The wealth management customer base is changing – both in behavior and age. Baby Boomers are shifting from growth to protection strategies or passing their wealth on to younger generations.
Millennials are increasingly taking their place in the core client base and they’re vastly different than the Boomers. They’re digital natives who are well educated, hands-on, and cautious investors.
In a recent webinar presented by Celent, analyst Ashley Globerman describes a wealth management landscape already influenced by millennials, who have “grown up during a time of technological change, globalization and economic volatility, which has influenced their behaviors and experiences. Millenanials are tech-savvy, encumbered with debt, philanthropic, financially risk-averse, and have a culturally inclusive worldview.” (A. Globerman, Serving Nextgen Investors: Innovative Technologies and Platforms webinar, Celent, May 11, 2017.)
The sales, service, and client retention techniques that worked for Baby Boomers are not relevant to this group. They will come to you when they’re ready and only after they’ve done all the research they need to be sure you’re the right advisor for them. They don’t want to be sold to – they want to be collaborated with. They don’t want to meet in person and they’re impatient with lengthy form-filling exercises (although, in fairness, who isn’t?) Millennials want smart suggestions based on their interests and life stages. And they want fast, efficient digital processes and self-serve.
Wealth management firms looking to capture the millennial market need to act now to:
- Build trust and brand recognition through value-added digital engagement. Firms and advisors alike need to contribute to the brand by sharing research, financial and lifestyle tips, and other information that adds value to readers. Some generic content might be suitable for brand building but, to be truly effective, the content needs to be tailored to the unique interests of each investor and shared through the investor’s preferred channel (social media, newsletter, SMS, etc.)
- Make interactions efficient by automating and digitizing processes like client onboarding and KYC. Paper-based processes are error-prone and time-consuming. Digitizing and integrating processes with CRM equips advisors with all the right forms, pre-filled with existing information to save time and increase accuracy. Completed forms can be submitted immediately to compliance for approval so accounts can be opened and active within hours instead of days.
- Empower investors by enabling self-service, collaboration, and transparency through a secure portal. Today’s clients want to view their account information, collaborate through secure chat with the advisors, and complete functions such as address change on their own time, on the device of their choosing. Integrating the client portal with CRM enables firms to share accurate, real-time information and messages within a secure, properly-permissioned framework.
- Respect their stages of life and milestones by personalizing sales and service to their unique journey. Advancements in AI and machine learning are enabling wealth management firms to better tailor interactions, products, and services than ever before. CRM with embedded AI enables firms to engage proactively with the right interaction at the right time. For example, AI enables customer loyalty programs that not only prompt advisors to engage with customers at the right time, but also provide engagement suggestions personalized to each investor.
Adapting sales and service models to the millennial mindset is a sound future-proof strategy, even for advisors who are not actively pursuing millennials. Firms or advisors who think their client base is too wealthy, too busy, too old, or too hands-off to want digital options are likely missing the point. In research conducted by Celent for the above-referenced webinar, 86% of respondents reported a change in the technological aptitude of their clients in the previous twelve to eighteen months. (A. Globerman, Serving Nextgen Investors: Innovative Technologies and Platforms webinar, Celent, May 11, 2017.)
Today’s client is dramatically different than that of 10 or 20 years ago and, like it or not, they’re the face of your future. Is your sales, service, and client retention model ready to take on the millennial market?