US$200B in global wealth management revenue at stake as client expectations shift

Investing in superior client experience could help retain and add clients: EY Survey

TORONTO, Aug. 25, 2016 /CNW/ - Globally, up to US$200B in revenue may be at stake, as 40% of all clients surveyed are open to switching wealth managers under the right circumstances, according to EY's 2016 global wealth management report, The experience factor: the new growth engine in wealth management. Firms that fail to make strategic investments to deliver a superior client experience may risk losing a substantial portion of their current business, the report finds.

"The dynamics of the wealth management industry are changing rapidly," says Gregory Smith, EY's Wealth Management Advisory Leader. "Retaining clients will become a high priority for firms, given the increasing awareness around robo advisors and new advice models. Wealth managers need to engage their clients more than ever and invest in a creating better customer experience – increasingly using digital technology."

Of all the factors that drive client retention and acquisition around the world, EY found that wealth managers and their clients have opposing views in three key areas: transparency, advice delivery channels and the advisor's role.

Wealth managers should ask themselves how they can meet their clients' expectations and improve their overall experience in these three areas:

  1. Transparency — Clients are increasingly questioning the transparency of portfolio performance and fees. Also, they're eager for a new level of transparency that includes rating their advisors and connecting with similar clients in public forums. Advisors should ask themselves, is there a better way of delivering wealth management services that improves transparency and justifies the value provided?

  2. Advice delivery channels — Clients are significantly more open than firms to adopting digital channels for wealth advice, not just service. Advisors should ask themselves, what's the optimal wealth advice model — human, machine or hybrid? What about using social media to 'talk less and listen more' to increase retention and referrals?

  3. Role of the advisor —The financial advisor may become more like a financial therapist in the future, helping clients with spending habits or reaching life goals instead of strictly providing standard asset allocation advice or other activities that could be automated. Advisors should ask themselves, what's the best way to help clients achieve their most important life goals?

Smith adds: "In Canada, with the advent of CRM2, our wealth managers face similar challenges as their global counterparts. They need to expand their services accordingly to offer more comprehensive, goal-oriented advice. On top of that, they must consider engaging with clients through digital platforms and even social channels."

Transparency especially key for Canadian advisors

In EY's survey, clients overwhelmingly identified the top driver of trust as transparency of portfolio performance and fees. An advisor's reputation, which was traditionally the main driver of trust, now comes in second. As wealth managers implement CRM2 requirements this summer, the focus on transparency will only increase. Advisors need to invest in technology to enhance the client experience and demonstrate the value they provide. Doing so will help compete with traditional competitors, as well as new Fintech entrants.  

"We've seen an increase in regulatory requirements to offer more transparency to clients and we might well see more of this in the future, as the Canadian Securities Administrators are considering a proposal on advisor obligations to clients," says Smith. "Wealth management firms should really take a step beyond that though – listen to what clients are asking for, and deliver better transparency, integrated digital channels and a seamless experience that many new entrants are offering. This industry will only get more competitive and the needs of clients should be front and centre."

Read the complete 2016 Global Wealth Management Survey.

About the survey
EY wealth management practice surveyed more than 2,000 individual clients and 60 wealth management senior executives globally to demystify client experience and uncover potential revenue opportunities for wealth managers.

About EY
EY is a global leader in assurance, tax, transaction and advisory services. The insights and quality services we deliver help build trust and confidence in the capital markets and in economies the world over. We develop outstanding leaders who team to deliver on our promises to all of our stakeholders. In so doing, we play a critical role in building a better working world for our people, for our clients and for our communities.

For more information, please visit Follow us on Twitter @EYCanada.

EY refers to the global organization and may refer to one or more of the member firms of Ernst & Young Global Limited, each of which is a separate legal entity. Ernst & Young Global Limited, a UK company limited by guarantee, does not provide services to clients. For more information about our organization, please visit

SOURCE EY (Ernst & Young)

For further information: Sasha Anopina,, 416 943 2637; Julie Fournier,, 514 874 4308; Leigh Kjekstad,, 604 648 3807


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