There are two trends that are becoming increasingly prominent across wealth management and investing, and neither is showing any sign of slow down. These are:
- Investment solutions are to be more about the client than about the product
- Costs and margin pressure on the provision of everything but the ‘human to human’ interaction, ie the products and services part of an investment proposition
What is emerging is that there is a trend of core competency focus of skills being formed around each investor (ie service orientation), rather than skills and disciplines around products (product orientations such scheme administration, scheme accounting etc). Some of these trends are:
a) each client service is fronted by a human with specialist skills around a discipline, such as accounting, structuring or advice / opinions
b) that instead of the many layers of such skill such as accounting (each with their own costs that ultimately the investors bear) being performed (traditionally one for the investor, one for an investment product, one for a platform etc), that in a client centric world that the only specialist skill ultimately required is that of the discipline around the investor clients affairs, which in the case of accounting is typically being performed by their accountant
c) that instead of layers of investment opinion (one layer inside a product to choose investments, one to choose a product, and even others like choosing a provider to select products on your behalf), that there be a single choice of investments centered around a client specific portfolio, increasingly being offered by an adviser
d) that as opposed to these functions being performed inside a typical ‘product’ structure, that they are being integrated together as services that are centered around each investor
In the past many would have argued that this is too costly to achieve for each individual investor, however with the evolution of technologies, this is now very much a reality.
Not only is this a reality from a set of now efficient client centric disciplines, but using technologies today, these data associated with these disciplines can now be integrated and shared across service providers, and this collaboration further breaks down the need for ‘product’ orientated barriers.
With technology solutions such as Class and Financial Simplicity together, often fueled by low costs ASX CHESS accounts and broadly available cash accounts, we are seeing a growing number of firms being able to integrate accounting and portfolio management services that are tailored to each and every client, and without the need for additional product layers and costs, this is not only superior provision of service to investors, but often can be achieved at a lower price point to investors also.
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