In order to communicate complex financial matters, explain investment opportunities and unpack the personal requirements inherent in wealth management planning, it is essential that an advisor and client are on the same page. And that means speaking the same language.
Society today runs in digital apps and emojis, and relies heavily on instantaneous connections, smartphone technology, automated assistance and the guiding hand of artificial intelligence (AI) and algorithms. Therefore, to connect to today’s wired investor, companies – and particularly financial services and wealth management firms – need to find a balance between bespoke personal contact and the most efficient ways of delivering those insights.
This is particularly true when servicing Africa’s wealthy individuals.
Group Director: Operations
Growing digital uptake in Africa
Carrick Wealth’s Director: Operations, Rashay Makan, explains that while the adoption of digital technology has been swift in a market like South Africa, and many clients are comfortable interacting in this space, there has been a slightly slower uptake across the rest of the continent. “However, it is starting to increase at quite a significant rate, so product provider portals need to ensure that these clients have the access they require,” he says.
Makan adds that because various markets in Africa often have different requirements, preferences and regulatory considerations, this had to be factored in when Carrick Wealth designed and deployed its Carrick Concierge Portal. “We try and keep everything standardised throughout all our offices in Africa, despite the fact that the Southern African region still tends to use tech quite a bit more,” he says. This means that as uptake increases across Africa, clients will be able to plug into an existing portal to service their requirements digitally.
What can I get out of using the Carrick Concierge Portal?
Makan explains that Carrick Wealth worked closely with professional IT specialists to create a concierge solutions that is both web and App based, taking account the needs of the firm’s diverse client set and their different digital expectations.
“What is key with the portal is that it doesn’t take away interaction with the advisor,” he says. “Clients can communicate seamlessly and directly with a Private Wealth Manager using the platform, or to a chain of experts who can assist on a case-by-case basis on issues as complex as compliance or as simple as accessing marketing information or personalising the name of a portfolio.”
The expected technical aspects are all available, such as a currency exchange portal and online tax clearance assistance, as well as the convenience of having a fully consolidated client portfolio in one space. Live data is available and the system also helps in the onboarding process.
“We use a lot of tech in our onboarding process,” explains Makan. “Everything is electronic and we use electronic signatures. Because we do a lot of offshore planning structures, and work in jurisdictions such as the Channel Islands, it is hugely beneficial to provide a small digital process. We also have a digital Know Your Customer regulatory process in place.”
The use of technology to sign up new individuals and service existing clients has, says Makan, been widely accepted. “We are now in the process of designing an app,” he says, noting that with technology it’s essential to keep evolving in step with customer expectations.
What does the future hold?
There is no reason why an individual should not have access to ways in which to allocate wealth intelligently using a digital platform which makes use of AI insights to create a smart portfolio that fits their needs like a glove.
As always, technological innovations have to keep the needs of new generations in mind, as well as the communication preferences and investment approaches of all clients. “Right now, particularly when it comes to younger investors, we are trying to simplify processes as much as possible,” says Makan.
These days clients are a lot more hands-on when it comes to managing and overseeing their portfolios, he adds. Notably, the relationship with a wealth advisor has changed considerably. “Gone are the days of an advisor just telling you what to do and, and the client does it,” he says. Wealth management firms that manage to differentiate themselves from the crowd must, therefore, strive to solve for life-stage needs and the fact that investing continues to stretch far beyond the traditional asset classes and investment approaches of the past.
This also means speaking to a client in their language, according to their preferences and in a wired, digital world.