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April 2022

The Growing Role of Relative Technology in Facilitating Wealth Management


Introduction
Technological advancements in wealth management have come a long way since time immemorial, transforming the industry into assisting clients in meeting their needs with dire accuracy. Family Offices are bound to deal with the apprehension of keeping sensitive data of their clients private and dodge the normalized trend of making information public in the era of the internet. Since software applications can now provide clients with individualized wealth management advice through recent breakthroughs in big data, machine learning, and artificial intelligence, it can be challenging for family offices to vindicate themselves while laying parallel to the realm of technology. For instance, it's no discovery that providing wealth management services to a family involves the administration of funds and investments. Yet furthermore, it is crucial to consider the factors behind the kind and level of technology that previous generations might have used while managing wealth. This is an essential practice to consider for family offices so that the degree of technological change is not entirely beyond the understanding of their clients. Moreover, through this practice, the clients know the path being chosen to supervise their funds. Let us take a look at how technology has played, plays, and will continue to play an imperial role in the wealth management industry.

Technology: The Wealth & Business Enabler
Not so long ago, there was a very prominent era in time where it took several days to formulate sheets and execute numbers to assess the wealth management procedure. It was undoubtedly a series of tedious tasks piled up for even the best financial advisors and wealth managers. In contrast to excluding this traditional method, the conventional method of allocating and administering funds is still considered imperative over the digital method of robo-advisors. Artificial Intelligence has profoundly impacted the industry of wealth management in various strata. Though artificial intelligence is essential to the growth of the wealth management industry, it is definitely not an approach towards completely replacing a human embraced field into a digitally handled niche. This is because as much as technology is conducive to carrying on general tasks, it undoubtedly remains dynamic. With constant changes to AI tools, clients are more likely to assert favouritism towards the traditional approach of financial advisors. The former argument still holds a divided view amongst clients as some might consider digitalization to be a more effective method. The contrasting views of families or clients are what will hinder the industry from turning into a full-fledged technology-based business.

However, specific crucial questions are left un-asked most of the time. The doubt remains: How can one expertise in building technology that is relevant to help clients and facilitate ease-of-business for family office in India? A rational answer comprises a blend between the technical and financial experts. Family offices or wealth management firms should acquire help from knowledgeable personalities who would help them weigh out the pros and cons of coding software or computer-based services. Expanding the connection tree of wealth management firms is an implicit way of meeting experts, including other family office professionals and service providers in the industry networking groups.

There is always a complication for client management firms regarding whether it is better to create a technological platform or outsource the required conditions needed in a digitalized service. Keeping in mind that every advantage might have to compromise on another advantage, there are situations that the firms should first assess. With creating one's own platform, there lies the task of appointing a capable and professional tech team, assigning a well-versed project manager, engaging in risks, and being continuously involved in making that service better for a never-ending time period. Thereby, it is best advised for firms to search for an outsourced scheme. Apart from ensuring a talented group of specialists, the technology-based company can understand innovation better than no other. They are usually adept in their skills and render exclusive services to preserve the technology ecosystem.

Automation in Wealth Management
Automation, beneficial to complete day-to-day repetitive tasks, has been attracting the attention of quite a considerable number of family offices lately. Wealth management firms provide automation as a service to their clients via either mobile applications or their tech-savvy websites. Automation is also responsible for advising on what stocks to pursue and building the clients' investment portfolios. This, in turn, assists the clients in staying up to date with how their funds are being handled on a routine. The clients receiving such customized driven service powered by well-built AI codes help financial advisors in strategizing their core abilities into aspects that require unequivocal expert intervention. Family offices are likely to relieve their clients from ambiguity with such a service as no client would encourage their funds to go unattended by themselves. Accuracy in presenting data is the main reason AI exists in the industry. With technology constantly improving, the investment and portfolio advisory is handled with utmost efficiency.

To exemplify, Client Associates has been one of the first wealth management companies to introduce their mobile application that provides clients with personalized portfolio data and reports at the tip of their fingers. This ensures transparency is maintained between the financial advisors and the clients.

