About 4 in 5 North American wealth managers in a recent report from Accenture said they expected artificial intelligence to transform their industry in the next five years, but less than a third said they were currently scaling it across their businesses.
The report was based on an online survey conducted in October among 100 technology and strategy executives from a variety of financial services firms in the U.S. and Canada.
Seventy-two percent of respondents said they were focused either on experimenting with the technology through siloed proof of concepts or deploying it across targeted business groups.
At the same time, 85% believed that the promise of AI in wealth management was more hype than reality.
However, 79% of wealth managers surveyed said they were eager to adopt AI tools that deliver improved efficiencies and enhancements.
Accenture said this comes against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has increased wealthy clients’ demands for highly digitized experiences. Other considerations are also pushing adoption, including ongoing fee pressure and increased competition from investment banks looking for wealth management’s more stable returns.
According to the report, wealth managers may be underestimating the long-term value of applying AI to transform the wealth management customer experience.
Sixty-five percent of respondents said AI can create the most long-term value in the middle office — including investment management — or operations, whereas only 35% saw long-term value in improving the client experience and engagement.
“The findings suggest that although wealth managers are eager to embrace AI, they largely haven’t been able to move beyond experimentation toward widespread organizational application at scale,” Scott Reddel, head of Accenture’s wealth management practice in North America, said in a statement.
“They also appear to underestimate the long-term value of AI, coupled with data and analytics, to reinvent the client experience and empower advisors to have more personalized client conversations and sell the right products at the right moments in their clients’ lives.”