Wealth management firms need to be more nimble in meeting the demands of clients in order to best capture a surge in available assets over the course of this decade, Merrill Lynch Wealth Management executive
That comes as the current addressable investable wealth, measured by
If wealth management firms are able to capture that growth, they could double their assets by the end of the decade, said Thiel, who serves as head of U.S. wealth management and the
“For years, we have asked the client to bend their structure to ours, versus us bending our structure to theirs,” Thiel said. “We need to adapt our organization away from silos to being relevant.”
Thiel pointed to
Wealth management firms, Thiel said, should also strive to provide this same level of client satisfaction.
To improve, wealth management firms should focus on three things, Thiel said. That includes organizing a financial advisory practice around the client, moving from measuring success based on benchmarks to how well clients’ needs and desires are met and recognizing the need to prepare financial advisors for this new emphasis.
Thiel remembered how, while working as a financial advisor in
The same is true for wealth management firms today, Thiel said. One meeting that Thiel had with a
When that same client objected to the reams of paper statements they received on their investments that they would have to shred, they moved to e-statements. But those e-statements only clogged up that client’s email inbox instead. The revelation, Thiel said, is that investment firms need to make their technology offerings more consumer-friendly.
Other ways wealth management firms need to improve is by making sure they really know their client, Thiel said, even as many as 20 different employees work to service them. They also need to understand the different behavioral tendencies between both generations and individuals.
That comes as firms are having a more difficult time attracting the younger set of investors. Generation X, for instance, has seen basically a zero return from the S&P from 2000 through last year, according to Thiel.
“I don’t think we’re thinking about now as succinctly as we could,” Thiel said of serving consumers. “We’re at risk of losing an entire generation of investors.”
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