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POINT view
OF view

Building a “Signature Experience”

for Wealth Management
By Alex Sion, Vice President Financial Services, SapientNitro

What does the word “wealth” even mean anymore? Is “wealth management” an alienating
term and concept to the retail investor? How do wealth managers convince investors to get
back into the market with new investment strategies when the landscape that faces them looks
like this: there is a general lack of trust and high degree of caution and skepticism; information
distribution and consumption behaviors in the digital age have changed dramatically influencing
the how, when, and where investment decisions are made; and the global set of options for how
advisors can put money to work have become impossibly complex?

When you think about these questions within the context of a changing regulatory environment
where the demand for transparency will be massive, then what you get is this: the need for
wealth managers to re-connect with, and demonstrate their relevance to, investors has never
been greater; delivering a relevant, engaging client experience that drives this re-connection
has never been harder; and the vision around what a successful business model looks like in
the wealth management industry has never been cloudier.

Are you ready?

Around the world, wealth management executives across sales, marketing, products, and
technology are struggling with these questions. What unites them all – regardless of geography
or place in the value chain (distribution or manufacturing) – is a set of business imperatives,
which they all pursue:

• Drive asset growth by reaching new customers in new ways in an increasingly competitive
and noisy marketplace
• Comply with government and consumer demand for increased transparency and simplicity
• Re-engineer the advisory process to match new ways in which investors consume and
process information and make decisions in a global market
• Profitably scale a highly complex and personalized experience
• Maximize the leverage of a tremendous amount of in-house expertise, data, institutional
knowledge, and invaluable social networks

© Sapient Corporation, 2011


What’s clear is that our industry is at a key turning point. Global market dynamics,
anticipated regulatory pressures, changing investor behaviors and demands, and introduction
of potentially disruptive technologies (Web 2.0, mobile, social, tablet devices, etc.) have
culminated to a point where fundamental re-consideration of how the wealth management
industry markets, sells, and services investors around the world is being re-considered.
“Wealth” and what it means to the retail investor is being re-defined and the goal is to deliver
a more human, practical, grounded, and collaborative client experience.

What the industry needs is a new “signature experience” – a process for engaging clients
befitting of the new age: global, multi-channel, digital, personal, transparent, collaborative,
multi-generational, leveraging the institutional knowledge and insight gained through global
research networks and decades of investing experience.

SapientNitro believes that the future wealth management signature experience will be
defined by four key tenets:

• Immersive multi-channel marketing and communications – The wealth management

marketing and sales experience is built upon conversations. Highly engaging, highly
personal, often non-linear and exploratory conversations. A digital-centric, multi-
channel marketing and communications strategy can replicate that conversational
experience with investors who now have different modes and methods of communicating
and consuming information. It can alter the experience so that a “conversation” can
take place across physical and digital spaces, with or without the need for increasingly
precious and expensive face-to-face time with a professional advisor.

• Re-imagined, holistic investor views – Making an investment decision is not an easy

task. Investors will put money in motion only when they are logically, operationally, and
emotionally ready to do so. Traditionally, this has required savvy advisors and investing
professionals to take great pains to articulate and illustrate their investing logic in a
way that will resonate with investors. That translates into lots of cycle time, lots of data
aggregated from multiple sources, lots of conversations. With the information
available in the market today and the technology at hand to be able to access, visualize,
and present it in increasingly more engaging ways, investor views should be re-
imagined with the goal of speeding up the investing decision cycle and increasing
the velocity of money.

• Enabling a collaborative advisory experience – The old wealth management advisory

experience: come visit the branch — advisor on one side and investor on the other
– advisor looking at desktop, investor looking at oak furniture and paintings on the
walls, “book” handed to investor, never read. The new wealth management advisory
experience: investor explores investing concepts in multiple channels beginning
online, largely self-directed, tools are engaging, easy to use and understand, advisor
guides rather than drives experience, client meets advisor in coffee shop and finalizes
investment scenario over iPad, finally executes online, gets confirmation and stays pro-
actively engaged through mobile.

© Sapient Corporation, 2011


• Empowering intelligence networks – As Gordon Gekko once said, “the most valuable
commodity I know of is information.” Wealth and asset managers build and brand
themselves around this statement, each claiming to be able to deliver a different kind
of insight. With sprawling networks of professionals scattered around the world, the
leading global wealth management institutions are treasure troves of information. But
how well is this information really put into action? Does the retail investor really “feel”
the information advantage? Leading wealth managers of the future will learn how to
use emerging technologies – social, mobile, augmented reality, etc. – to increase their
information advantage and better leverage insight gathered from armies of seasoned
professionals, a global footprint, and networks of relationships across many industries.

A new signature experience in wealth management will transform the industry. It will
increase levels of client engagement, improve and scale the advisory experience, and make
investing and the markets more relevant for the retail investor. The ability to deliver this
experience is within our grasp.

Alex Sion, Vice President Financial Services, SapientNitro

Alex is a Vice President based in New York City and where

he leads Digital Strategy for the Financial Services sector.
He has over 10 years of experience in digital strategy for
financial services firms as a management consultant and
as an executive for a leading wealth management firm.

Prior to Sapient Alex was with Citigroup Global Wealth Management where he was a Senior
Vice President. Alex was part of the management team that founded myFi which was a new
business Citi Global Wealth Management created to focus on the mass affluent segment. At
myFi, Alex was responsible for defining and launching the core business/technology platform,
client services environment which included both branch and service center advisors, and
distribution strategy. All of these had a heavy focus on leveraging digital/online mediums.
Prior to Citigroup, Alex was on the leadership team of Capgemini’s Wealth Management
practice. At Capgemini, Alex worked with a variety of leading retail banks, brokerages, and
other diverse wealth management firms to develop sales, marketing and distribution platform
strategies. He had a significant focus on advisor sales processes and desktop technologies
and customer experience and online transformation efforts working with companies like
Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley, ING, Ameriprise and Wachovia in these areas. In addition, he
was a primary author of the World Wealth Report – an annual sizing and analysis of the high
net worth market landscape published by Capgemini and Merrill Lynch. Alex graduated from
Yale with honors.

For more information, please phone +44 (0) 207 786 4500,
email or visit

© Sapient Corporation, 2011