© 2020 Arizent. All rights reserved.
Voices

Can change happen even faster in wealth management?

Register now

I thought I was pretty good at embracing change. Then I heard something at Financial Planning’s In|Vest West conference that brought me up short.

“Change will never be as slow as it is now,” said Craig Iskowitz, founder of consulting firm Ezra Group, as he was leading a panel about organizational goals.

Never as slow? It feels as though wealth management, fintech and media are already living Moore’s law. Could change happen any faster?

As hard as it is for me to acknowledge, Iskowitz is right. The companies best prepared for longevity have their sights firmly set on the onrushing future. Charles Schwab may be one example. In 2019 alone, it bought USAA’s Investment Management arm. Then Schwab stunned the financial world with a deal to buy TD Ameritrade. And even as these deals were percolating, Schwab was ramping up banking services. It’s also investigating better uses of client data, such as predicting spending needs.

“Clients’ behaviors are going to start sending signals of what’s important about the future and what’s happening in their lives,” Schwab Advisor Services head Bernie Clark told me during a conversation on the sidelines of Schwab’s Impact conference in November. “Advisors will be signaled — they’ll notice that the wedding planners have been hired or money’s going out to the church for the ceremony.”

Guess who else is expert at collecting predictive data? Google, Amazon and other tech giants. If they enter wealth management, Moore’s law will look like the tortoise to their hares. Not convinced? Read our feature, “‘Nothing is stopping’ Google from entering wealth management,” by associate editor Sean Allocca.

Fortunately, Allocca writes, advisors have some potent defenses. Given that change will never be as slow as it is now, get ready to use them.

For reprint and licensing requests for this article, click here.