The coming year will be dominated by the digitized ecosystem. What makes my prediction even more notable is that I’m a three-decade veteran of Pershing LLC, which has for 85 years ranked among the most respected and venerable companies on Wall Street.
Pershing will continue to innovate with the same collaborative spirit and design thinking that makes newcomers to the wealth management a disruptive force in an industry, frankly, that can use some disruption. The digitized ecosystem will be 2020’s most significant disruptor. And if I were to place one technology at the center of this thoroughly potent (and disruptive) ecosystem, it would be Artificial Intelligence. Is it any wonder that more than half of all wealth managers now say AI is essential to their businesses? For years we’ve heard about how technology has helped investors unlock hidden value in the capital markets. The digitized ecosystem will do the same for a new generation of wealth managers and their clients.
Generation X and Millennials (the oldest of which are turning 40) have inherited vast amounts of Baby Boomer wealth and are already transferring it to their children. That’s why, as a B2B provider, we’ve focused on creating the most efficient ecosystem that will allow wealth managers to strengthen their brands and attract those younger clients.
As the digitized ecosystem comes to dominate the industry in 2020, fewer companies will be providing their own proprietary systems. We’re encouraging clients to pick and choose among open and flexible technology platforms that will help them best target new generations of affluent clients—clients who have much different needs and concerns than their Boomer parents.
Leaders in the wealth tech space would do well not to tout themselves as “purely digital” or the first “all-digital” firm in a particular sector. As a colleague of mine likes to point out, anything that’s all-digital is devoid of any human beings. That’s why I prefer using the term digitized when describing the ecosystems that will dominate the coming year. The very best ecosystems will leverage an array of technology working in tandem—including predictive analytics, automation, and, at their centers, Artificial Intelligence—while retaining a human touch.
Those affluent families served by our clients are less impressed by dazzling displays of technology than they are by the ability of a firm to create a digitized ecosystem that addresses their emotions involved with the accumulation and retention of wealth. Younger individuals, by virtue of the world in which they’ve grown up, expect their wealth managers to offer the very best wealth tech before they even walk through the door. That’s why it’s so important for wealth managers to customize the tools they have at their disposal—utilizing digitized ecosystems like ours—to develop relationships that will endure a lifetime.
Jim Roth is a Managing Director and Business Executive at BNY Mellon | Pershing. As Business Executive, Jim leads Pershing’s relationship management of BNY Mellon’s largest, most strategic clients worldwide. He also is responsible for assisting Pershing’s clients in attracting advisors and advisors in transition.