Global Survey Shows Wealth Management Ecosystem at Inflection Point



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  • Uncertainties about the outlook for global growth driving change
  • Client experience and Digital delivery remains top priority
  • Regulatory environment remains top challenge for industry
  • Preference for outsourcing technology development

LONDON & HONG KONG & NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–New research from Citi Business Advisory Services, in partnership with Citi Securities Services, released today highlights the need to transform business and operating models amongst Wealth Managers as declining fees, low margins; and increasing cost of regulation and compliance continue to pressure the industry. The global study “Disruption and Transformation in Wealth – Future-proofing Service and Operating Models” found that 71% of participants surveyed identified the overall client experience as a top priority. This heightened focus on client experience and more specifically the digital client experience stems from evolving client expectations and the threat of digital disruptors.

Structural shifts including the emergence of new wealth, coupled with uncertainty in global markets and a fluid regulatory landscape, have pushed the wealth industry to address the fundamental challenges of maintaining and growing relationships with their end clients.

In order to effectively deliver an enhanced and digitally-enabled client experience, wealth managers and private banks should focus on transforming their operational, technology and service models, the report suggests. When asked about their preferred technology development strategy, an overwhelming 75% of survey respondents prefer to work with external parties.

The study also found that there is a clear distinction on which functions are more likely to be outsourced or considered for outsourcing.

  • 46% of respondents prefer a hybrid model, upgrading their in-house systems with third-party tools
  • 66% of respondents either already outsource or are likely to consider outsourcing post trade services
  • The top three areas that respondents are unlikely to consider or outsource include most of the client-facing activities such as onboarding and KYC (56%), client services, reporting and data (50%), and compliance, regulatory and tax reporting (54%)

“The emergence of new technologies, demands for a native digital client experience and the largest intergenerational wealth transfer in history pose significant challenges to the entire wealth industry,” said Okan Pekin, Citi’s Global Head of Securities Services. “Our research outlines ways in which we can re-imagine service and operating models to deliver solutions to wealth managers to address these challenges.”

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Disruption and Transformation in Wealth – Future-proofing Service and Operating Models” includes quantitative and qualitative data gathered from 23 interviews and almost 160 survey participants across retail, wealth, and private banking segments in APAC (40%), Europe (41%), and North America (17%). Collectively, these insights provide a rare, holistic view into the ongoing developments across the entire wealth spectrum.

Other key findings include:

  • The three most important areas of focus for technology and operations were identified as:

    • Digital client experience (67% of respondents)
    • Trading and execution services (53%)
    • Global operating and client service models (39%)
  • Almost half (43%) of survey participants ranked budget constraints as the top barrier to transforming their technology and operations

As we look to the future of wealth, the drive for scale and efficiency is accelerating consolidation across the entire industry.

“Based on our study, it is clear that the wealth industry is at an inflection point, and it is critical that wealth management providers servicing the mass affluent to ultra-high net worth clients need to get their operating model right. Moving forward, we see trusted partnerships as key to success as consolidation continues,” said Andrew Pitt, Head of Research and Content for Citi’s Institutional Client Group.

For more information on the study see:

About Citi Securities Services

With approximately US $27.1 trillion1 of assets under custody, administration and trust and an industry-leading proprietary network spanning over 60 markets, Citi Securities Services provides cross-border support for clients with extensive on-the-ground local market expertise, innovative post-trade technologies, customized data solutions and a wide range of securities services solutions that can be tailored to meet clients’ needs.

About Citi Business Advisory Services

Citi’s Business Advisory Services team (BAS) is a strategy consultancy within Citi Global Insights. BAS conducts its own primary research each year with investment managers overseeing $30-65 trillion to produce thought leadership around the trends reshaping financial institutions and the investment management industry. The scale and breadth of their interaction with the leadership of leading firms offers a unique perspective on how the industry is responding to the opportunities and challenges being created.

About Citi

Citi is a preeminent banking partner for institutions with cross-border needs, a global leader in wealth management and a valued personal bank in its home market of the United States. Citi does business in nearly 160 countries and jurisdictions, providing corporations, governments, investors, institutions and individuals with a broad range of financial products and services.

Additional information may be found at | Twitter: @Citi | LinkedIn: | YouTube: | Facebook:

1 As of 31 March 2023.


North America: Nina Das [email protected]
EMEA: Richard Bicknell [email protected]
Asia Pacific: Arundathi Abyshekar [email protected]
Latam: Alexandra Ravinet [email protected]


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