Wealth managers are constantly looking for new ways to grow their business by assessing new potential market and product expansion opportunities across geographies and client segments. An increasing component to this are technology-led models that are increasing the reach of traditional business models.
We believe consistent growth is the result of practical insights and step-by-step guidance to help realize strategic objectives. Our approach has helped leading wealth managers focus on their greatest strengths to gain a competitive advantage in the marketplace by growing their revenues, assets under management and client base.
Front-to-back office digitization
Digitization has transformed much of the financial services industry, yet many wealth management firms have remained largely on the sidelines. The shift to digitization is inevitable and while firms have taken steps at front end digitization, middle and back office digitization is now essential to realize further benefits.
The firms that work with our global and experienced network of professionals master the digitization challenge and accelerate change through use of capabilities such as robotic process automation (RPA). These firms have given themselves a head start in capitalizing on their advantages, raising expectations for their business through stronger client relationships, reduced operating costs and enhanced risk management and regulatory compliance capabilities.
Service models and compensation strategy
Continued regulatory pressures and increased demands for transparency are prompting wealth managers to assess their client service models, product offering, pricing, related compensation and revenue share arrangements.
PwC can help wealth managers assess the magnitude of impact to these areas in alignment with overall strategic vision, customer segment strategy, risk appetite, and regulatory requirements. Our knowledge of emerging trends means we can build the tools, technology and processes to increase your competitiveness through these changes.
Big Data, analytics and artificial intelligence
Increased competition and shrinking fees are pushing wealth managers toward increasingly sophisticated analytic techniques, intelligent automation and artificial intelligence (e.g., natural language processing, chatbots, machine learning). Technology can reduce costs, improve opportunities for growth, innovation and competitive advantage. However, it needs to be used responsibly to avoid bias and provide both explanations for recommendations and transparency on how insights are generated.
Together with our clients, we’re building the next generation of tools and technologies that push current boundaries of speed, efficiency and intelligence, providing a successful approach to responsible artificial intelligence systems and user-friendly tools though programs that deliver early wins and key stakeholder commitment. Leveraging emerging technology, wealth managers can capture and manage data, analyze it to unlock powerful insights and drive value today while rapidly preparing for future opportunities.
Cybersecurity and financial crimes
Fraud, cyber attacks, data breaches and money laundering are common news headline themes. With these headlines come significant financial and reputational losses to their associated financial institutions and raised concerns around weaknesses in cybersecurity controls and the implications of stolen personal data. Firms must manage new regulatory requirements coming into effect this year – the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) has listed fraud first in their 2018 examination priorities.
We are helping wealth managers prepare for this inevitable future by building the innovative tools such as leadership playbooks, technologies to perform prospective risk assessments and agile processes and approaches. The goal being to adapt their operating models to run leaner, nimbler and smarter when responding to the new threat landscape.
Regulatory change and compliance
Regulatory-driven transparency is a global new normal driving the industry closer to the end investor. From the United Kingdom’s Retail Distribution Review, Australia’s Future of Financial Advice and the EU’s MiFID II, we’ve recently seen regulators introduce rules to protect investors, drive increased transparency and reduced conflicts – significantly impacting firms’ business models.
In the US, the DOL Fiduciary Rule prompted firms to re-think their client value proposition across both target segments and lines of business. We worked with 25+ wealth and asset managers on assessing the DOL Fiduciary Rule impact, pioneered compliance solutions, end-to-end support and the insights that propelled their businesses forward. As the SEC Best Interest Standard is finalized, we are working with clients to assess how to adapt to the change.
Technology and operating model design
Wealth managers are facing significant technological changes that will undoubtedly impact their business and operating models. Building an operating model that’s aligned with this ever-changing technology infrastructure continues to be an elusive goal for many wealth managers. They are often dealing with business units and functions operating in a silo separate from the overall business, hoarded or wasted resources, and strategic goals set without follow-through and a culture that dismisses or ignores accountability.
Among other things, an operating model determines behavior, workflow and process design, IT decisions, and investment decisions. Our experience, tools and technology can help you anticipate where the industry is heading and get there first, transforming your business along the way and setting you up for success.
Wealth management continues to be one of the most active sub-sectors for M&A activity, as aggregators attract smaller firms that are grappling with the level of investment required to address regulatory changes (such as the DOL Fiduciary Rule) and technological advances. Simultaneously, over the next decade a large population of retiring financial advisors will be replaced by younger generations who seek higher transparency and lower fee product and service offerings with digital, self-service solutions. The shifting demands for services will require further investments which many smaller RIA and IBD firms are struggling to keep up with.
PwC’s Deals team provides strategy, diligence, synergy analysis and pre- and post-merger integration support to assist wealth management firms with their M&A activities. We also have a dedicated middle-market investment banking boutique with access to the largest global network of professionals who can collectively provide support throughout the acquisition lifecycle. No matter what challenges you as a wealth manager face, we've done it or seen it before, or we can get you to the person who has.