In this week’s podcast, April Rudin shares her thoughts on the rise of Millennials, and more importantly, the surge in new demands and expectations regarding financial services.
April begins the discussion with the idea of fear-mongering. She puts forward that many wealth managers are trying to protect their status quo and believe that their clients are beyond the reach of technology. However, we know that rather than fearing how technology will replace us, it is more productive to view technology as an enhancement to human services. This is important to internalise as there is a whole universe of people with digital wants and needs. The idea that technology and digital services should only be targeted towards millennials with low account balances is extremely myopic. In fact, ultra-high net worth boomers have the highest rate of adoption of digital technology because they are mobile, global, and have sophisticated portfolios.
When it comes to financial services, April believes that there is no one size fits all product. With the rise of Millennials came the desire for freedom of choice. Prior to this change, firms would focus on model offerings and provide one brochure or one sort of client experience. As wealth and planning become more accessible, advisors will struggle to keep up with the demand for personalised financial services. However, if technology is used effectively, advisors could take more personal care of higher value clients while managing a wider range of clients.
April also notes that the COVID-19 pandemic has forced the adoption of technology. When asked the question “Who is driving digital adoption at your organisation,” the answer is COVID-19. It has forced large firms to stress test their digital offerings with greater fervour and have many have transitioned successfully. Along with this digital transformation is the notion that the hierarchy between advisor and client is changing. Rather than an advisor giving direction from the top-down, firms approaching this relationship as more of a partnership will become more successful in the future. As mentioned, freedom of choice is becoming increasingly important. Different clients have different goals and will be looking for different services. Thus, advisors have to be re-orientate themselves and be prepared to work together with their clients.
At the end of the day, change is the only constant and it needs to be managed effectively. In order for firms to be successful today and in the future, there needs to be a plan for change. While it is difficult to predict change, organizations with an open culture and mindset will adapt quickly. Hence, it is all about having the right mindset and putting the right people in charge.