World’s Affluent Say Digital Media Key to Their Wealth

The world’s up-and-coming wealthy are more likely to use the internet, mobile applications, and other digital media communications tools to create, manage, spend, and invest their money, according to a study by SEI, Scorpio Partnership, and Standard Chartered Private Bank.

Released today, the study, titled “The Futurewealth Report: The Digital World of the Futurewealthy,” surveyed 3,477 respondents from across the world with an average $1.9 million in assets. The findings show a chance for financial services experts to connect and engage better with customers and leads in this largely responsive market segment if they adopt similar technological innovation.

“We understand the needs of the wealthy are changing and this study is the first in a series that will allow us to forge new directions for one of the most important issues to the next generation – technology,” said Al West, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of SEI.

The study shows the digital patterns and thoughts about technology of men and women on the fast track to large wealth who have placed themselves at the cutting edge of the digital information age. This group has been quick to recognize the role technology innovations have played in their success. Over fifty percent of those surveyed (56 percent) consider their “engagement with the internet and digital technology” has contributed to their ability to create wealth. In addition, these future wealthy think this impact will be of increased benefit later.

The number responding positively increased to more than three-fourths of respondents (77 percent) when asked if the internet and digital technology will play a role in their success five years down the road. These outcomes show they believe the internet will show much more valuable to their future success in making wealth when compared today.

“With the rise of a tech-savvy wealthy segment, financial intermediaries, especially wealth management firms, need to adjust their business models and value propositions based on a stronger understanding of their segments’ technology habits and desires, not the size of their wallets,” said Al Chiaradonna, Senior Vice President of SEI’s Global Wealth Services. “Institutions that expect this group to align with them need to have leading-edge technology platforms and infrastructure to support the changing landscape and enrich the client experience. As the survey results suggest, this group is best won over by companies who can offer future-focused technology innovations and services.”

The study also uncovered some ideas on the tastes for digital-based communication and networking tools for the next generation of wealthy. Almost two-thirds (64 percent) think that teaming up with others online will be important to their continuing wealth creation. Many of them already have a presence on many social media platforms designed for networking and connecting with others. The majority of respondents (71 percent) already have a presence on Facebook and nearly a third (31 percent) are using LinkedIn. Consistent with a taste for social networking as their new means of communication, over fifty percent of those surveyed (55 percent) access social networking sites through mobile applications. Further supporting their preference for using the latest in digital media, nearly half of the study participants (49 percent) use a banking/finance mobile application, indicating a shift in the way they would prefer to handle and keep track of their finances.

“This study has given us a better understanding of how wealthy individuals are increasingly using all of the latest tech innovations to control, grow, and monitor their wealth, and there is nothing to suggest this trend will slow as we move into the future,” said Kevin Crowe, Head of Solutions, SEI Advisor Network. “With this knowledge, advisors need to better prepare themselves with the technological and digital media skills necessary to take new, creative marketing approaches that use client segmentation, brand positioning, and other strategies to better connect to this valuable group of fast risers. Advisors must embrace and share the passion for technology and digital media tools with these future wealthy if they want to truly engage and grow relationships with them.”

This survey is the first in a four-part series of studies as a part of the larger Futurewealth Project, which aims to better understand the aspirations and consumer behavior of the world’s up-and-coming wealthy. Each report within the series, titled “Stepping Up to the Communication Age,” will focus on a different theme around how technology and digital communications can be used to engage the next generation of wealthy. The other three parts of the series will be published in the first half of 2013.

SEI’s Global Wealth Services is an outsourcing solution for wealth managers encompassing wealth processing services and wealth management programs, coupled with business process expertise.

Their Global Wealth Platform supports trading and transactions on 101 stock exchanges in 46 countries and 33 currencies, all using straight-through processing.

The SEI Advisor Network provides financial advisors with turnkey wealth management services through outsourced investment strategies, administration and technology platforms, and practice management programs.

SEI is a provider of investment processing, fund processing, and investment management business outsourcing solutions that help corporations, financial institutions, financial advisors, and ultra-high-net-worth families create and manage wealth. As of September 30, 2012, through its subsidiaries and partnerships in which the company has a significant interest, SEI manages or administers $448 billion in mutual fund and pooled or separately managed assets, including $195 billion in assets under management and $253 billion in client assets under administration.