December 3, 2012

World’s Rising Wealthy Lead Information Age: Futurewealth Report

Wealth managers need to adjust their business models to engage these clients

Wealthy people around the world have high levels of engagement with the Internet’s future possibilities, with important implications for the wealth management industry, according to a new study.

On Friday, SEI, Scorpio Partnership and Standard Chartered Private Bank released part one of “The Futurewealth Report: The Digital World of the Futurewealthy,” a survey of 3,477 respondents from across the world with an average $1.9 million in assets.

The study revealed the digital habits and views on technology of individuals on the fast track to considerable wealth who have positioned themselves at the forefront of the digital information age.

This group has been quick to acknowledge the role that technology innovations have played in their success, the report said. Fifty-six percent of those surveyed believed that their “engagement with the internet and digital technology” had contributed to their ability to create wealth.

Moreover, they believed this influence would be even more valuable in the future. Seventy-seven percent responded positively when asked whether the Internet and digital technology would contribute to their success five years down the road.

According to the report, these results suggest they believe the Internet will prove even more valuable to their future success in generating wealth than it does today.

Interestingly, 88% of Asia’s futurewealthy believed the Web would be a big factor in their future success, compared with 64% from the Americas.

“Financial intermediaries, especially wealth management firms, need to adjust their business models and value propositions based on a stronger understanding of their segments’ technology habits and desires, not the size of their wallets,” Al Chiaradonna, senior vice president of SEI’s Global Wealth Services, said in a statement.

The study also revealed some insights on the preferences for digital-based communication and networking tools for the next generation of wealthy:

  • 64% of respondents believe that collaborating with others online would be important to their continued wealth creation.
  • 71% already had a presence on Facebook, and 31% were using LinkedIn.
  • 55% of those surveyed accessed social networking sites through mobile applications or devices.
  • 49% used a banking/finance mobile application, suggesting a shift in how they preferred to manage and monitor their finances.

“With this knowledge, advisors need to better prepare themselves with the technological and digital media skills necessary to take new, creative marketing approaches that use client segmentation, brand positioning and other strategies to better connect to this valuable group of fast risers,” Kevin Crowe, SEI Advisor Network’s head of solutions, said in a statement.

“Advisors must embrace and share the passion for technology and digital media tools with these futurewealthy if they want to truly engage and grow relationships with them.”

This report is the first in a four-part series of studies as a component of the larger Futurewealth Project, which aims to better understand the ambitions and consumer attitudes of the world’s up-and-coming wealthy.

Each report in the series will focus on a different theme around how technology and digital communications can be used to engage the next generation of wealthy.

SEI said the other three parts of the series will be published in the first half of 2013.

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