Hybrid is the way forward for wealth management.
So concluded the majority of speakers at Private Banker International’s London conference, now the largest event in the PBI calendar.
The evidence for incorporating both personalisation and technology in wealth management is obvious, speakers argued.
Some of the biggest fintech firms are hiring human advisors, on the one hand. And nearly all private banks spend big on their technology services, on the other.
That, at least, the speakers could agree on. But the question remains: What sort of hybrid service do clients want?
Or rather, which aspects of a technological service should be combined with human advice when it comes to wealth management? So far there is no clear winner.
Speakers referenced examples from Uber and Amazon, both one-size-fits-all services, while fretting over client segmentation and changing needs.
Could the answer to this question, then, be the key to uniting the highly fragmented world of wealth management? What is hybrid?
If it is then the industry has been getting it repeatedly wrong so far. Investec recently shut its main fintech offering, Click & Invest, which in one sense was pure hybrid: A slick online platform where advisors would personally oversee investment portfolios. Its closure came less than a year after UBS stopped its very similar Smartwealth platform.
In this trial-and-error mentality, expect to see a host of other hybrid offerings rolled out. These need to be watched closely: not the AI features they flaunt, nor even for their customer feedback. The true test of a hybrid is whether it makes money.
Only then will we realise what is hybrid wealth management