Digital client experience has become an increasingly important focus area across the Asset Management sector, driven by the accelerant effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on the shift from physical interactions to virtual interactions. Alpha’s approach to defining digital client experience strategy helps Managers respond to the constantly evolving landscape of their end-client’s digital expectations, leading to increased client satisfaction, in addition to improved commercial propositions and operational efficiencies.
Since Q1 2020, the COVID-19 Pandemic has created the “forced experiment” of moving from physical, face-to-face interactions to virtual interactions via digital channels. This was felt universally across geographies, industries and all types of audiences. Asset Managers had to quickly pivot to providing access to their offerings digitally.
This was a big ask, as the Asset Management sector has typically been less mature in its digital thinking and delivery than other parts of the Financial Services industry, such as Retail Banking or General Insurance. In many cases, this meant the initial developments were quick fixes targeting immediate needs, e.g. making sure content was available digitally, and moving from physical meetings and events to virtual.
Two years on, we are now seeing firms think more broadly about how their full offering can be made available through digital channels. This includes a mix of access to Data, Content, Services, Communication & Tools.
Given the concerns about security and sharing of client-specific information, this shift has centred around providing clients with portals, alongside other methods of information dissemination, e.g. APIs, aggregators, and publicly available digital channels.
Our graphic below outlines the steps that Alpha take firms through as they think about developing a modern digital experience for their clients. Specifically, it covers:
- Why – the common drivers and challenges which galvanise firms to action
- What is the response – the role of digital as complementary to personal relationships or the primary route of interaction
- The benefits – what firms are looking to achieve
- The design principles – what informs the design of the experience and choice of solutions
- The features – what users look for to enhance their overall customer journeys
- How to get there – the steps that firms need to take to define and deliver their digital client experience
- Alpha’s accelerators – what we can bring to fast-track thinking and execution
Key themes of our work have included recognising that the adoption and usage of any secure digital channels will be influenced by multiple factors, and that a “one size fits all” approach has not been a successful strategy in the past. Firms are increasingly seeing the role of secure client portals as relevant across the entire client lifecycle from Pre-Sales and Onboarding through to Client Management and Transitions. Additionally, areas such as ESG Reporting and Sustainable Investing will continue to drive further demand.
Business cases are now more appealing, with lower cost solutions being available via a range of incumbent and new vendors in this space. Many of these vendors are already providing solutions targeted towards Asset & Wealth Managers, and are continuing to develop their specialised, sector-specific digital offerings.
Whichever route a firm decides to take, we recommend an iterative and agile approach to developing the digital client experience, and to inform this through client insight and a clear articulation of the internal pain points that it aims to resolve.
This is a major shift for an industry which has largely been based on personal contacts and face-to-face relationships; Managers should expect to see more exciting innovation and advances made in this area over the next 12+ months.
We would be delighted to discuss both our experience and capabilities with you in the context of these findings and broader market trends, to explore how your organisation could benefit. For further information please reach out to the authors or contact us here.