Magazine issues » October 2018

EDITORIAL: Move with the times

George_MittonI have often been told by veterans of the wealth management industry that clients will always value the human touch. Online alternatives such as robo-advisers or digital wealth platforms may appeal to some younger investors, these managers concede, but millennials (people aged between roughly 18 and 35) don’t have much money to invest and anyway, once clients reach a certain level of wealth, they demand a human adviser as a matter of course. This attitude is complacent. Yes, millennials today aren’t exactly flush with cash, but they stand to inherit from their parents. Secondly, the services they demand – convenient, on-demand, mobile-based – will become the norm simply as a matter of changing fashions. Don’t believe me? Think of how holidays used to be booked. It was logical for my grandfather to go, in person, to a travel agent to arrange his flights and hotel bookings. Now, everyone I know makes their bookings online using comparison websites such as Skyscanner or Trivago. A generation that is accustomed to ordering a taxi in minutes using Uber is not going to wait for days for an appointment with a wealth manager. Wealth managers simply must adapt to the digitally native generation. As in so many industries these days, China is showing us what the future might look like. George Mitton is editor of Funds Global Asia ©2018 funds global asia

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