The 4th Annual Wealth Management Digital Readiness Survey: “Embracing a digital future… while you still can”

Kenn Taylor

Digital, a key industry topic last year, is moving into even greater focus with the proportion of respondents citing it as a top priority increasing to 92% in 2021, up from 75% last year.

The fourth iteration of Alpha’s Wealth Management Annual Digital Readiness Survey provides key insights into how the industry is moving forward on its digital journey. This year’s survey included over 25 firms with broad representation across EMEA covering ~£1.1 Trillion AUM and has been undertaken when firms have had the opportunity to reflect on the impact that the global Coronavirus pandemic has had on their operations.

Overall, the industry feels that it is making headway with digital enhancements; 71% participants now feel they are “Getting Organised” on the maturity curve shown below.

Figure 1.1: Participants believe they are more digitally mature than 12 months ago

The sector has demonstrated high levels of resilience to the immediate lockdown restrictions and economic impacts, managing to avoid significant service disruptions with clients continuing to show faith in the industry as a good custodian for their wealth. The pandemic has served some benefit in illustrating to senior leaders the criticality of a digital capability that supports the traditional high-touch face-to-face service, but progress in delivering such a service remains limited. Culture, technology and data all rated as key challenges.

The key findings surfaced in this comprehensive survey are as follows:

The results of this survey, taken alongside our recent research into Client Portals, only serve to reinforce the need for WMs to merge digital and traditional channels in their service propositions. The challenge WMs face is years of under-investment across the industry into the culture and awareness of digital and the technology and operating solutions to deliver a multi-channel experience. However, WM clients are sticky and WMs have a great opportunity to bounce back, provided they can construct a roadmap that delivers a step-change in service propositions quickly and continuously
Kenn Taylor, Director, Head of Wealth Management

Competitive dynamics in the market have been increasingly shaped throughout the last year by three factors in particular; catching up with digital expectations, changing risk appetites, and strong AUM flows. These have culminated in the increased growth and momentum behind the shift to digital. With the drivers of industry landscape in mind, the key takeaways for firms looking to progress their digital agenda this year are:

  • Seize the opportunity to execute on Test & Learns. The industry has proven the fact that they can work well in remote and digital ways, now the focus should shift towards executing new approaches quickly and efficiently


  • Establish and agree effective digital strategies for firmwide adoption. Internal consensus can be crucial requirement for reaching the next stage of your digital journey. Prioritising investment and co-ordinating resources ensures efficient deployment and continued improvement


  • Build the Organisation with “New Age” skills. Concentrating on the People and Process aspects of digital can help define a new more Agile organisation, allowing business and technology to work together to shape and deliver on a new digital agenda

If you would like to see more of the findings, then please click here to request the survey results report. Also, please see our contact details below if you would like to speak to a member of our Wealth Management practice.

About the Author

Kenn Taylor
Director, Head of Wealth Management

Kenn is a Director at Alpha and leads our Wealth Management Practice. He is a senior business adviser having led consulting teams with Grant Thornton, Navigant and Troika, and has been a member on the Board of Prudential Financial Services. His experience within the investment industry comprises strong asset management, wealth and retirement business experience from leading critical assignments for the leading UK Wealth & Asset Managers, Retail and Workplace Platforms. His consulting experience covers Wealth, Pensions and Investment operations and outsourcing, particularly proposition development, supplier assessment, operating models, business case development and deal negotiations.