Imagine you know all about your client’s wide and varied interests, from their passion for contemporary art to their once being a semi-professional athlete. Imagine a hundred pages of well organised information that helps inform your client engagement and tailor your recommendations accordingly. Imagine you could do the same for prospective clients. All without inflicting painstaking form-filling that doesn’t capture the complexity of the individual, and that quickly becomes out-of-date.
Hyper-personalisation goes way beyond a standard set of investment portfolio ideas and savings plans to advise based on goals, needs, and interests across every life stage. It uses Artificial Intelligence (AI) for granular and proactive understanding to supercharge the client relationship at the heart of wealth management.
The industry recognises an opportunity with AI, though so far, this is materialising into small ad-hoc testing or proof of concepts. Opportunities for AI are seen in the more obvious mid and back office where repetitive tasks and more readily measurable data seems more prevalent. There is, as yet, no firm-wide strategy for using AI as a customer-experience and relationship-building opportunity at the front end.
This may be in part due to the common misconception that AI takes away from the relationship, a robotic, dull and diluted experience. This isn’t where AI sits in wealth management. AI will assist the wealth manager in building insight, whilst also giving back time to the wealth manager to work on the all-important personal connection.
Consider if you have 500 points of dynamic, constantly evolving information about an individual client, it can be hard to process and track all of that. AI can analyse and see connections far more quickly and enable a sophisticated level of hyper-personalisation that adds real value. This also enables you to micro-segment prospective clients and be more efficient in approaching them. For instance, we can be much more granular in our understanding of behaviours and the complexities that make up an individual, such as their interests in sport or science or their personality traits.
Having this detail not only saves time and costs but supercharges advice, leading to even better investment decisions. And think about the time spent generating proposals and reports. Whatever a client’s interest, from inflation to home heating technology, AI can proactively prepare documents in a fraction of the time.
If there was one thing that the recent market volatility showed us, it was that clients weren’t jumping online when things became uncertain; they were ringing their advisors. That human take, the reassurance, the connection, is at the core of what wealth managers do and is never going to change. However, some things must change, not least because clients increasingly expect an experience that is comparable to other services in their lives. In fact, clients continuously compare and give feedback as they benchmark financial services against consumer retail services. The sorts of imaginings in the opening of this article are the level of client care your clients are already expecting.
A new model
As wealth managers move further away from a transaction-based model to a flat-fee-under-contract one, the need to broaden and lengthen the scope of their investment advice increases. Clients will expect a lot more for their money, with higher engagement and considerably more insight that is relevant to them. By embracing and harnessing the power of AI, wealth managers will open up a new range of opportunities to engage and delight their clients.
AI is a big journey. It will require a firm-wide top-down approach, with a clear vision of how AI technology will enable better outcomes for the client and the firm. By undertaking it, you can meet clients' growing expectations and help them to make the best investment decisions they can across their entire life. The personal connection isn’t going to change but there is change needed in this digital age of high expectation. And if this still seems far away, the new Consumer Duty (from the UK's Financial Conduct Authority) is already affecting how wealth managers deal with their clients. This is an opportunity to lay the foundations for an AI-powered platform.