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Wealth trends 2021: Advent of the Underserved

Sameer Datye explores the underserved segment as part of his 10-part series on wealth management trends.

Sameer Datye / June 14, 2021

Many underserved market segments are now being increasingly targeted with special customised offerings.

Financial institutions have served the investor needs successfully in good as well as bad times. This success can be attributed to the fact that the stereotype image of the investor was easy to create, associate with and serve. However, this image is now being challenged - especially so in the past few years. A new breed of investors is making its presence felt- and that too with a bang.

The article is the latest in the series exploring “Top 10 trends impacting Wealth Management in 2021”

Three of the most prominent underserved segments are: women, millennials and the “covid investors”. These are the segments that seem to be growing and rising. They represent a market opportunity waiting to exploited but which has not been addressed adequately due to systemic and cultural bottlenecks.

1. Women

According the BCG study (2020), women control 32% of the world’s wealth. From 2016 to 2019, women accumulated wealth at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6.1%. Over the next four years, that rate will accelerate to 7.2%. Women are adding $5 trillion to the wealth pool globally every year - faster than in past years. The current share of women’s wealth is the highest in North America. However, Women in Asia have the highest growth with a phenomenal 10.4% annually.

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Wealth managers will need to find a concrete way to address the blooming yet underserved segment with its own peculiar investment needs:

  • Trust is paramount: Most women prefer referrals from people they trust when choosing a bank or wealth manager. Trust for them is more important than pure numerical comparisons like management fees, investment performance, taxes, costs etc. A robotic comparison on digital platforms will not suffice.
  • Family & Friends: Investment advice from family & friends is the preferred source and not wealth managers. This is probably the manifestation of the “trusted source” need as mentioned earlier. Could social investing tools be the answer?
  • Personalisation: Relationship managers need to connect on personal level to understand the aspirations. There is a tilt towards marketing campaigns that featured people like themselves and that discussed challenges similar to those that they face.
  • Long term, not short term: Female investment behaviour is different than from their male counterparts and is beautifully encapsulated in the book Warren Buffett Invests like a Girl. Studies show that female investors tend to be patient, rather than impulsive; realistic, rather than overconfident; prudent, rather than reckless. They tend to think longer term, take much lesser risks, and just generally view investing more as a means to an end, (security for their families, for example).

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As the first step, the wealth advisory community could start by acknowledging that this is a specific target market group which must be handled differently. Retrofitting this group into traditional existing groups like ultra-high net worth individuals (UHNI), high net worth individuals (HNI), etc, simply won’t fly.

2 The Covid investors

The pandemic has brought to the fore a new class of retail investor – those who have wholeheartedly entered the wealth markets for various reasons.

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  • Time availability: This may sound strange, however, the sheer amount of time available for multitasking because of remote office, movement restrictions, social distancing, meant more free time for many. Time was spent exploring and learning about stock market action.
  • Alternative sources of income: With traditional business badly hit by the frequent lock downs and general downturn in economic activity, many now see the stock markets as an alternate source of income.
  • Weak returns from other investment options: Negative and near zero interest rates mean stock markets are now the only option to earn some returns.
  • More awareness and easier entry: Trading platforms, online education forums, social investing tools, very low trading charges, have lowered the entry barrier and increased the capacity through knowledge building.

Now it remains to be seen that whether these newbies will metamorphose themselves to be long term wealth generators. Undoubtedly, they have now tasted blood and it is an opportunity for wealth managers to open wide, a new market which will sustain even after the pandemic has passed.

3. The Millennials & the post millennials (Gen Z)

The millennials and the post millennials make up for the last big, underserved segment. They hold around 10% of global wealth increasing at an outstanding 16% per annum. The following are some of this segment’s characteristics.

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  1. No inhibitions about technology whatsoever and they are supremely digitally savvy.
  2. Social media presence, existing relationships, gamification, hybrid advisory, social investing are top expectations.
  3. Prone to invest in new instruments like crypto currencies.
  4. Extremely price savvy in terms of management fees, investment returns, taxation etc.
  5. Need complete transparency – in transaction views, reporting, and execution.
  6. Compare online with competition and are not afraid to shift frequently.
  7. Socially aware and and willing to invest in sustainable financial instruments.
  8. Brave and willing to take some risks with invulnerability syndrome not completely lost after teenage years 😊.

Wealth managers (all - large Financial Institutions, boutique and wealth managers, digital-only advisors) need to meet these highly volatile young investors on their own turf. Understanding their tacit motivations and catering to the resultant needs will be the key to success. The trick will be figure out how to create a relationship that is digitally driven, allows self-service and at the same time the advisory value is explicitly visible for the users.

The advent of the underserved is challenging for sure. Nevertheless it is a harbinger of new market opportunities for financial institutions. The pandemic created a push for the common person to investigate capital markets as an option and thus came about the Covid investors. Maybe, more than diversity trainings, simply having more women advisors might get better results with women investors. Efforts invested in building a hybrid strategy to marry technology innovation with personal touch for advisory will help connect with the millennials & the gen z.

TietoEVRY has been making pioneering efforts to catch latest trends. WealthMapper is a modular digital toolkit that utilises the latest developments in technology and distribution to speed up innovation and time-to-market. This empowers financial institutions to create meaningful conversations with their customer and offer self-service tools to their customers. Feel free to reach out to me for further details.

 

READ THE OTHER POSTS IN THE SERIES:

Top 10 trends impacting Wealth Management in 2021
 
Democratization of wealth
 
Goal-based investing
Sameer Datye
Head, Insurance & Wealth Solutions

Sameer is responsible for insurance and wealth solutions. He actively promotes open ecosystem thinking that powers our WealthMapper and Insurance-in-a-Box platforms. At TietoEVRY, he has a long experience of working within the Healthcare, Insurance and Wealth domains. Prior to this, he worked as a product manager and a brand manager in the food, processing and packaging industry. He is passionate about translating technology innovations to business reality leading to better quality of human life.

Author

Sameer Datye

Head, Insurance & Wealth Solutions

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