January 21, 2013

How Do the New Wealthy Communicate? Digitally, Futurewealth Report Says

Wealth managers must evolve and adapt to meet expectations

The world's up-and-coming wealthy are not only adopting new technologies, but also understand how digital communication tools can enhance experiences, according to a study released last week by SEI, Scorpio Partnership and Standard Chartered Private Bank.

The Futurewealth Report: Stepping into the Communication Age,” the second in a four-part series, surveyed 3,477 respondents globally with an average $1.9 million in assets. It underlines the importance for financial professionals to connect with clients through many different channels.

The first paper in the series showed that the world’s new wealth creators, referred to as “Futurewealthy,” have woven digital technologies into the fabric of their lives. The latest one explores how far they have stepped into the communication age.

It found that the Futurewealthy are not just effective communicators; they have also devoted the time and mastered the skills to make their voices heard.

As a group, they spend 30.5 hours a week in some form of communication or dialogue, and this figure rises to 43 hours among those whose wealth exceeds $4 million.

In contrast, those worth less than $500,000 spend 25 hours a week communicating with others.

The study found that age-old styles of communication remain central to the Futurewealthy’s interactions, but they are quickly adopting new approaches.

Of total time spent in communicating, digital communication on email, web portals, social networking, SMS, instant messaging and VOIP calls accounts for 19 hours, rising to 28 hours for the wealthiest.

More than a third of the Futurewealthy expect to use digital communications significantly more in the next five years, according to the report, and—important—they expect their wealth managers to follow suit.

“The second Futurewealth report reinforces the important role technology plays in the communication habits of the wealthy,” Al West, SEI’s chairman and chief executive, said in a statement.

“These studies show us which communication tools the wealthy are using, how they are using them, in what capacity, and importantly, how wealth managers need to adapt and evolve to meet their expectations.”

The statement said the next paper in the series would ask the Futurewealthy directly what kinds of technology they expect from their financial providers and what they believe will give them the financial relationships they really want.

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