The digital evolution from screens to mobile apps to digital assistants
Client engagement in wealth management needs to keep step with the opportunities of advancing digital innovation. First-generation digital channels such as websites are becoming less important, while mobile apps set the new standard for enhanced client engagement. But wealth managers should be aware that a new digital wave is on the horizon: voice-enabled assistants.
Clients are beginning to demand technologies that can listen, learn, process complex language and anticipate needs – not just for basic, transactional activities, but also to manage wealth and receive financial advice. The challenge for wealth management firms is how to balance such evolving high-tech solutions with “high-touch” advisory services that offer clients a seamless and personalized experience.
Our global research revealed that the adoption rate for voice-enabled technologies is likely to be quicker in other markets around the world than in Germany. This provides an opportunity for German wealth managers to learn from other jurisdictions and industries and give clients what they’re looking for. Mobile apps are now the most preferred interaction channel in Germany, but the data shows potential for further growth. Voice-enabled assistants aren’t yet widespread, and personal interaction remains a key element in client relationships.
We believe that wealth managers should develop their digital change agenda by including mobile apps and voice-enabled technology in their client engagement tools to keep up to date with evolving client preferences.
Keeping pace with digital change
In recent years, digital technology has evolved faster than wealth management companies – and their clients – expected. A comparison of results from the most recent EY global research study and our 2016 survey highlights how challenging it is for German wealth managers to predict future changes accurately.
For example, in 2016, clients in Germany vastly underestimated how quickly their preference for mobile applications would grow over other methods of engagement. Almost 13% of clients preferred mobile apps across the different wealth management activities, and the projected usage was only marginally higher at 15% in the next two to three years. But actual preference has since doubled: mobile apps are the preferred channel for almost 27% of German wealth management clients to engage with their provider, followed by websites and face-to-face interaction (see figure C1).