Rather than setting specific deadlines for their digitalization strategy, a growing number of firms are starting to see their strategy as a constantly-evolving journey. “We view our strategy as always ongoing. We refresh our roadmap and strategy constantly,” noted one European domestic private bank executive. “Our strategy is best described as fluid. We have milestones that we aim to hit each year, but we are always reassessing our long-term plan,” agreed an executive from a US-based global private bank.
Our discussions also indicate that a number of organizations have ‘pivoted’ their strategy over the past year. Some have focused on unpacking their strategy into more achievable milestones and projects. “We started with a single global view but quickly realized that our strategy also needed to empower our regional teams and that required a significant shift in strategy,” noted a global wealth management executive focused on Asia. Others, however, have been forced to take a step back to fundamentally reassess their strategy.
Many credit the shift towards more agile development for unlocking many of the anticipated benefits of digital in the wealth management space. “Moving to an agile development methodology has allowed us to lower costs and develop a better quality offering,” noted one American global private bank executive. “We went through more than 180 iterations when developing our new site. Trying to accomplish that through a traditional waterfall approach would have taken years,” noted an Asian wealth manager.
In the long-run, however, we believe that bank-owned wealth managers will have a distinct advantage. Achieving scale is critical in digital wealth management and that will require a strong client book, access to a banking network and branding, advantages bank-owned wealth managers enjoy over standalone enterprises. Moreover, most bank-owned wealth managers benefit from in-house manufactured solutions, an important source of profits.