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The Changing Demands of the High Net Worth Investor [Download]

What the papers say:

FT Adviser article logo➡️ HNW clients demand better tech but do not want AI chatbots

MM article logo ➡️ HNW investors demand better digital services from IFAs IFA Mag Adviser article logo ➡️ Survey shows HNW individuals demand better digital experience from advisers

We have partnered with Compeer to produce a new research report that looks at whether the trend for increased tech spend from advisers and wealth managers is meeting high net worth clients’ expectations of digital services.

The report's topline finding is that as digital services increase, so do the expectations of clients and that while most wealth managers and IFAs offer a portal, HNW investors are starting to expect much more than this when reviewing the services offered by an IFA or wealth manager.

Digital Services in Wealth Management is the combination of an online survey with 515 high net worth investors and Compeer’s in-depth business performance benchmarking survey. The investor survey was conducted in December 2023 and all respondents had £250k to over £1m of investable assets and an existing relationship with either an IFA or wealth manager.

It highlights that since the pandemic, wealth firms have substantially increased their spend on IT, rising threefold to £598m with the main driver being non-staff costs. Discussions with firms show this trend is only moving one way and Compeer forecasts costs rising to £18bn by 2030 .

The paper explores whether increased spend on IT coincides with any changing expectations from digital services from high net worth investors in particular. It states that while it is common for advisers and wealth managers to provide an online portal there has yet been little research into whether clients are looking for more than an online valuation tool.


  • Online valuations ranked top in terms of importance, with secure messaging only slightly behind as 69% of all investors gave secure messaging via a client portal 4 or 5, placing value on the reassurance that personal data is protected thru encrypted comms with secure messaging. Trailing only just behind this was the ability to store documents and sign others. 

  • From a list of 11 digital services, those that rated more than 3 out of 5 in terms of importance were: online valuations via a client portal, digital document sharing, electronic signatures, dedicated smartphone application, email newsletters, video calls, electronic chat messaging and investment podcasts.

  • Virtual events and AI chat bots ranked lowest, at below 3 out of 5 confirming a shift towards human interaction and ‘virtual event fatigue’ following the pandemic. Although AI remains a hot topic, this score suggests that take up will be slow as clients would rather talk directly with an adviser than an AI chatbot.

  • Clients who wanted digital improvements were overwhelmingly in favour of switching providers over time if their needs were not met. More than two thirds said they would consider moving provider if changes are not made - putting some £340bn of assets at risk of switching. (Results showed that higher net worth investors are certainly not averse to switching generally as more than half had already switched providers in the past 5 years)

  • Wealthier clients and those aged 40 and under had the highest expectations of all, with more than half investors with more than £1m claiming they wanted improvements in the areas of client portals, mobile apps, client reporting and client on-boarding.

  • Over 70% of investors engage with their main adviser at least quarterly - and typically the wealthier the investor the greater the level of engagement. 43% of all investors checked the valuation of their portfolios on at least a weekly basis and 85% of those with more than £1m engage on a quarterly, weekly or monthly basis. 

  • One surprise finding was that frequency of engagement with advisers has actually declined over the past 12 months. In a period of market downturn we’d expect client engagement to increase as advisers and wealth managers need to provide reassurance to clients and maximise the value of the service. However, results contradict this and show there is has been a net reduction in the frequency of engagement.The report surmises that this could be because of automation and the ability for clients to check valuations online.

Tessa Lee, MD of moneyinfo said:

While most IFAs and wealth managers offer a portal, this research shows that higher net worth clients are looking for much more in terms of digital services and that this could be a deciding factor in terms of client loyalty.

Our own experience across clients of every shape and size is that our branded client app receives up to four times as many logins as a desktop portal – that’s two client logins per week. We all live on our phones now and firms should bear in mind that each time the client unlocks their phone, their brand is right there on their screen.

Apps are now part of our daily lives, from shopping and socialising to travelling and finance and it's their very intuitiveness and ease of use that drives engagement. They are simply more convenient than a website login. It's clear that firms need to invest in apps if they want to build client loyalty and benefit from the increased profitability that client engagement can bring.”