Research Shows Young & Old Alike Embracing Digital Wealth Management

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Within a day of one another, we received two separate press releases from UK-based research firm GlobalData, and they showed an interesting trend toward digital adoption of wealth management services in BOTH millennials and boomers. 

According to one study, almost 40% of millennials in the Asia-Pacific region communicated with their wealth managers via chat as of Q2 2018 – representing a 10% increase over 2017.  

At the same time, they also released a report showing that the “older generation” also wants digital investment products, too.  The report goes on to explain that digital investment products must be presented at the level an older client can understand, which will likely vary from that of a younger client.

As we have noted previously, digital – and specifically mobile – adoption varies by region and the millennial report focuses on Asia, which is highly mobile-centric.

Regardless, both reports highlight the importance for the wealth management sector to have sophisticated – but user-friendly – digital experiences for their clients, young and old alike.  Check out the two separate press releases below – they are quite instructive.

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From Global Data:

“Almost 40% of millennials in Asia-Pacific were contacting their wealth managers via a chat application in Q2 2018, a 10 percentage point increase since 2017, says GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.

Using chat applications is one method that is increasingly used by millennials to discuss their investments with advisors. These applications offer a quick and easy way for wealth managers to contact their clients, to increase engagement levels, and grow revenue within the company.

Oliver Wintle, Associate Wealth Management Analyst at GlobalData, comments, “One issue with ‘chat applications’ however, is that the wealth management firm does not own the data – the third-party messaging service does. In addition, if the advisor leaves the company so does their conversation history with the client.”

However, email remains one of the key forms of communication between wealth managers and investors. In fact, the 2018 Mass Affluent Investors Survey suggests its use has been increasing: between 2017 and 2018, the proportion of investors communicating with their advisor via email form increased by 10 percentage points.

Wintle continues: “Despite this, email is not ideally suited to client-advisor communication. For instance,  if at any point the client clicks ‘move to spam’ on an email, all future communications will follow the same path and end up in the recipient’s spam folder – stripping a company of engagement with the client. Consequently, wealth managers should focus on other communication channels.”

There is willingness for investors to communicate with their wealth managers via chat applications. It is important that wealth managers embrace this change. To tackle compliance and data ownership challenges, they should seek to include chat features in their core online and mobile platforms. Partnering with third-party IT vendors such as ‘Moxtra’ may be one solution.

Wintle adds, “Wealth managers must make sure their chosen communication channels are not easily ignored by clients. Increased engagement will undoubtedly result in better customer retention – but also a higher level of client involvement with their portfolio.”


Baby boomers and older consumers may not be as ‘digitally-savvy’ as the younger generations, but they still want digital investment services, says GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.

Not being as advanced, digitally, as the younger generations is different to being digitally inept; particularly in today’s world. Digital investment products that are presented to older clients need to be explained at a level they understand. One size does not fit all here, and care needs to be taken so that apps and websites are tailored to offer a great user experience.

Sergel Woldemichael, Wealth Management Analyst at GlobalData, comments, “The majority of wealth managers believe that digital services are more important to the next generation of clients than the current investor base. However, 32% of wealth managers believe it is equally important, which shows that targeting digital services exclusively at the younger demographic will be self-defeating for wealth managers.”

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UK fintech company Evalue, recently launched a robo-advisor specifically for clients approaching retirement age, which allows customers to have the choice of receiving automated, hybrid, or pure face-to-face financial advice, accommodating a range of digital comfort levels. This fits with trends we have seen globally among mass affluent baby boomers and the older generations, who are increasingly using online methods when communicating with their advisors.

Despite this, every generation will welcome a good and intuitive user experience, whether it is digital or not. It is incumbent on wealth managers to provide this.

Woldemichael adds, “Wealth managers must cater to the diverse levels of digital proficiency among wealthy individuals, in order to gain engagement from all clientele and maximize business volumes.”