Lizè Visser, Head: Distribution at Nedbank Wealth Management
The role of advice and wealth management is deeply personal and will remain so. Despite being a critical enabler to provide the choice, convenience, and flexibility to be in touch with their wealth and wealth manager when and how it suits them, digitisation doesn’t replace human connections. Whether this is face-to-face or over a video call on their phone, tablet, laptop or smart tv in the comfort of their own home.
What it continues to do, however, is enhance our ability to connect as humans. Digital services and developments can improve the quality of the time we have together because they reduce the amount of time spent on low-value transactional activities. This means there is more time to focus on understanding and listening to individual client needs, and then providing clients with globally integrated advice to meet these needs and achieve their goals.
Digital transformation as a tool to improve client needs
Investing time, money and resources on digital transformation is dependent on two things: Firstly, it is about meeting our current client needs and preferences and giving them choices about how they wish to engage with wealth managers from both an advisory perspective and from a transactional perspective to provide service convenience and flexibility. Secondly, focusing on how technology can be used to make our globally integrated advice more accessible for future generations and South Africans that haven’t been able to access the benefits of advice in the past.
This talks to sustainability enhanced access to advice and operational efficiency. The important thing is that in an age of information, more data and more information and more technology is just more noise for clients unless it is personalised, relevant, and makes their lives better and easier. So, it is all about looking at this through a client (of today) lens and a client of the future lens. This sharpens our focus.
Leveraging technology to deliver more value to clients beyond engagement, customer experience and service personalisation
Wealth managers exist to help clients make better financial decisions so that they achieve the future they want. This is done by providing globally integrated advice that connects them to the services and technical expertise they need to protect, grow, bank, invest and give wealth to leave the legacy they wish. It is therefore imperative that we use technology to leverage our knowledge about meeting clients’ needs and depth of technical skills to proactively prompt and help even more clients achieve better wealth outcomes. This means ensuring that their financial decisions are aligned with their stage of life, their personal circumstances and needs and resultant financial plan. It could be as simple as life-stage prompts, ‘lazy balance’ prompts or using technology to embed prompts into transactional requests to trigger an advisory intervention.
A practical example would be promoting clients to take specific actions at certain stages of their lives, like checking their will is up to date if they get married, divorced or have children. Protecting their families and loved ones from risks, and starting to save, and helping them stay on track with investments with personalised prompts and support when there are inevitable market or portfolio-specific dips.
Maintaining the importance of sound advice even in uncertain times
The value of keeping the emotions out of investment decisions can never be overstated. This has proven very beneficial for clients as we continue to navigate through a vulnerable economy, Covid-19, and social unrest. Consistency in providing market insights and client events updates on what we are doing to mitigate potential risks through personal reviews and interactions is equally important. The same would apply from a regulatory environment that exists to set the guard rails for our industry. To prevent unfair business practices and to protect clients – ultimately ensuring good outcomes for all.