The famous demographer and futurist John Naisbitt wrote the seminal book “Megatrends” in 1982. In it, he and his research team predicted various outcomes for the future of societies worldwide based on current events.
His methodology? Reading magazine and newspaper articles as research into how demographic changes, technology improvements, globalization and their trajectories would transform how we all live our lives.
This body of work turned into Naisbitt’s 10 predictions for what to expect, and most academics and researchers agree that his prophecies were spot on and still are playing out nearly four decades later.
Re-reading his prophetic tome during the quarantine sparked my own curiosity about the future of wealth management. So, I recently took a similar approach to researching this topic with a much better and more powerful research tool: Google!
Compiling the results of my searches, I uncovered four megatrends in wealth management that should have a profound impact on how the industry will be transformed in the years ahead.
Technology improvements and advancements have been much more exponential since Naisbitt’s time in the early 1980s, and nowhere has that played out more than in how information is stored, processed, analyzed and delivered.
The evolution in operating systems — from DOS to Windows and then to Cloud-based and now Cloud Native — shows the accelerated progression for information technology infrastructure as new methodologies, computing power and data models get better.
Instead of business applications being installed on servers or PCs, or accessed through the Internet, Cloud Native means that the applications that drive business and the data needed to process them are all deployed inside a Cloud systems’ architecture — hence the name Cloud Native.
With Cloud Native technology powered by such tech titans as Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud, the power, efficiencies, security and flexibility provided are exponential and bring new hope to the disparate technology stack that is wealth management.
Instead of a bunch of stand-alone applications all loosely connected via API integrations to pass data back and forth, Cloud Native technology lets the infrastructure seamlessly unite these applications and data in one environment.
The benefits of Cloud Native technology are transformational, and it soon will get rid of the many manual, clunky and painful workflows that are constraining the capacity of financial advisors, which limits their growth.
This will provide the scale needed for advisors to work with more clients on a closer, more personal level. It will free up advisors from the day-to-day administrative tasks, so they can finally spend the majority of their time on clients and their businesses, instead of on their systems.
Wealth management is a relationship business. Accordingly, in-person, one-on-one communications and interactions have been the go-to approach for advisors to meet with prospects, convert business and nurture client relationships over time.
Behavioral finance tells us that a human-to-human approach is the key differentiator when it comes to personal issues like money and why investors are more than willing to pay a premium for financial services from an expert professional.
But what happens as we move through (and then hopefully past) the coronavirus, because many of these in-person interactions could be months if not years away? How can advisors develop relationships at a social distance?
The answer is video. According to my colleague and pioneer in wealth management communications, FiComm Partners CEO Megan Carpenter, a “video first” strategy in these times of social distancing will be critical to connecting with clients and prospects.
Investors and prospects want to see their advisor in these troubling times, so video communications will be powerful, particularly as new advice buyers are social distancing and Google searching for a financial advisor for the first time.