Monday 14 September 2020 2.00-3.00 pm UK time

The wealth management industry has maintained its profitability even as other parts of the financial services industry have seen their margins squeezed. However, this is a tribute not to the efficiency of the industry but to the powerlessness of almost all wealth management clients and the price-insensitivity of some. Like payments before it, the handsome margins in wealth management have made the industry a target for technology-based disruptors which believe they can offer better outcomes and services. There are opportunities as well as threats, notably in the fields of data and artificial intelligence. And this Future of Finance event provides an opportunity for wealth managers to discuss with service providers and start-ups how they can work together to create a more innovative and efficient industry.

It is hard to think of an industry more out of tune with the age of digital technology than private wealth management. Underwhelmed by the promise of digital intimacy, it continues to emphasise the personal nature of trust and the need for long-term relationships even as the rest of the financial services industry is overwhelmed by demands for digital identity, universal access and instantaneous service. Wealth management has remained extremely profitable partly because it has yet to be fully digitised, but it cannot remain untouched for much longer. Operational activities such as account opening, KYC and AML checks and tax reporting are already being automated by a new breed of infrastructure provider. Data is being used by wealth advisers to personalise credit assessments and savings products. Artificial intelligence (AI) is putting richer information in the hands of trusted personal advisers. Over time, it may even replace them with genuine flexible robo-advisers and social trading platforms, making a reality of the long-predicted mass personalisation of retail trading and investment as well as wealth management. Blockchain technologies are poised to replace securities and funds with digital assets, which can be purchased in fractions measured in pennies not pounds, and traded, settled and custodied at nugatory prices. Digitisation of assets can make available old and new asset classes – real estate, renewable energy and other sustainable investments, precious metals, commodities, fine art, high yielding private credit – previously closed to retail investors. Customer service is not just moving on-line but becoming mobile. Digital technology also makes it easier to create an integrated portfolio of financial services for a client, across as well as within firms. Above all, digitisation offers transparency, into fees, commissions, spreads and risk and return. Incumbents managing funds and securities for an ageing client base will want to make sure that, when those portfolios pass to the next generation, they do not lose them to the horde of WealthTech unicorns and start-ups that are beginning to transform retail saving, investing and trading. 

Topics of discussion will include:

· Fee transparency
· Investment planning
· Social trading
· Fractional investing
· Service integration
· Client retention
· Open finance

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