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Beyond the Portfolio: Wealth Managers and Holistic Financial Advice
March 3, 2023 by Darren Bayley
Historically, wealth management firms focused most of their time and energy on their clients’ security portfolios. Today, however, clients are looking to wealth managers for a more holistic approach to their financial lives. Financial planning across the spectrum of accumulation and at retirement is a critical imperative for today’s investors. They are less concerned about hot mutual funds than about planning for their life aspirations. As Cerulli Associates has noted, “The most successful firms in the wealth management space are those that add value beyond the realm of investment management. Providing expanded services can set firms apart by not only improving the client experience but also by building relationships across generations.”
Three factors are driving the trend toward a financial planning mindset among advisors:
- The AUM-based business model is getting crowded, with many advisory firms going after a shrinking number of high-net-worth baby boomers.
- Clients today expect more than investment advice. They need help navigating financial questions ranging from student loans to life insurance to retirement planning.
- The fee-based advisory model has a lot of room for growth. For example, fewer than 20% of adults reportedly receive retirement planning advice from a financial professional in the US, and similar challenges exist in the UK.
However, moving to a holistic financial planning model poses some challenges for wealth managers. First, they must figure out how to:
- Deliver comprehensive financial planning at scale to clients at different life stages, with different needs, goals and levels of wealth
- Gain expertise in and access to products outside the traditional securities portfolio
- Structure planning fees upfront to be both profitable and competitive
Technology can help. SS&C is investing in technology innovation to deliver solutions for wealth managers and advisory firms to move their business models to where they can get ahead of these challenges.
Our strategy is to provide a wide range of multi-asset, multi-currency-based technology and service components that can be deployed individually or as an integrated capability from the inception of a client case to the monitoring of a consolidated portfolio at the touch of a button for both adviser and investor across the full range of financial products including life, tax wrapped pensions and investments.
More than 2,000 wealth management firms worldwide rely on SS&C to administer around US$2.4 trillion (£2.12T) in client assets. In addition, more than 10,000 advisors leverage SS&C platforms to service some 7 million investor accounts.
The SS&C wealth solution brings together new AI-based financial planning tools for advisors within a digital layer that can be configured to support the onboarding processes required to be conducted as part of our Global Services Platform (GSP). This platform is connected through APIs to the portfolio management, trading and settlement infrastructure that gives our clients effective control of the data across all aspects of the advisor and customer experience.
In 2022, SS&C added the innovative trading and settlement platform—Hubwise Securities Limited—to further expand our market coverage and to enable wealth managers and advisors to focus their capital spend on serving their investors and growing their businesses.
A recent example of a successful innovation partnership is Advice Assistant, an AI-powered solution developed with St. James’s Place (SJP), SS&C’s largest wealth management client in the European market. Advice Assistant leverages machine learning to help advisors confirm that their advice to clients is in keeping with best practices while automating the related documentation.
The front office, too, is ripe for automation. SS&C’s Advent Genesis is a cloud-based portfolio construction and rebalancing solution for portfolio managers. It enables portfolio teams to build and manage bespoke client portfolios at scale, automating key tasks while dramatically accelerating the process from portfolio decisions to trading, and freeing managers from time-consuming manual workarounds.
Wealth managers who can implement comprehensive financial planning capabilities efficiently and at scale stand a better chance of becoming their clients’ most trusted lead advisor, engaged across their complete financial lives, not just their securities portfolios. SS&C and our integration partners offer a variety of solutions and services to support fee-based advisors in transitioning to a holistic financial planning business model.
Written by Darren Bayley
Sales Director, Asset and Wealth Management