The investment & wealth management industry is going through a monumental digital shift. Before 2020, digitalisation had long been predicted, but both investors and firms were relatively slow to demand or implement change: meetings mainly took place in person, conference calls were made over the phone, and digital upgrades were put off.

Then, when the pandemic hit everything changed, creating the perfect storm to accelerate digitalisation. Adoption of digital technology became mandatory for wealth businesses to operate at all, posing new challenges and opportunities for wealth managers to navigate and take advantage of. Almost overnight, business models evolved, and client expectations rose. But now, clients find themselves ever more reliant on new technologies and are providers actively prioritising digital innovations as fee structures are once again questioned.

Deloitte's recent study in conjunction with ESI ThoughtLab – Wealth and Asset Management 4.0 – show that 40% of clients now say digital access has greater importance in decision making. And three-quarters of wealth firms believe that investors primary engagement channel will be digital within two years.

Wealth firms see great opportunity for better outcomes as a result of the digitalisation of infrastructure:

"Every company is going through digital transformation, and it will continue forever. As technology gets more sophisticated, wealth management firms will find new ways to understand their clients and serve them better. Every side of the business will go through digital transformation, from onboarding and transactions to wealth management advice." 

The early shifting signals

So, what has driven 75% of wealth executives to think digital will be the default interaction? Mobile technology. Apps have fast become the primary medium of client engagement, and they've taken over from websites, phone calls, in-person meetings, email, messaging, and texting. And the customer experience expectation has never been higher. The potential convenience of having everything both investors and firms need in one place, on mobile, is unparalleled.

Clients now seamlessly and securely manage their wealth whilst gaining advice, insights, and relevant content in one place.

Of course, striking a balance between high-tech delivery and a high-touch approach will be tricky. But as the research shows, companies that embrace digital transformation will, on average, increase productivity by nearly 14%, AUM by 8.1%, and revenue by 7.7%. Suggesting the rewards of shifting to digital certainly outweigh the initial effort.