In our view, the best way for wealth managers to meet clients’ fast-changing engagement preferences is to offer a frequent, seamless, omni-channel combination of virtual engagement and traditional in-person advice — in effect, a next generation hybrid model.
But how can firms achieve this in practice?
One key element is placing advisors at the heart of digital transformation. Human contact remains crucial, and next-generation hybrid models should offer improved and more frequent advisor access — even if it is increasingly enabled via virtual channels. Most crucially, prioritizing up-front client face time will help to strengthen trust, making subsequent virtual or digital interactions more valuable.
Another obvious element is the digital enablement of every interaction. For example, a clear, digitally led onboarding experience – including the ability to track account status and share setup documents — is highly valued. Strong digital capabilities also allow clients to move to self-service whenever they feel a human touch is unnecessary or unwanted.
In addition, firms need to make omni-channel experiences smooth, flexible and efficient. That not only means giving investors control over their engagement choices but also maintaining holistic oversight that allows firms to monitor and manage client interactions consistently.
Finally, next-generation hybrid models need to integrate innovative digital capabilities into every channel, including in-person advice. That will maximize the value of every interaction and introduce greater collaboration into wealth management relationships. Specific examples could include:
- Harnessing AI to generate instant client insights, helping advisors to make every conversation differentiated
- Developing scenario modelling tools to simulate shocks and prepare clients for future episodes of volatility
- Using virtual channels to help clients access the right person at the right time, such as insurance brokers, tax experts, certified financial planners or market analysts
Implemented successfully, next-generation hybrid models will enhance personalization and client collaboration and education — deepening investor understanding, involvement and ownership.