Despite the many challenges of 2020 that have spilled over into 2021, last year turned out to be a strong one for the wealth management industry overall, according to Alois Pirker, research director at Aite Group.
Among the highlights of last year: Morgan Stanley’s purchase of E-Trade and Eaton Vance, as well as pandemic-fueled market volatility, a quick shift to global remote work, many businesses nearing the “brink of bankruptcy” and massive job losses, he noted Tuesday during the webinar “Top 10 Trends in Wealth Management, 2021: The Future Is Now.”
Luckily, however, the markets “held up, and more than held up — [they] hit new highs” in 2020, “supported by various government actions around the globe,” he said.
Therefore, although 2020 was “hard for everybody … for the wealth management industry,” it turned into “a good year” in which many firms were able to grow their client bases, he said. Citing a comment made by a Merrill Lynch executive, he said: “The wealth management industry has just made a five-year leap forward as far as digital client engagement is concerned.”
Pirker predicted a continuation of digital transformation trends in 2021. “The length of the pandemic is changing our industry for good,” he said.
“Time is of the essence for wealth management firms to embrace the new normal and to invest in staff and infrastructure to keep up with client behavior and faster-moving competitors. Firms that miss this cue risk losing market share and also may become acquisition targets.”
See the gallery above to view the top 10 trends in wealth management that Aite is expecting in 2021.
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