With so many sophisticated research tools now at our disposal, wealth managers need new ways to add value for their clients. In a data-rich world, unique sources of information are proving both precious and elusive. How then, can today's data providers help?
The average age of wealth management clients is falling and a new generation of younger investors is emerging. This tech-savvy and more progressive generation of investors does much of its own investment research. They are now able to educate themselves in investment decision-making through rapid technology advancements. With plenty of opportunities to access and consume information, they are using stock screeners and a range of analytical solutions online.
So, where does this leave the wealth manager? Traditionally, advisors acted as the gatekeeper to unique value-add content. Now to compete, wealth firms are providing direct electronic access to the content via sophisticated online toolkits. Exposing the information to their clients is driving an evolution of the traditional advisor value proposition.
However, despite pressure on fees and a growing need to continually provide value to their clients, wealth managers continue to play a critical role in the investment process -- especially for high-net worth individuals with large and complex portfolios. Investors may be more educated and informed than ever, but they won't usually have their advisor's level of market insight. Even with access to the same information, investors still need advisors to interpret the implications for their portfolio. What's more, they'll have questions that require a rapid and highly informed response.
What will set them apart is the speed to which they can access information, stories and events in order to best advise their clients of any age. Clearly, data providers and data aggregators need to evolve to provide more advanced tool sets for the advisor.
Currently, most data providers and aggregators offer similar services, but there are enormous opportunities to dig deeper and wider to leverage the broad access to data and provide unique value-add content.
When it comes to processing news, for example, there are a host of highly sophisticated social media algorithms that traditional terminals may not yet pick up on. Solutions for capturing social media data could tap into a rich new source of insight -- feeding business stories to wealth managers and their investors long before they hit the wire.
The key for data vendors is to find their own niche and provide their own unique content. Media content, social or traditional, is just one path to gain more insights. These and other insights can lurk in all sorts of places currently present in existing platforms but yet to be discovered.
Certainly, new market data opportunities are there to be mined and seized. Whether it is consumed through a data feed, terminal or a web portal, the goal is to make the information as relevant as possible; data can then act as a true differentiator. Unique content will not only keep wealth managers several steps ahead of their clients, but it will also help set them apart from their own competition.Ralston Roberts is the chief operations officer of SunGard's global trading business, responsible for SunGard's market data business, MarketMap and global trading's overall strategy. Before that, he was senior vice president, product management and helped shape the strategic ... View Full Bio