The future of the wealth management industry is a popular topic. What impact will technology have? Which RIA will become the largest? How will the passive vs. active battle play out? We believe the thinking behind these questions is much too small.
We believe in a larger, grander, future for our industry. A future where all professional services are digitally integrated into a seamless client experience.
Investment management is drastically overvalued by many clients. While investment management has been largely commoditized thanks to technology, many clients are still paying too much and receiving too little. That won’t continue for much longer. Investment management will wind up as a small part of a much larger offering. There will be little revenue and less margin for advisors of the future.
Planning is quickly becoming commoditized as well. While lagging investments by a few years, there will be a time in the near future when financial and estate planning will be automated and effortless. Our entire financial lives will be synthesized and optimal recommendations will be presented for execution.
The Trust Companies utilized by most clients are archaic. New trust companies will seamlessly integrate with clients’ estate planning and investment goals and provide a digital user experience that is generations ahead of the paper statements and powerpoints of today.
Law firms are the next natural service to connect to this ecosystem. In the future, new planning documents and updates to existing ones will be an easy wizard away. Clients will be able to request changes they want to make online and their AI–driven online attorney will quickly and inexpensively generate updates.
Plugging in a virtual CPA firm will be easy. From general tax preparation to gift tax returns, clients information will easily flow to a CPA for tax filing.
The democratization of data will signal the real arrival of the Integrated Professional Service Firm of the Future. When clients own their personal data they will be able to easily connect (and disconnect) service providers. No longer at the mercy of mega data custodians, clients will be able to hire and fire advisors with the push of a button on their digital device.