry. Investors can expect highly-personalized plans, interactive reports, real-time tracking, and even unified tracking dashboards to see how your portfolio is doing at any point in time.
- The Omnichannel Advantage: You must have heard this word being used a lot in corporate circles these days. What an omnichannel experience refers to is essentially allowing the user to switch between multiple devices and/or platforms, and letting them start off from where they left. Digitization enables financial planners and wealth management firms to interact with existing clients and prospects across multiple channels and helps you, the investor, make better financial decisions by bringing that information straight to you. While financial planners and wealth management firms get the advantage of driving users to take action, users get the advantage of getting experienced financial advice wherever they are, and whenever they want to.
There is one thing that both investors and financial services professionals should keep in mind; digital transformation only augments the factors that help you make better financial decisions, and it is not the means to an end. Wealth management firms and financial advisors and planners must realize that more than an operational change, it is a cultural one. In order to truly bring more value to their investors, it is important to clearly understand the role that services like digital marketing and analytics play in today’s world.