Press release

12 Jan 2020

23% of wealth management clients in the Middle East are looking to switch providers over the next three years

DUBAI, UAE, 12 JANUARY 2020. According to an EY global survey, 23% of wealth management clients in the Middle East are planning to move assets in the next three years, with 50% of clients having already moved their assets in the past three years.

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  • 23% of Middle East clients plan to move their assets from wealth management firms in the next 3 years, while 50% of Middle East clients have moved their assets in the past 3 years
  • Clients in the Middle East are more likely to reevaluate their wealth management providers during major life events such as starting a business or buying a house
  • 25% of wealth management clients in the region currently receive financial advice through mobile apps

According to an EY global survey, 23% of wealth management clients in the Middle East are planning to move assets in the next three years, with 50% of clients having already moved their assets in the past three years.

The EY global survey results showed that in comparison to clients in the Middle East, 32% of global clients moved their assets in the past three years, while another 32% plan to do so over the next three years. While the global sentiment has remained consistent, investors in the Middle East have shown a reduced appetite to move assets compared with just three years ago.

Sarah Sanders, MENA Wealth and Asset Management Leader, EY, says:

“The wealth asset management research conducted by EY does indicate that the movement of assets in the Middle East will slow down in the upcoming years, but there is still a strong opportunity for wealth management firms to attract assets among the Middle East client base. Clients are willing to pay for financial advice, but what they value is evolving rapidly.”

“Wealth management firms need to better understand when their clients would consider moving their assets, the reasons for doing so, and the qualities they are weighing up when selecting a new provider.”

Major life events prompt clients to reevaluate assets

Wealth management clients are more likely to reevaluate and move their assets during major life events. In the Middle East, 75% of clients move their money when starting a new business, 73% make the shift when buying a house, and 60% of clients reconsider their asset management when inheriting or receiving money.

Clients in the Middle East are equally likely to switch wealth asset management providers for any one of six reasons: Quality and reputation, products, advisory capabilities, personal attention, pricing, or technology.

While clients may switch providers for reasons related to service capabilities, they are also looking for wealth managers that share similar values. In the region, 53% of clients are placing more importance on digital savviness, 48% are looking for advisors that are proactive and attentive, and 45% are selecting advisors who demonstrate sound judgement.

As clients move away from more traditional wealth management providers such as private banks and fund managers, brokerage firms and independent advisors are likely to benefit and see an increased interest in their services. Based on the results of the EY global survey, it is expected that up to 48% of Middle East clients will move to brokerage firms, while 40% are likely to favor independent advisors.

In addition, clients in the Middle East will typically use over four different types of wealth providers at the same time to meet different financial needs such as family security, real estate, retirement funds, and university fees.

Sarah adds, “Wealth management clients in the region are cautious and do not want to trust one provider with all of their assets. Instead, they tend to work with institutions that have a long history of success in more stable markets abroad. Clients that do consider investing their assets in the region are often curious to see how the local market might develop. There is therefore a great opportunity for wealth asset providers in the region to cultivate relationships with these clients and build trust over time, ultimately leading to an increase in the number of assets invested in the Middle East.”

Clients keen to adopt digital solutions for regular access to investments and advice

Client preferences in the wealth asset management sector are rapidly changing toward digital and voice-enabled assistants – not just for basic, transactional activities, but to manage wealth and receive financial advice. In the Middle East, 46% of clients highly value simple, intuitive digital processes for their investment activities while 25% currently receive financial advice through mobile apps.

“As clients redirect their asset management towards alternative business models, the demand for digital solutions that offer 24x7 anytime, anywhere access on any device is on the rise – in fact, 20% of clients in the Middle East say that they would switch wealth asset management firms today for such a service. In addition, there is a fast-growing preference among clients to use mobile apps not only for executing transactions but for opening accounts, monitoring results, rebalancing their portfolio, and learning about products and services. The future success of wealth management firms in the Middle East, in an increasingly high-tech sector, will be determined by their ability to to keep up with the pace of change and reconfigure their digital delivery model to meet these expectations,” concludes Sarah.

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