Wealth managers to bet on robo-advice in 2019

By Jo Howes on 18th December 2018

Savings and Investment

In the first of two articles, CREALOGIX UK's Jo Howes looks at some of the most pertinent trends to expect in 2019 from digital wealth management.

In 2019, we are going to see a continued wave of new robo-advisory offerings in wealth management. There are around twenty significant players in the UK market, but these are mostly from brands which only have a short history in the sector. The choice will improve in coming months as the digital leaders among established wealth management firms and private banks roll out their own robo-advisory services.

This shift towards robo-advisory solutions is not only creating new commercial opportunities for specialist wealth managers but is also significant for banks. Banks globally see a lot of inactive cash savings sitting in customers’ accounts, but they haven’t got enough information to know how to recommend investments to their own clients.

Using digital onboarding and quizzes to get consumers to identify their goals and risk appetite means a bank has far better understanding about what to recommend. If a saver can get her money to work harder, and the bank now has a clearer picture of a more engaged customer, that’s a win-win. So, in 2019, expect to see banks start to nag customers about uninvested cash, and it will be interesting to see the devil in the detail of how they choose to approach this.


The potential of open banking

The second shift that I expect to see happening in 2019 is the realisation of the potential that open banking has for the wealth management industry. Awareness will be led by private banks, which have to comply with PSD2 and so are further ahead in implementing public APIs.

These private banks will become very significant channels for the wealth managers who can package their digital offering and enter into integration partnerships. We’ve seen this working well between challengers, and there’s going to be nothing to stop established brands taking a similar marketplace approach.

As soon as more traditional wealth managers see the commercial benefits of connecting better with a fast-developing ecosystem of financial innovation, they are going to prioritise open banking in their ongoing digital roadmaps. Individual investors may not know or care much about the phrase ‘open banking’ but they will certainly demand the features and convenience. But there are other technology trends that the banking industry needs to keep an eye on. Here are the top 4 to watch in 2019.


AI and ML in WealthTech

Human wealth managers are more burdened by the volume of data than ever. To tackle cognitive overload, the industry needs cognitive technology. AI working on market and portfolio analysis in the background can surface insights that help human relationship managers do a better job.

An example of this is banks introducing technology for keyword analysis and smart indexing from voice call history.


Customer Experience takes centre stage

Another example of a more cognitive approach to technology is the addition of prompts and advice into digital banking interfaces, so that BI gets more of a CX makeover: banking customers and investors don’t just want graphs, they want to know what it’s telling them. In 2019 we will get closer to this as financial apps compete to make their notifications more personalised.


Hybrid robo-advisory services

Easy switching for clients between self-service, chat, and video call support when they need assistance from expert advisors. The traditional approach of travelling to meetings in a physical branch or office is off-putting to the modern investor, but they still want the human touch, and this is a big differentiator for established wealth managers to deliver well.



In 2019 with the increasing connection of financial services via public APIs and marketplaces, we’ll see a greater incentive for FIs and partners to design their business models to be available “as a service”. Done right, this is a win-win in banking technology, as the institution reduces costs and increases agility.

In the underlying technology, everyone is looking to develop solutions on low-code platforms, making systems easier and more reliable to run, while prioritising performance for the end user.

In my next piece, I look at the long-term trends we can expect to see in the wealth management industry, and the technology that will reshape the financial landscape over the next 5-10 years.   

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