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The financial services industry is at a turning point.

Increased digitisation of goods and services throughout the 2010s gathered pace long before Covid-19 turned the global outlook on its head. The pandemic served only to reaffirm this shift to digital as a matter of urgency. 

The wealth management sector was not spared the upheaval; however, it appears to be emerging from the crisis with an invigorated sense of progress. 

The disruptive forces of digitisation and Covid-19 are now joined by a groundswell of consumer expectation. This is clearly witnessed in the soaring uptake of retail investment tools and applications, greater access to financial instruments and widespread revolt against the traditional inaccessibility of financial services. 

Retail trading platforms like the infamous Robinhood app have equipped retail investors with the tools to not only participate but to influence a world once strictly the realm of the rich and powerful. 

Cryptocurrency and the global interest in decentralised finance (DeFi) can equally be seen as the attempt to wrest control from traditional financial gatekeepers, forcing regulators and leading financial institutions to go back to fundamentals and re-define what assets and money itself should look like in this new digital world. 

Incumbents and digital challengers alike, desperate to ensure relevance and remain competitive in these new markets, are designing and delivering new products at record levels. Digital wealth management platforms and applications are gaining immense traction with increasingly savvy users, and financial institutions are focused on partnering or acquiring firms with the technological capability to attract and retain these motivated retail investors. 

Hybrid advice, hyper-personalisation, and holistic services are seen as vital attributes of successful digital wealth management services like MoneyBox, MoneyFarm and Wealthify, with financial wellness as their ultimate goal. Yet, their benefits extend well beyond financial wellness. Artificial intelligence, behavioural finance and data analytics also work to reset bias or systemic exclusion which have historically been prevalent in the sector. 

This report, the Future of Wealth Management 2021 with interviews from Accenture, Coutts, Hargreaves Lansdown, Nutmeg, Oxford Risk, Tilney Smith & Williamson, and UBS Global Wealth Management will explore the forces currently shaping the industry. It will examine not only what these forces are, but how and why they form the structural foundation for a sector which is at the very beginning of its digital renaissance.


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