December 12, 2023
Technology, demographics and client expectations are creating new pressures on wealth managers
Your high net worth clients can take their assets anywhere at any time. To attract and retain their business, your firm needs to be positioned to win.
As an executive in this highly competitive and fragmented landscape, you know there are four essential ingredients to attract registered investment advisors (RIAs) and their clients to your platform:
- Access to investment alternatives that will yield higher returns
- High-touch client service
- Banking services to complement wealth management services
- Attention from a broader team who can take over the book of business if and when the lead RIA leaves or retires
But since excellent service and performance are mere table stakes, these four elements might not be enough to achieve and maintain a winning standard. Your wealth managers must offer a fifth fundamental ingredient: authority.
Greentarget is a PR firm serving clients in a variety of professional services industries. As such, we regularly talk to wealth managers about the challenges they’re facing. Here’s a look at what we’ve heard from them — and why we think carving out unique positions of authority is key to transforming your industry challenges into growth opportunities.
Challenge 1: Investor Demographics Are Shifting
Now more than ever, wealth managers play a personal role in their clients’ lives. As people live longer, face the effects of long-term inflation on their assets’ purchasing power, and experience increasingly fragmented family lives, it’s common for RIAs to become confidantes and friends to the clients they serve.
In light of this, wealth managers also have the opportunity to become trusted authorities on the issues that matter most to their changing clientele.
What do we mean by the word authority? As we explain in our Manifesto, authority is different from thought leadership. Whereas thought leaders share ideas, authorities know. They draw on their distinct perspective and proven experience — and then deliver clear, succinct insights that are supported by fact, narrative, and cutting-edge data.
How could your wealth managers become true authorities who are not just heard, but also heeded and implicitly trusted by clients? Here are a few examples of ways your RIAs could make their mark:
- Put resources in place to support older women and protect them from manipulation and abuse.
- Help clients of all ages plan for their post-retirement lives, including navigating the nuances of moving to a continuing care retirement community or otherwise making provisions for future long-term care.
- Offer business succession planning for family-owned businesses to transfer ownership from one generation to another.
- Create an avenue to serve HENRYs (high earners, not rich yet) and help them grow their wealth from the ground up.
The world is changing fast. Women in particular are an underserved demographic who need advice specific to their circumstances. And if your firm is not taking steps to carve out unique points of view on the issues that matter to your changing clientele, someone else will.
Challenge 2: Emerging Technologies Like ChatGPT Threaten Disruption
At first glance, the rise of emerging technologies — especially generative AI — presents a formidable challenge to the wealth management industry. But while it’s true that AI-powered tools like ChatGPT can develop a diversified portfolio in seconds, many clients are reluctant to rely solely on AI-generated recommendations.
This isn’t surprising when you consider the demographic shifts we’ve discussed already. Clients — especially older audiences — don’t want to be served by an algorithm. They want a personalized touch that only humans can provide, particularly when it comes to managing their wealth. So as AI continues to evolve, wealth managers must strike a delicate balance between automation and personalized service to meet sky-high expectations while remaining efficient and competitive.
In addition to ChatGPT, the proliferation of robo advisors and the digitization of assets further complicates the wealth management landscape. Robo advisors offer a low-cost alternative to traditional wealth management, making it more challenging for human advisors to compete. The digitization of assets, on the other hand, introduces complexities related to security, compliance, and data management. Wealth managers must adapt to these digital advancements by incorporating them into their service offerings, all while ensuring that clients’ assets remain safe and that their financial goals are met.
So how can your wealth managers stay ahead of the technology-related curve? Again, they must become authorities on these issues and solidify a unique point of view that differentiates them from all the other voices clamoring for attention.
A forward-looking, creative POV on emerging technology and its role in asset management can drive interest and goodwill among current and potential clients.
Challenge 3: Economic and Security Concerns Have Investors on High Alert
As you well know, investors continue to be highly concerned about their assets as a result of the extended period of economic uncertainty we’re all experiencing. Even so, this macro-level financial insecurity and banking industry turmoil comes with an opportunity.
While big-name brands like Wells Fargo and FTX continue to suffer from the far-flung ramifications of serious reputational crises, your financial services firm has the chance to build a highly respected and trusted reputation.
To build your growing firm’s brand, your wealth managers must demonstrate:
- Integrity. Can clients trust that your firm will do the right thing at all times?
- Stability. Especially in the midst of industry consolidation through mergers and acquisitions, do your clients know your firm is stable?
- Security. In an age of cybersecurity attacks, phishing schemes, and scams galore, is your asset custody platform strong and impenetrable?
- High-touch service. Since big-name wealth management firms struggle to offer proactive, intentional communication, are there ways you can position your firm to stand out by offering ultra-personalized, excellent service?
You may not be able to build the kind of solid, unimpeachable brand reputation JP Morgan enjoys overnight. But with time and intentional, proven PR strategies, you can create a name for your firm that becomes synonymous with integrity and excellence.
Invest in PR to Position Your Wealth Management Firm for Success
Trust is the currency on which your firm is built. So when it comes to staying ahead of the competition in an industry like yours, positioning your wealth managers as trusted authorities becomes its own kind of ROI.
But in your fast-moving industry, it can already feel challenging to keep up with the daily demands of managing the assets of high-net-worth clients. Establishing and articulating unique positions of authority via owned media and earned media channels is unlikely to rise to the top of your wealth managers’ priority lists — unless they have expert help.
That’s where Greentarget comes in. We’ve worked with hundreds of professional services firms to build their brand, hone authoritative positions, and overcome their particular industry challenges. We’d love to help you, too. So let’s talk.