Post-Pandemic Lessons for Wealth Management

Key Takeaways from SIFMA’s 2021 Private Client Conference

Private Client Conference

At SIFMA’s virtual Private Client Conference, executives from across the wealth management industry explored the industry’s new paradigm. Corporate leaders, business managers and financial advisors discussed the many lessons learned thus far from the pandemic, with an emphasis on innovative services and technologies that can be leveraged for the future.

Three key themes arose from our far-ranging discussions: the evolution of our client base, the impact of technology on growth and client satisfaction, and the durability of the wealth management business.

In the words of just some of our speakers, here are some of our favorite, key moments from the conference!

Today’s client base is evolving, whether it is “Gen-I” or diverse communities, and so is the way we are serving them.

“Gen-I” is a unique and emerging demographic one that is comprised of first-time investors that are “optimistic about the marketplace and believe there will be continued growth, it is important to invest more, and spend time managing their portfolios.”

Lisa Kidd Hunt, EVP, International Services, Charles Schwab & Co., Inc.

In today’s world diversity, equity and inclusion is not only a business imperative but a pillar of how we interact today. “Companies need to reflect the clients and communities they serve.”

David Lynch, Head of Distribution Leader Enablement, Fidelity

Trend lines are clear as more “investors and clients are asking about ESG investing and products. The demand is going up and has exponentially grown year-over-year and we expect it to keep growing.”

Paul Reilly, Chief Executive Officer, Raymond James Financial

Now more than ever, technology is driving client satisfaction and leveraging it at scale is critical for the future. Waiting to do so is simply no longer an option.

“Technology will drive growth and client satisfaction.”

Andy M. Sieg, President, Merrill Lynch Wealth Management

We have learned “clients of all ages are far more willing to engage digitally than expected. Advisors and clients alike have embraced the ease and connectivity of digital communications; however, both have been steadfast to say the virtual world cannot replace human connection.”

Andy M. Sieg, President, Merrill Lynch Wealth Management

As we adopt technology and evolve the branch office model, it is imperative we are “focusing far less on standardization and more customization” through enhanced services, technologies, and flexibilities.

Tash Elwyn, President & CEO, Private Client Group, Raymond James & Associates, Inc.

The client-advisor relationship was previously built on in-person engagement, in today’s new normal advisors have seen that “proximity is dead when clients are looking for an advisor” clients are now more willing to virtually connect to advisors not in their area and are making decisions based off “service, communication and skill set.”

Aleeza M. Singh, Senior Financial Advisor, Merrill Lynch Wealth Management

Technology is not only an additive piece of client service, but a factor to help advisors “remove outdated processes and unnecessary steps” so they can instead focus on “strategic business decisions for their clients” and client relationships.

Caitlin Ulmer-Long, Senior Vice President, Director of Private Client Group, Janney

Growth opportunities in the wealth management industry have never been stronger.

One item of certainty coming out of the pandemic is “the durability, strength and resiliency of the wealth management business,” there has “never been a better time to be in wealth management. The relationship between the client and advisor has never been stronger or more important.”

Jason Chandler, Group Managing Director, Head, Wealth Management USA, UBS

“The time you invest in client planning will determine how well you will get through tough market volatility and turbulence. The more you plan with your clients the stronger your relationship will be.”

Sandra McKeever, CEO & President, Asia Pacific Financial Management Group

When considering what constitutes a good financial advisor in these times, it is the “scalable, repeatable investing processes” the advising team provides as well as the “breadth of what the team can offer its clients for life planning.”

Vincent Lumia, Managing Director, Head of Field Management, Morgan Stanley

Thank you to all 2021 Private Client Conference speakers, attendees, and sponsors. To hear more, view select sessions from the conference offered on-demand. To keep up to date with the latest wealth management news and trends, sign-up now for SIFMA’s Wealth Management SmartBrief – launching June 16!