A digital strategy can go some way in supporting wealth managers tap onshore markets in Asia through better client servicing and standardisation of advice, according to experts.
As private banks begin to explore Asian markets outside the offshore centres of Singapore and Hong Kong, experts say that digital tools can complement the client relationship management experience.
According to David Wilson, Asia-Pacific head of wealth management at Capgemini, technology can be especially useful in markets where there is a lack of adequately experienced relationship managers.
In fact, one of the key success elements differentiating winners from losers in the future will be ‘strong digital tooling to de-couple client service from human talent that is not always widely available in local markets,’ Wilson told Citywire Asia.
A growing number of wealth managers are tapping markets such as Thailand, Indonesia, China and the Philippines through partnerships and joint ventures with local players or by setting up representative offices.
However, many banks face a shortage of talent when it comes to selling their international product suite to clients and hence, focus on training client advisors under the new structure.
For instance, as part of its Thailand joint venture announced in March, Swiss private bank Julius Baer will train local lender Siam Commercial Bank’s existing relationship managers and new hires to sell its offshore products.
Meanwhile, Lombard Odier helps local partners, such as UnionBank in the Philippines, train relationship managers and financial advisers alongside providing investment services.
Indeed, Capgemini research has found that client advisors themselves demand digital capability but only 45.4% are satisfied with the existing tools provided by their firms.
The most significant pain points for Asia ex-Japan advisors related to prospecting through social media and other digital channels, mobile and remote access to applications and information, ability to generate tailored recommendation and the ability to engage with clients through digital tools, Wilson noted.
Mark Wightman, EY Asean Wealth & Asset Management leader said: ‘The geographic spread of clients in many onshore markets makes it harder to provide a standardized advice and service offering so digital is a natural route to drive this.’
While private banking staff may be hubbed, the expert noted that a hybrid private bank offering can be delivered by enabling client-facing staff with tablet advice tools for consistency and audit trail, backed by video conferencing for expert insights and a digital service model.
In fact, EY’s 2018 Wealth Management Outlook stated that the future business model of wealth managers will focus on technology and digital infrastructure, increasingly independent of the client advisor.
The report noted that the role of the advisor will most likely shift toward the profile of a requirements engineer and client supporter serving as a contact, backed by digital tools.
Capgemini’s 2017 Asia-Pacific Wealth Report found that for 90.1% of high net worth individuals in Asia ex-Japan, the availability of a mixed model of human interaction and digital tools will be a key factor for increasing or decreasing assets with their primary wealth manager over next 24 months.
‘Ultimately onshore digital is the enabler for consistency in experience,’ Wightman said.