It is no surprise that repetitive tasks assigned to financial managers are capable of being automated. In an age and day where digitalization is the crux of how the majority of the firms function, particular tasks such as reporting and managing compliance can be automated as these tasks lay far behind from asking for any sort of professional expertise. This type of automation would negate any ambiguity where certain employees are not adding value to the working of the wealth management firm or to their own growth, for that matter. For instance, drafting reports quarterly, half-yearly, or annually can be automated, making the outcome error-free and allowing firms to facilitate positions requiring talent and an efficient skill set. Such a system will encourage clear, planned, and quick decision-making by outsourcing automation to reduce the consensus of workload concerning repetitive tasks. This strata of functioning will be responsible for maintaining checks and balances on how the technology is merely a business enabler and not a threat to the significantly required and distinct human input. Wealth management firms looking to combine manual expertise and technical assistance can produce optimistic outcomes that would help the experts, the firms, and the clients.

Robo-advisors and their Impact on the Modern Selling Approach
With improvements in technology each passing day, one may question the stance of the traditional financial advisors in the economy. With the era of robo-advisors fast emerging, it is surprising that clients prefer using the services of traditional financial advisors over technology-based robo-advisors. Robo-advisors provide services at a cheaper rate than traditional financial advisors. The difference is clear, giving robo-advisors a clear edge. However, clients are more inclined towards opting for the traditional method of selling. Why is that? The answer to this is highly behavioral contemplating to human psychology: clients prefer their finances to be handled by another human being instead of handing it out in the hands of technology.

It is also essential to bring light to the aspect that robo-advisors are operative only when there is a laid down model for the clients on how they want to pursue their portfolio and if it would be constructive to off-load from the manual intervention. Robo-advisors, as mentioned previously, are inherently not preferred by a large number of investors. The idea that a client would have to put in time and effort and analyze their portfolio to work alongside robo-advisors can be a tedious amount of work. Needless to say, this alternative could work exactly how confident investors desire it to work based on their needs and requirements. Thereby, it is crucial to plot out one's needs and requirements before opting for a particular method of managing funds. There is no certainty that a specific way that helps one client flourish would provide the same benefits to another. The outline of every client's portfolio differs, and analysis could turn out to be of more significant help for a specific number, while robo-advising could be sufficient for the remaining. Certain firms in the wealth management industry have also started to provide clients with a blend of traditional and modern selling approaches to match their dynamics.

India has been gradual in entering the robo advisory sector. With Rs. 300 crores in assets comprising the entire market of robo advisors, the development has not been weak even though it has been slow to adapt to it. There are a total of forty parties working in this area of interest. To name a few: Scripbox, Invezta, Goalwise, Funds India, Advise Sure etc. The target consumers for attaining robo-advisory in India have been distinguished to cater to clients' needs with different requirements. These methods are divided into three other models:

  • Baskets that are self-chosen – This model includes several packages that the investors can pick from. These are easy-to-use investment platforms. Investors investing for the first time are free to avail boxes of funds such as equity, fixed income, and tax saving.
  • Goal-based Advisors – According to the goals of the users, online services are provided under this platform.
  • Full- Service Robo-Advisors – A critically personalized portfolio is provided under this model. They help calculate risk, savings, and financial goals and explain the users' spending patterns.

To put out a generation wise statistical note in general, millennials are significantly more likely than previous generations to use mobile financial applications to handle their wealth. This is crucial since they are constantly managing their funds and visiting their financial institutions every month - an average of 8.5 times. Although Gen X and Boomers are increasingly embracing banking apps as an asset, they do not find it a crucial resource, and they merely connect with their accounts 3.1 times per month on aggregate. Thereby, how quickly technology is immersing as an industry trend is an exciting lookout for personalities with financial interests. The market for robo advisory in India is currently in the development stage, but its potential can make it exclusively successful in the near future.

Conclusion
Family offices can transform the idea of wealth management from a single-minded approach into the most reliable systems with a well-drafted foreseeable plan. The technological ecosystem is a vast aspect that can ensure stability to the clients for an extensive period. With technology ever-growing, the quality of work can essentially be improved, and the standard would definitely be raised. However, this would only make the industry better for the clients by providing them with precise data and satiable results. The right experts obligated to bring in such technology and talent in the industry are what it takes to build a fruitful future in the wealth management industry.


Garima Gulati Bhutani
Associate Director- Human Resources and Communications
Client Associates, Gurgaon
Reach at: garimagulati@clientassociates.com