Andy Farmer
By Andy Farmer on 31 Mar, 2023

Asset and wealth management firms looking to accelerate their digital transformation should focus on culture, leadership, and winning hearts and minds within the business, rather than concentrating solely on technology.

Research among marketers in the asset and wealth management (AWM) sector conducted by London Research, and commissioned by Paragon DCX, identified 6 key steps asset management companies can take to prepare for the post-digital future.

These are spelt out in our report – The World’s Gone Digital; Why Haven’t You? - which examines the barriers to, and opportunities for, digital transformation in asset and wealth management.

As one interviewee, Kerry Haxby-Dean, executive director / head of investment trust marketing at JP Morgan Asset Management, put it:

Customers want data, information, and content at all times and that’s what we need to provide. As the technology trends and preferences change, we must change too.

Six steps to jump-start your digital journey

The report’s recommendations are:

1. Prove benefits, gain momentum

The most powerful way to convert digital sceptics is to demonstrate results. Identify small-scale ‘quick wins’.

These can be as simple as A/B testing different landing page treatments for content marketing activity, or ways to contact relationship managers. Any initiatives that help show marketing’s value in generating new leads can change perceptions and unlock investment.

2. Integrate marketing technology across the business

Building a deeper understanding of clients starts with bringing together all the data the organisation holds about them.

We are increasingly asked to help AWM clients add online browsing behaviour to customer records, in order to help them understand and mitigate potential changes in fund strategies, or to find cross- and upsell investment opportunities – what we call predictive wholesaling.

3. Break down internal barriers

Despite companies’ best efforts, pandemic-induced remote working has hampered the informal exchange of ideas between teams.

Businesses need to think about more systematic, process-based methods of dismantling silos.

4. Address the ‘sticky middle’

Middle managers in AWM are often focused on the day job rather than transformation and the future. They don’t always have the budget or authority to carry change through and need permission, guidance and investment from the board in order to succeed.

5. See what you can learn from fintech start-ups

Most start-ups use some variant of Agile Methodology to accelerate their response to customer needs and reduce time-to-value. 

6. Find the right digital leaders

Interviewees for this report suggest focusing on the following characteristics:

  • Empowering - they recruit staff who know what they should do and leave them to it.
  • Encouraging - they know good ideas can come from anywhere.
  • Visionary - they know where the organisation needs to go.
  • Brave - they’re not afraid to fail in pursuit of the right outcome.
  • Engaging - they can talk to anyone in the organisation and bring them on their journey.

Digital maturity isn’t just technological maturity

Few of the report’s findings refer directly to technology, but digital maturity will be essential if businesses are to capitalise fully on emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence.

AI is seen by many interviewees as the next big step in marketing automation. It enables what is known as ‘prescriptive marketing’; automatically selecting the best next communication to send a prospect to move them on to the next stage of their path to purchase.

The businesses that are quickest to realise this capability will open up a significant divide between themselves and their competition.

But in order for prescriptive marketing to work, organisations will need to have integrated both their customer data and their marketing systems across the entire customer journey. That might sound like a technology issue, but it’s actually just as much about culture. Teams and departments have to be happy to share their data to help the business hit its targets. They also need to understand how detrimental the ad hoc purchase of point solutions to their problems can be to the organisation’s overall performance.

Another interviewee, Sanchari Roy, marketing manager (VP) for Benelux & Nordics, Allianz Global Investors, summed up the situation:

“From an efficiency perspective, we can definitely use digital better,” she said. “It’s not only about what clients see; we could also use technology to make our internal processes cleaner and quicker, as long as employees are open to using new or different systems. This is often tricky as we all have our old ways of working and adapt to change in different ways.”


Download the report

You can now access the full report – The world’s gone digital; why haven’’t you? Barriers to, and opportunities for, digital transformation in the asset and wealth management sector.

Download the free report


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