The report based on a survey of 1,000 HNWIs (high net worth individuals) in Europe, North America and Asia, said that one of the key challenges in India has been the cost to serve, and that a digital offering can create substantial impact on this segment in India, if the suitable hybrid models are identified, keeping mass-affluent and less-affluent in consideration.
It also highlighted that only a quarter of wealth managers offer digital channels beyond email and what they offer is sharply at odds with what the HNWIs expect. Over half of HNWIs surveyed believe it is important for their financial advisor or wealth manager to have a strong digital offering - a proportion that rises to almost two-thirds among HNWIs under 45 and in Asia, the report said. Yet, players in the wealth management sector seem to be oblivious to their technology inadequacies, some even overestimating their firm’s digital capability, rating it digitally sophisticated, when the only service offered to clients is a website, it said. "The wealth management industry both globally and in India is no exception to this trend. Wealth managers enjoy high levels of relationship and trust with their clients and this art of personal touch when combined with digital innovation will drive the next level of growth in the wealth management space," the report added.
According to PwC, very few wealth management firms have automated and digitised their back office and administrative functions. A mere one in 10 employs social media with their clients and many are only now investing in web portals and basic mobile apps.
“Ignoring this state of affairs is not an option. If firms do not respond now, they simply will not survive in the medium to long term,” said Barry Benjamin, global asset and wealth management leader at PwC. "The investment office may, for example, have to evaluate more than 200 different investment products for a client, and where clients are also aware of what automated technology can do in the investment advisory space. Technology will be vital to keep the job both do-able and scalable for a growing audience," he added.