Our Insight Wealth conference has taken a closer look at the digitalization of the industry, including artificial intelligence, robo-advice and regtech.
In mid-November, we were delighted to host the 2017 Thomson Reuters Insight Wealth Conference.
And given the rapid pace of change in wealth management, for this year’s event, we focused the conference conversation around “Preparing for the Future of Wealth Management”.
The wealth management market is rapidly and continuously changing. Recently, the pace of change has accelerated even more.
Today’s investors expect access to information, anytime, anywhere; they demand frictionless interaction and speed; and they need greater transparency and clear and simple interaction.
Basically, the needs of our clients, and the needs of their customers, are swiftly changing. This is why we remain focused on identifying and delivering the next generation of solutions to address these continually evolving customer needs.
We had a terrific line-up of speakers, panelists and attendees at Insight Wealth.
Speakers included many of the most forward thinking wealth management firms, consultants and technology providers. We combined their knowledge and experience with Thomson Reuters subject matter experts.
Topics ranged from shifting demographic trends and changing customer expectations, through to new and unusual competitors, the regulatory landscape, and how to leverage technologies like AI, cognitive computing, and Big Data.
With attendees representing an impressive assembly of wealth management executives and senior leaders, including both customers and prospective clients, we would have been remiss to not survey our audience during key sessions to gauge their thoughts on a number of key topics impacting the future of wealth management.
Several of the results shared below give you a sense of the sentiment in the industry and what other wealth management professionals like yourself may be thinking about.
Increasing role of AI
A compelling panel on Artificial Intelligence was led by Peter Chagalis, our Wealth Management Product leader, and featuring panelists Gregg Brett from Intel, Rob Kirk from Mphasis and Tonya Custis from Thomson Reuters Center for Cognitive Computing.
The panel explored how AI will be leveraged for a multitude of front and back office capabilities, as well as the implications on regulatory considerations and the potential impacts on investor self service.
The results from the survey presented for the AI panel show that the majority of firms believe AI will play a part in the future of wealth management.
It is also clear that there is belief that AI can benefit users across all the firm’s touch points, assisting individual investors as well as both front and back office personnel, with no one function having a clear advantage.
However, there are some differences in momentum around AI.
Only half of the firms are actively engaged with AI by either currently started projects or plan on starting projects in the next 12 months. The remaining firms either have no current plans or don’t plan on starting for at least 12 months.
Additional insights were provided during a presentation by Tom Davenport, distinguished Professor of Information Technology and Management at Babson College, discussing the impact of AI on the economy more broadly, and his views on the rise of robo-advisors relating it to automation across many industries.
On the topic of robo-advisors, nearly 3/4 of respondents indicated that their firm would retain the same number of advisors, but would provide hybrid offerings to generate growth, both in customers and assets under management.
This is representative of our industry adapting to new technologies, leveraging them to help grow their business, as opposed to competing with them.
Advisors become equipped with workflow improvements, and relevant and actionable information to engage with clients and help them achieve their financial goals.
However, despite the perceived growth potential, less than half of the respondents indicated that there was a pilot or existing robo-advisor offering available at their firm.
Notably, firms that have yet to begin development on a robo-advisor offering comprised the largest segment of responses.
These results would seem to indicate that while our industry sees the enormous potential in new innovations and technologies, there are still barriers to implement them, either due to costs, expertise or other drivers.
Surveillance and RegTech
Our compliance-focused panel, led by Chief Regulatory Officer for Thomson Reuters Wealth Management, Manisha Kimmel, discussed the impact of regulations on financial institutions and the changes within the regulatory environment.
Among the many questions posed, Ms Kimmel asked, “Which regulatory area could benefit most from RegTech, i.e. AI, Machine Learning, Big Data?”
Overwhelmingly, most respondents agreed that the area to benefit most from RegTech was surveillance.
Firms believed that being able to monitor client activity, investment suitability, and sales practices using new technology would yield new insights, and ultimately allow them to more quickly identify and address issues.
This application of surveillance provides benefits across many operational touch points within regulatory, compliance and risk, including the other two survey categories of AML/KYC and Regulatory Change Management.
These are just a few of the initial insights from the conference. Many thanks to all of the attendees for sharing your time and thoughts, our Thomson Reuters team members who worked hard to deliver a world class event, and of course the keynotes, presenters, and panelists that guided the agenda and brought the discussions to life.
Watch this space for more insights and video content from Thomson Reuters Insight Wealth 2017.