Digital is the big buzz word of the day. We are hearing much about the digitalization of the financial industry. But what does this really mean for our industry, and wealth managers in the Asia Pacific Region (ASPAC). There is a lot of talk about Artificial Intelligence (AI) and the need for unified data sets to keep pace with increasingly complex marketing and regulatory compliance demands. These topics are certainly exciting and worth a review, however, what really matters are the client-facing trends now taking place about which wealth managers need to be aware if they want their business to grow and thrive.

Statistical Trends

According to the statistics website, the number of smart phone users in the ASPAC region will reach 1.5 billion by 2019. In 2017, more than 800 million people were using smart phones in China alone, and smart phone users in India are expected to increase from an estimated 337 million today to an estimated 490 million in 2022 (Source: these numbers with the median age in ASPAC nations (i.e., China – 37.1, India – 27.6, Indonesia – 29.9, Vietnam – 30.1, Philippines – 23.4, Singapore – 34.3, Thailand – 37.2, Malaysia – 28.2) and it becomes apparent why analog wealth management protocols are a thing of the past in Asia.

How Wealth Managers Can Remain Competitive

Capgemini’s Asia-Pacific Wealth Report 2017 outlines the “Capgemini Hybrid Advice Framework.” The report explains that high-net-worth individuals (HNWI) in the ASPAC region have a higher preference for the hybrid advice model (i.e., a combination of wealth manager led advice and automation) than any other global region. This is particularly true with respect to their ability to gain real-time access to portfolio information, and review portfolio performance against goal tracking. To ensure that they are meeting the expectations of their clients and to remain competitive, wealth managers should consider implementing the following measures:

  • Develop easy to navigate apps and user portals;
  • Automate as much as possible in order to accelerate response times to client inquiries;
  • Stay transparent and communicate proactively with the client;
  • Make investment and performance metrics accessible at all times;
  • Provide graphics and update website content dynamically based on changing data sets;
  • Develop a good communication strategy based on channels utilized on smart phones; and
  • Continue to render personalized, highly customized communications through clients’ preferred communications channels whenever you have the opportunity.

As the digital transformation of the financial industry accelerates, wealth managers who embrace the change will find new opportunities and continue to prosper with their clients.

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