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Leading forward: The changing adviser role

As part of our "Leading forward: The future of wealth" video series, Sanjay Sharma, Global Head of SEI's Private Banking and Wealth Management unit, speaks to Alex Twiss, Managing Director of Connor Broadley. 


They discuss how technology supports the adviser relationship, the importance of diversity in the workforce and the skillset that advisers will need to deliver the wealth management service of the future.

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Sanjay Sharma
Hello, I'm Sanjay Sharma, Global Head of SEI's Private Banking and Wealth Management business. Today I'm joined by Alex Twiss, Managing Director of our UK client, Connor Broadley. What wealth managers are going to do, or doing for them, to be ready for the next 10 years?

Alex Twiss
Absolutely. So I think if you look almost back, what had the model historically been when it came to wealth management, it was a question of gathering your liquid very narrowly focused financial assets and getting them invested, and really, that was the crux of the proposition. What the next generation, and equally what the current generation might not realize but do need, is that more holistic approach to it, right? So it is being able to engage with them on what their whole of life looks like, and equally into the next generations as well, across those parameters. So engaging with them on what matters to them and making them realize that this isn't just about maximizing financial assets, it is about helping them achieve all the things in their life that are important to them, and being able to do that in a balanced way. So you know, what are the conversations that need to be had? Well, what happens if you retire five years early? Because that's an important milestone for you and you've somewhat decided that you really could do with, you know, spending more time abroad, et cetera. It's helping map not just the pathway to that goal, but often helping clients understand that that is the goal that they want and it's achievable for them for the right planning around it. So I think that's really important, and technology is so important. You know, there is... To map out someone's life, to be able to work out all of the myriad of goals that they want to achieve, to map it into the next generation and then be able to stress test it, to be able to adapt to what is a constantly changing regulatory environment, constantly changing tax environment, so that it's a living dynamic process. That's where this perfect marriage of technology and people will come to play.

Sanjay Sharma
Alex, on the same lines as you highlighted. Technology is a big enabler for the future of wealth, future of other industries as well, on the same lines, and that's what we have seen over last 10 plus years, technology playing a very important part. But I know you, and we strongly believe in people. End of day, it's all about people. People are, they are really making it happen. So what I thought, so what you are doing in your organization to be ready for that future, how you're upscaling or reskilling or acquiring talent?

Alex Twiss
It's a key question, and I think my first observation is that neurodiversity is incredibly important to any organization, so that's your foundational block. Being able to have different perspectives, different approaches, helps improve the decision-making of the organization. But equally then, looking at those members of your team that are going to be most client-facing, the skillset that they will need is already multidisciplinary and might become even more so going forward. I think if you almost take that adviser/client relationship, I think I see it evolving such that that adviser almost is an augmented adviser. So they have hopefully built on the foundations of good data, have large language models interpreting their own private data, but equally, all the regulatory and tax environments, and then that individual is more tasked with being able to put that AI to best use. So what does it have to do? You know, the adviser has to be able to extract all of the things that the AI model doesn't know. It's your hopes, your fears, your goals, the things that matter to you, and the things you might hope to achieve but never dreamt that you could. And being able to extract that, which is often quite a difficult thing to do, you know? Certainly in the UK, people are very reticent to discuss their wealth, and it's a particular skill set to be able to unlock that in someone. And then let the AI do the heavy lifting when it comes to working out what the best outcome would be, modelling all of the various scenarios, et cetera. But then there's one final job for the advisor and wealth planner in that regard, which is that also they have to try and make sure that that person then sticks to that plan, and sticks to the plan as it evolves over time, a very interesting personal dynamic. So it's not about one or the other, actually, it's about the marriage of both, right? I think the businesses that succeed in the future will have recognized that, and we'll be preparing today for that eventuality.

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