Report: Productivity-boosting tech is key to growth in wealth management

John Watts, Managing Director of Cheetah

For a generation, financial professionals have been chasing high-net-worth clients.

It makes sense. HNW clients are the most profitable, after all.

Many financial service providers have built their entire business model around HNW clients, with account minimums that exclude most middle-class and upper middle-class investors.

The challenge with this strategy is that you and your competitors are all fighting for a very narrow segment of the population — and that population segment is becoming even more narrow.

According to a 2023 report from the Capgemini Research Institute, the number of high-net-worth individuals in North America declined by a whopping 6.9 percent in 2022. Capgemini attributed the drop to a market decline, but you can’t ignore demographics either.

The Baby Boomer generation, which holds most American wealth, is aging into retirement — and beyond. In coming years, they are expected to pass around $70 trillion to their heirs, which means all that wealth will be divided and redistributed to Gen X and millennial investors.

Simply put, your cash cows will be gone, replaced by — please pardon the livestock metaphor — a lot of calves who need a lot more time and nurturing.

So how do you remain profitable?

The right technology is the key

This big shakeup creates a lot of opportunity, but only if you tackle it the right way.

One thing is for certain though, you cannot maintain the status quo while you wait for these younger investors to become as reliably profitable as their parents were. Few businesses can handle a downturn that will last that long, and there are too many variables out of your control.

In other words, you can’t control the output, but you can control the input.

Finding a way to serve these next-generation clients in a way that is cost-effective and labor-effective for your organization is the fastest way to make them profitable.

And the best way you can unlock this new growth opportunity is through better technology.

According to the Capgemini report, the future of scalability in wealth management lies in prioritizing investment in digital tools, automated processes, and relationship manager productivity.

Furthermore, the report notes, better technology leads to better client satisfaction.

“I’d argue there’s never enough time in a relationship manager’s day,” said Greg Gatesmen, Head of International Wealth Management for Morgan Stanley. “Back-office automation and implementation of AI-enabled tools are priorities for today’s WM firms and a lot of investments should go into these initiatives to free up RMs for more client-facing time.”

Legacy platforms won’t cut it

The study quoted Jacqui Henderson, founder and CEO of Advice Intelligence, who cautioned against depending on legacy systems.

Legacy systems are outdated systems that are still in use, and they often have large market shares. Legacy providers coast on previous successes but have abandoned any efforts to continue innovating or to bring new value to clients, because investing in R&D is costly for software companies.

“The legacy technology is the status quo around friction-filled inefficient wealth processes,” Henderson said.

Not only are these systems inefficient, but they are rife with risk.

Many of these legacy systems are built on programming languages from the 1950s. Legacy providers often slap a modern, SaaS-style interface on these systems, but the underlying technology remains the same — old, slow and vulnerable.

Philip Yu, Cheetah’s Director of Products, compared using legacy systems in a wealth management business to owning a house with old plumbing.

“We know it’s going to rust out and burst anytime soon,” he said. “But to yank the old plumbing out is costly. But when is that breaking point? That’s a dark secret. Those legacy providers aren’t going to come out and talk about this.”

Work smarter with Cheetah

Cheetah is a cloud-native trust accounting platform that delivers efficiency, scalability, and profitability to wealth management processes.

Unlike legacy providers, Cheetah was built from the ground up using modern technologies and best practices. This sets Cheetah’s forward-thinking clients up for dependable, growth-empowering service for decades to come.

Stories of newfound efficiency among Cheetah clients are abundant.

At Western Adventist Foundation in Arizona, quarterly billing once required six weeks, according to Richard Harrison, general counsel.

“Now it takes a week-and-a-half,” Harrison said. “That’s because of Cheetah.”

Cheetah is an essential part of any growth strategy. You too can be confident about your future with technology that delivers efficiency, scalability, and profitability, even in the changing financial landscape.

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Getting to know Tori Taylor

If you’ve attended any of our Fast Tracks client webinars, you’ve met Cheetah product marketer Tori Taylor. Her on-camera presence might seem effortless, but it’s the result of years of hard work, a passion for helping people, and a little Disney magic.