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Objectivity key to the future of wealth management client relationships

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The majority (72 per cent) of private clients most value an unbiased, client-centric approach in relationships with wealth managers, according to a paper from SEI.

Clients also stated that though objectivity is a core competency they look for, only 16 per cent believe objectivity is a feature of the current wealth management services they receive.
 
The findings also suggest that while wealth management firms appear confident they can deliver an investment process that is reasonably free from bias, they are less confident in their abilities to put client needs objectively at the centre of that process.
 
The latest paper is the result of a series of in-depth interviews carried out in conjunction with the Scorpio Partnership, which compare the views of 25 private clients and 25 wealth management firms. The interviews examine clients’ expectations about objectivity and how wealth managers deliver and incorporate objectivity into their investment process, product selection, and client relationships.

Many of those interviewed define objectivity as a “feeling of shared experience and shared information.”  An overwhelming majority of private clients believe unbiased understanding of their personal circumstances is key to a successful wealth management relationship.
 
Joseph P. Ujobai, executive vice president, SEI’s private banks segment, says: "What is clear from these survey results is the value that private clients place on objectivity in the context of the relationship they form with their wealth manager. The emphasis on creating and maintaining an unbiased and flexible relationship between client and wealth manager is becoming increasingly important in the current investment environment, and will continue to be important in the future.
 
"Wealth management firms are in the process of coming to grips with the far-reaching consequences of the Retail Distribution Review, and our research reveals that objectivity in asset allocation and financial planning processes is where wealth managers can distinguish themselves from the field.”

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