Technology

Analytics which give easy and immediate access to performance metrics, and which offer customers the tools to digest complex data, continue to reshape and revolutionise the wealth management industry.

As a recent report1 says, new data analysis and decision-making technologies, including artificial intelligence (AI), are revolutionising the investment management function.

Robo-advice

Another way in which technology is making inroads into the financial services sector is through so-called ‘robo-advice’ that is provided online with minimal human intervention. At present there remains some scepticism across the industry about its current impact. One report2 says robo-advice has yet to demonstrate it can provide anything close to the level of service that a financial adviser can.

However, there is evidence that investors are increasingly moving portfolios to robo-advisers. For instance, last year Banco Best launched the ACATIS AI Global Equities Fund, managed by the German group Acatis, in Portugal. The entire decision-making process, from the selection of securities to the weighting of each position in the portfolio, is done using AI, and the Fund has won many plaudits.

Portugal is a good example of a country where banks like Banco Best (part of Novo Banco), Activo Bank (part of Millennium bcp) and independent adviser Banco Carregosa have taken advantage of their previous reach to provide new wealth management propositions. By contrast, emerging tech companies can struggle to gain scale due to their overlapping service compared to the banking offer.

Start-ups

That won’t stop online start-ups from continuing to target the wealth management sector. With industries such as travel and food procurement already maturely served through new technologies, new entrants are looking at sectors such as financial services to adopt their technologies. New fintech companies are already moving heavily into the insurance market, bypassing agents and insurance brokers.

But incumbents will undoubtedly fight back, and in the short to medium term at least are not expected to lose significant market share. Also, there is a view that more complex products – such as financial services – will always require professional and very specific expertise that can better be provided on a person to person basis. Confidence in the brand and trust in a professional still plays a major role.

1: The Boston Consulting Group – Global Asset Management 2017: The Innovator’s Advantage
2: Aegon Advisor Attitudes Report 2017

Back to the Wealth Management Clearthought homepage.