Speaking to Portfolio Adviser recently after the announcement of its partnership deal with SEI Wealth Platform, WH Ireland’s Group CEO said that when you look back over history, you tended to lose private clients because of something breaking down on the operational or the administrative side of things, rather than because of performance.
As a result, for many in the private client space, the mind-set has been to keep the operational elements of one’s business in house as much as possible.
Rising demand for and use of technology within the wealth management space combined with growing client sophistication has, however, made such a mind-set increasingly untenable.
“Clients are much more aware of the front end, of how their portfolios are performing,” Killingback argues, while at the same time, the level of investment and specialist knowledge needed to keep on top of technology means outsourcing is increasingly important.
“I see the pendulum continuing to swing,” he said, adding: “The challenge for the private client space is how best to take the greatest advantage of technology and the benefits that it can bring and overlay that with a continuation of the personal service.”
And, he added, this is not the same thing as robo-advice.
“Robo-advice will serve a certain segment of the market, but I do not worry about it at all from a WH Ireland perspective. We are focused on direct, human, adviser-to-client contact. That is what I need to keep and maintain and develop. But, at the same time, I am paddling very hard underwater to make sure I have all the IT to support that, to help not only support our client offering but to bring our costs down and improve scalability.”