Four in 10 wealth clients in S'pore satisfied with their wealth managers: Report

The report also found that two-thirds of investors still want advisory services from their wealth firm. ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE

SINGAPORE - Only 43 per cent of wealth management clients in Singapore were satisfied with their primary wealth managers, according to a report by global professional services company Accenture released on Monday (June 6).

In fact, only 16 per cent thought their wealth managers were above par, while another 27 per cent reckoned they were just barely at par.

This was despite the fact that 89 per cent said that their investment expectations were met or exceeded last year.

Accenture's latest Future of Wealth Management report, which surveyed 501 investors and 77 financial advisers in Singapore in the first quarter this year found that two thirds of investors still want advisory services from their wealth firm - rather than adopt a self-directed approach where they make investment decisions and use wealth firms just to execute their trades.

This desire for more financial advice could lead investors to move assets to firms that have more robust advisory offerings.

"More advanced and accessible advisory services are key to unlocking wealth management growth opportunities in Singapore and beyond," said Mr David Wilson, who leads Accenture's wealth management practice for growth markets.

While most investors in Singapore tend to work with multiple wealth firms, an individual's primary manager holds, on average, twice the amount of assets under management as the next secondary manager.

The survey found that Singapore had the highest share of investors in the region (48 per cent) who say they are likely to consolidate their assets with fewer or just a single firm in 2022, compared to the regional average of 41 per cent.

In short, wealth managers here face stiff competition.

Wealth managers ST spoke to said easier access to market information, data analytics and robo-advisory services have added complexity and challenge to wealth management.

"Today's client is, in some cases, as knowledgeable, if not more, than his banker," said a private banker who requested anonymity.

"So the adviser has to bring the whole array of resources to the table, be it analysts, the forex experts, the fixed income specialists, when interacting with clients. No more plain vanilla advisory."

There are also gaps between how clients and firms perceive next-generation advice.

While firms are focusing on next generation applications such as portfolio construction, investment insights and new products, Singapore's investors see a wider application of next-generation advisory services. They want to invest in digital assets such as cryptocurrencies, tokenised assets and crypto investment funds, though their advisers are generally hesitant to support such investments.

Over 70 per cent of clients have invested, or plan to invest, in products or assets related to ESG (environment, social and governance) issues this year.

Meanwhile, wealth advisers bemoaned the fact that they spend half their time on non-revenue-generating activities, such as administration, checking trade status and non-client meetings, and have to use multiple applications for each key activity.

The survey polled some 3,200 investors and 500 advisers at wealth management firms across Asia, with India coming up tops in terms of client satisfaction rate.

Some 40 per cent of respondents have investible assets of between US$100,000 and US$1 million, while 60 per cent were high net worth individuals with investible assets of above US$1 million.

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