Updated on January 22nd, 2019
The idea of making investments has been around for literally hundreds if not thousands of years. While it was first only something done by the elite classes, around the 17th century and the creation of the first public markets, investment opportunities greatly grew.
Wealth management only arrived in the 20th century, with the likes of Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley only focusing on the few high worth accounts. In the past few decades though, it seems both investment and wealth management has become more popular and relevant than ever before.
The Impact of Technology
It’s undoubtable that technology has had a massive impact on the development of the investment and wealth management sectors. Now anyone can download an app or trading platform online, deposit their funds and begin investing in everything from steel to Gambian currency with a few clicks. This has made investing more accessible than ever, increasing its relevancy in modern life.
However, while technology has also changed wealth management, keeping up with it is also proving a challenge. According to one survey, 68% of wealth managers claim keeping up with new technology is the top challenge they face. In some cases, it can be argued technology is even making wealth management irrelevant.
For example, the development of robo-advisors and chatbots is providing digital disruption and changes to business models. It is similar with investing too, as nobody calls up a broker any more, instead turning to online advice, relying on platforms to make investments and only speaking to a human adviser when absolutely necessary.
Financial Crisis and Political Instability
Stock brokers and wealth managers’ relevancy may be waning somewhat, but an interest in using wealth management services and investing for individuals could be growing. The financial crisis of 2008 has certainly made a lot of people and businesses more cautious in looking after their finances and aware of the risks. While political events in the wake of this, along with Brexit, the volatile Trump administration (see his trade tariffs) have created a more unstable economic atmosphere.
For many companies, using the expert advice of wealth management services seems like a safe option to ensure their finances are being properly utilised. The same is true for individuals, as both will want to make sure they have enough spare cash in case there is another financial crisis or political instability causes a dramatic shift.
Investment and wealth management are still highly relevant and used by many individuals and businesses, but they are changing as technology has an ever-greater influence over both sectors.