SOURCE: The Boston Consulting Group

The Boston Consulting Group

June 07, 2016 12:00 ET

As Growth Hits a Speed Bump, Wealth Managers Seek to Adapt

Rise of Private Wealth Slows in Most Regions; Revenue and Profit Margins Continue to Fall; Fresh Strategies Sought to Meet Needs of Both Traditional and Nontraditional Clients, Says Report by The Boston Consulting Group

NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwired - Jun 7, 2016) - Global private wealth grew sluggishly in 2015, with some markets seeing significant slowdowns, leaving wealth managers searching for innovative ways to meet the shifting needs of diverse client segments, according to a new report by The Boston Consulting Group (BCG). The report, Global Wealth 2016: Navigating the New Client Landscape, is being released today.

This sixteenth annual study by BCG outlines the evolution of private wealth from both a global and regional perspective, addresses key industry trends, and explores evolving client needs -- particularly those of underserved, nontraditional segments such as female investors and millennials, whose investment goals are not necessarily well-addressed by the standard, net-worth-based service approach.

"Segmentation approaches based mainly on wealth level and cost-to-serve models, both of which continue to be used by the majority of wealth managers, neglect what clients are truly willing to pay for," said Brent Beardsley, a coauthor of the report and the global leader of BCG's asset and wealth management practice. "Such approaches no longer allow wealth managers to capitalize on the full potential of the market."

A Slowdown in Growth. Global private financial wealth grew by 5.2% in 2015 to a total of $168 trillion, according to the report. The rise was less than a year earlier, when global wealth rose by more than 7%. All regions except Japan experienced slower growth than in 2014.

Unlike in recent years, the bulk of global wealth growth in 2015 was driven by the creation of new wealth (such as rising household income) rather than by the performance of existing assets, as many equity and bond markets stayed flat or even fell. Assuming that equity markets regain momentum, private wealth globally is expected to rise at a compound annual growth rate of 6% over the next five years to reach $224 trillion in 2020. The number of global millionaire households grew by 6% in 2015, with several countries, particularly China and India, seeing large increases.

Offshore Wealth Management. The report says that private wealth booked in offshore centers grew by a modest 3% in 2015 to almost $10 trillion. A key factor was the repatriation of offshore assets by investors in developed markets. Offshore wealth held by investors in North America, Western Europe, and Japan declined by more than 3% in 2015. The annual growth of offshore wealth globally is expected to pick up through 2020, although at a lower rate than onshore wealth (5% versus 6%).

Among offshore centers, Hong Kong and Singapore saw the strongest growth (around 10%) in 2015. Offshore wealth booked in these domiciles is projected to grow at roughly 10% annually through 2020, increasing their combined share of the world's offshore assets from roughly 18% in 2015 to 23% in 2020. Switzerland remained the largest destination for offshore wealth in 2015, holding nearly one-quarter of all offshore assets globally.

"Although regulatory measures aimed at fighting tax evasion will continue to persuade some old-world investors to repatriate their wealth, regulation also stabilizes the market and provides new opportunities to move fully-taxed wealth offshore in search of better service quality, product diversity, economic stability, and the like," said Anna Zakrzewski, a BCG partner and a coauthor of the report.

Three Key Trends. According to a global BCG benchmarking survey, an annual feature of the report, average revenue and profit margins declined for wealth managers from 2012 to 2015. This development underlines the need for wealth managers to seize the opportunities stemming from three major trends that have altered -- and will continue to alter -- the industry: tightening regulation, accelerating digital innovation, and shifting needs in traditional client segments.

Nontraditional Client Segments. The report says that two nontraditional client groups whose investment needs and size (population-wise) merit special attention are female investors -- whose success as corporate executives and entrepreneurs (in addition to being the beneficiaries of inheritances and legal settlements) have raised their wealth levels significantly -- and millennials (people born between 1980 and 2000), whose overall wealth accumulation is rising steadily. In 2015, women held an estimated 30% of global private wealth, with the share slightly higher in developed markets than in emerging ones. Yet just 2% of wealth managers surveyed by BCG said they considered women a specific client segment -- fully investigating their investment needs and how they wish to be served -- and had adjusted their service models accordingly. Similarly, 50% of wealth managers surveyed said they did not possess a clear view on how to address millennials in terms of service model, products, and overall approach.

"Ultimately, in order to succeed, wealth managers will need to adopt a more client-centric perspective, decide how to sensibly segment their base of current and prospective clients, clearly identify customer needs, and define value propositions accordingly," said Daniel Kessler, a BCG partner and a coauthor of the report. "Some wealth managers have already embarked on this journey, partly by leveraging insights from big data, but for most the first step has yet to be taken."

A copy of the report can be downloaded at www.bcgperspectives.com.

To arrange an interview with one of the authors, please contact Eric Gregoire at +1 617 850 3783 or gregoire.eric@bcg.com.

About The Boston Consulting Group
The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) is a global management consulting firm and the world's leading advisor on business strategy. We partner with clients from the private, public, and not-for-profit sectors in all regions to identify their highest-value opportunities, address their most critical challenges, and transform their enterprises. Our customized approach combines deep insight into the dynamics of companies and markets with close collaboration at all levels of the client organization. This ensures that our clients achieve sustainable competitive advantage, build more capable organizations, and secure lasting results. Founded in 1963, BCG is a private company with 85 offices in 48 countries. For more information, please visit bcg.com.

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    Eric Gregoire
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    Tel +1 617 850 3783
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    gregoire.eric@bcg.com