As with many industries, the wealth management industry is seeking to up the ante on the use of data to help licensees, advisers and brokers understand their businesses and clients, improve operational efficiency and risk management and to provide highly engaging personalised experiences for their clients.
Unlike other industries such as online retailers, streaming services, ridesharing companies and social media platforms, the wealth management industry has been slow to the party due to reliance on disparate legacy systems and complex regulatory frameworks.
With the introduction of the Consumer Data Right legislation and the rollout of open banking that is moving towards open everything, access to data is being streamlined. There are still many challenges that face the industry in terms of aggregating and understanding data including the need to cleanse and structure it to ensure it is fit for purpose, and to ensure its safety through strong privacy and cyber security controls. Technology has been racing ahead and there are now many tools available from the likes of Google, AWS, Microsoft, IBM and many others – facilitating the handling of huge data sets and computing power to apply artificial intelligence, machine learning and robotic process automation to the task.
In 2018, HUB24 established a Think Tank of leading advice licensees to work together using technology and data to identify and solve major issues facing their businesses. Currently, the increasing cost of compliance is regarded as the number one challenge for wealth management industry professionals, reducing their time with clients, increasing their stress levels and adding to the cost of providing broking services and advice. This is closely followed by the difficulty in seeing a single view of their clients’ wealth and their preferences and behaviours.
These challenges erode a licensee or practice owner’s capacity to focus on other areas such as helping their business grow and become more profitable, while continuing to deliver client service.
An evolving client base
Demographic trends are changing the shape of wealth management businesses and forcing a review of client value propositions. These trends include the wave of baby boomers heading into retirement, the intergenerational transfer of wealth, and the rise of the Millennial generation, who seek far more tailored solutions and value propositions that meet their needs and preferences.
Millennials (and younger groups) have considerably different habits to any previous generation because they’ve grown up in a digital world and are often referred to as digital natives. They are social media savvy, cause motivated, change adaptive, and value experiences. The COVID-19 environment may have further influenced their behaviours with Canstar reporting 44% of Millennial Australians and 42% of Gen Z investing in the sharemarket for the first time during 2020. 
While this is positive for the advice and broking industries, the way Millennials interact with service providers and their needs are different to older generations, who have traditionally accounted for most clients of a typical advice practice.
Data and technology can be used to not only understand the existing habits of Millennials and younger generations, but to embrace the ways they want to interact and engage, and at a pace they expect. An example of this includes a super fund that is enriching structured data with psychographic, attitudinal and behavioural data from research specialists, and viewing it alongside transactional data. By doing this, they can create predictive models and ‘next best’ actions that can be automated through sophisticated marketing tools, providing potential to engage with clients in new and relevant ways.
Data driving innovation
For us, it all comes down to data. HUBconnect Broker (formerly known as Agility Applications) was founded back in 2007, servicing a wide range of broking clients with data services, and became part of the HUB24 Group in 2016.
Today, in addition to serving brokers, HUBconnect’s data and technology solutions are designed to enhance efficiency and deliver value to licensees, advisers and their clients. At the centre of HUBconnect is the Innovation Lab and by leveraging technology like machine learning, HUBconnect is harnessing data to help solve key challenges in the delivery of advice.
Based on learnings from Think Tank participants, it has become clear that collecting, cleansing and storing data (provided by brokers, licensees and advisers) in a useful format is worthwhile, but moreover, collaboration is key in leveraging new technology to build solutions that reduce the cost of advice delivery. HUB24 estimates approximately 20% of data from brokers and licensees is in a structured format which means the majority is held in documents such PDFs, Word files, emails and in CRM systems in unstructured and inaccessible formats (for example, Statements of Advice).
A key focus of HUBconnect is gaining access to this information, cleansing it and combining it with the structured data and since July 2021, HUBconnect has processed and categorised more than 500,000 documents. Once this process is done, machine learning and artificial intelligence can then use this data to provide insights and create predictive actions.
In practice, HUBconnect’s data innovations include the development of data driven dashboards and reports for advice practices around compliance to monitor and manage their business via key risk indicators. By extracting key data points, a wealth management business can monitor client risk profiles, develop automated alert system checks, and retrieve funds under advice reporting and other dashboards. This technology can reduce costs for businesses by saving them from manually measuring, monitoring and addressing issues, and driving business efficiencies while enabling a better client experience.
Developing a single view of wealth
As mentioned, there is demand for a more personalised experience through a single view of wealth, where a client can interact and engage with their adviser who remains at the centre of the relationship. While at the same time, having the ability to view their clients’ assets in one place, regardless of where the assets are held.
Highly customisable digital experiences can now be created through HUBconnect’s data capabilities. Advisers can configure their clients’ views of their wealth that are meaningful to their personal circumstances and provide secure and private views for each family member of their clients. Those providers with a broader view of their clients’ wealth and online behaviours can better target their services and offerings to meet their specific needs.
The way forward
Data is powerful and with HUBconnect, we are delivering the tools and capability to empower licensees, advisers and brokers to achieve our vision to deliver cost-effective advice to more Australians.
First published in the SIAA Monthly, May 2022
 CoreData, Marketing to Millennials: Why they are that different.
 A Vickovich, ‘Why more than 40pc of Millennials and Gen Z bought shares in 2020’, Australian Financial Review, 22 December 2020.