Client expectations are still outpacing wealth firms’ digital capabilities despite this being recognised as a top priority
The third year of Alpha’s Digital Readiness Survey provides a unique barometer of how far the industry is progressing with its Digital Transformation journey. This year we have seen that client expectations are still outpacing wealth firms’ digital capabilities, despite this being recognised as a top priority. 92% of firms cite that they have mobilised a Digital Transformation effort but the majority of firms still have fragmented digital activity or are just getting organised. Legacy technologies, too much reliance on Excel and weak data discipline hold back their efforts.
With the participating EMEA firms representing ~£1 trillion AUM, this year’s survey has been completed amidst some of the most turbulent times that the world has experienced. The global Coronavirus pandemic has accelerated how firms are assessing and prioritising their digital initiatives and this comes off the back of a year of increased M&A activity, continued drama around Brexit in Europe and further regulatory challenges.
Against this backdrop, we see that firms are looking to accelerate their digitisation agenda, and to orchestrate and mobilise different threads of activity under a cohesive Digital Transformation effort. Other messages we can draw from the findings include:
- Firms are re-evaluating what “Digital” means to them, and whether the progress they have made is moving them forward fast enough. This is characterised by the clustering of firms around the “frustratingly fragmented” and “getting organised” stages (shown below)
- Client centricity continues to be a key theme, and is ranked as the top focus of the digital strategy. More emphasis is being placed on making best use of available data and technology to deliver on improved client experiences
- Whilst there is continued focus on the growth and revenue benefits of digitisation, we see an increasing importance on the efficiency gains and scaling capability that digitisation can bring with it. In particular, this is coming into focus in the client reporting, onboarding and client operations areas
- Digitisation is seen as increasingly important for client satisfaction, as firms are compelled to respond to a blurring of the lines with other high-end digital experiences and the urgent need to interact in new ways. The recent pandemic has shown rapid progress is possible and justified
- The topic of innovation is back on the agenda, as firms are looking for ways to solve a mix of client, operational and regulatory questions