Only one quarter of wealth managers globally offer digital channels beyond email and the digital strategies currently offered in the wealth management sector are sharply at odds with what HNWIs expect, the report said.
The report pulls from interviews with relationship managers, CEO's and fintech representatives as well as a survey of 1,000 high net worth individuals in Europe, North America and Asia.
Digital embrace needed
On a global scale, 55% of HNWIs surveyed believe it is important for their financial advisor or wealth manager to have a strong digital offering. Among Asia HNWIs, the figure was 64%.
PwC said firms that embrace digital opportunities now are in a position to deliver "propositions of real and sustainable future value" which combine technological and human capital.
Clients in Asia-Pacific place more value in the range of products and services offered by their wealth managers.
“HNWIs in Asia-Pacific are more at ease with technology as compared to their global counterparts," said Justin Ong, Asia-Pacific asset and wealth management leader.
An investment office may have to evaluate more than 200 investment products for a client and technology can play a key role in making the process more efficient, he added.
Human interaction valued
In Singapore, PwC said that relationship managers generally have a high level of trust from their clients, indicating that any future wealth management model needs to retain the human aspect.
“Over the past year, we've seen a number of the local wealth management players start to make inroads into better use of technology and analytics to enhance client experience and improve account penetration," said Julia Leong, private banking leader.
The growing popularity in the use of digital channels should not have significant impact on human capital in the financial industry, according to a recent CFA Institute survey.
About 70% of global respondents said engagement with human advisors for institutional investors and ultra-high net worth individuals will not be affected by the emergence of automated financial advice tools because these investors demand complex and tailored advice, the CFA survey showed.
It also suggested that peer-to-peer lending is the subsector within the financial industry that is expected to be most impacted by the digital trend.