Three Disruptive Trends Impacting Wealth Management in 2021

Webinar Description

Becoming a trusted advisor has been the goal of every wealth management firm. The pandemic exposed the gap between companies that were designed to handle adversity versus those that were not. Client expectations of advisory services are evolving to cover more of their financial life beyond just investments, but including liabilities, expenses, insurance, property as well as intangibles such as trust, security, and access to exclusive marketplaces of products and services.

New technology is enabling advisors to meet expanding client expectations, creating opportunities for engagement regardless of the size of a client’s personal wealth. Also, the use of artificial intelligence is enabling big data-driven solutions that deliver hyper-personalized service at scale. Wealth management firms that fail to keep up with these evolving trends risk being left behind in a fast-moving market.

The key learnings / insights you'll gain from this webinar include:

  • What are the key WealthTech trends that are disrupting the wealth management industry

  • How Artificial Intelligence (AI) is revolutionizing the way wealth management firms interact with clients and prospects

  • How the key market leaders are diversifying and leveraging technology to gain a competitive advantage


Craig Iskowitz - CEO and Founder, Ezra Group

(Host) David Armstrong - Editor-in-Chief and Executive Director of Content and User Engagement,

Webinar Executive Summary

No one expects disruption in their market, but when it happens, it can be hard for companies—even savvy technology companies—to understand what is happening and catch up with the trends. Inability to keep up can lead to a loss of revenues as customers shift to innovative new competitors in the space. While disruptive technology poses a threat, it also provides an opportunity. Disruptive technology is enabling advisors to meet clients’ expanding expectations and creating new opportunities for engagement, regardless of the amount of a client’s personal wealth. Advisor technology (AdvisorTech), personal financial management (PFM), advisor experiences, and even evolved robo-advisor solutions are among current innovations that can help advisors and their firms grow.

AdvisorTech is growing, but there is room for more innovation. 

The number and scope of financial advisor and financial technology solutions has exploded over the past four years. Even with this significant growth, there is always room for new, disruptive ideas to enter and grab hold of the market. Truly disruptive ideas create entirely new niches for themselves. However, at times these innovative ideas can struggle to get support, because the total addressable market and possible revenue are difficult to quantify. Ezra Group’s research division helps businesses figure out this market information so they can move ahead with their disruptive projects.

“If your product fits neatly into a category that’s already on the Kitces advisor tech map, it’s probably not going to be disruptive.” Craig Iskowitz, CEO, Ezra Group

Advisors must embrace personal financial management tools or risk being left behind. 

PFM apps offer a holistic view to all of a person’s or an organization’s accounts from a single portal, allowing users to see both liabilities and investments and make the information actionable. This exposes a significant gap between financial advisor offerings, which focus mainly on investments, and consumer expectations and needs, which include not just investments but budgeting, liabilities, and expenses. Wealth management firms and advisors that don’t embrace PFM, as well as bill pay apps, will be left behind because of these gaps and will, ultimately, lose client assets to FinTechs and other financial investment advisor providers that do embrace these technologies.

The PFM market itself is divided into two categories:

• Personal PFMs used by consumers

• High-net-worth (HNW), small and medium-sized enterprise (SME), and business-to-business (B2B) apps used more by businesses and wealth management firms

The robo-advisor hype is dead, but mobile apps are still gaining customers.

Projected growth for robo-advisory services was significantly overblown as consumers recognized that these tools were, essentially, electronic registered investment advisors (RIAs) without actual human advisors. While the hype behind these apps is now dead, the technology isn’t; mobile apps are morphing so that they offer value beyond investing.

FinTech start-up Acorns has five million users and $1.5 billion in assets under management because of its simplified one dollar a month pricing model for basic services. The average value of these investment accounts is small—just $400—but at $12 a year, Acorns is charging an average of 300 basis points, which is abnormally high, even for top-end advisors. They also attract customers with their FoundMoney program with 150 consumer brands that provide kickbacks to the investor’s account when they spend money with the brands.

Similar to Acorns, other FinTech apps like MoneyLion (five million users), Stash (four million users), and Simple (3 million users) are finding success offering a seamless journey from savings to investments.

Good advisor experience solutions can lead to increased revenue and business. A strong, well-developed, and well-thought-out advisor experience can lead to increased revenue and business for a wealth management firm. The return on investment on the technology spending is realized through steady increases in advisor growth, advisor retention, operational efficiencies, and resource management, ultimately leading to increased profitability.

Adoption of technologies, including advisor experience offerings, is a problem for most enterprise firms. Those firms that offer a simple integrated advisor experience built with technology, process, and people in mind are most likely to have advisors adopt and use the solutions.

Broker dealers with better technology integration see a huge increase in practice revenue, a huge increase in books of business, and additional time saved to focus on other things. Craig Iskowitz, CEO, Ezra Group

Technology, process, and people are central to advisor experience adoption


  • Increases in advisor growth with technology barriers removed

  • Upticks in cross-sell actability with greater data mining capabilities

  • More client referrals with an improved client experience

  • Reduced advisor attrition with greater satisfaction in technology utility

  • Greater advisor growth with efficiencies from application programming interfaces (APIs), dashboards, etc.


  • Better resource management with straight-through processing and elimination of manual processes

  • Gains in advisor recruiting from better advisory journey processes and overall experiences

  • Increase in advisor growth with new marketing campaign processes, content, and client segmentation

  • Increase in advisor productivity from new straight-through processing


  • Percent of resources devoted to addressing avoidable service issues and multiple calls to obtain correct information from service teams

  • Increase in advisor growth by staffing training and practice management programs

  • Increase in advisor growth and profitability with access to subject matter experts and other support for a complete product set

Other trends: Acquisitions, marketplaces, and AI are changing the landscape. 

Mr. Iskowitz noted that additional trends are disrupting the wealth management landscape, including acquisitions, independent marketplaces, and artificial intelligence (AI).

  • Acquisitions are ongoing, as firms purchase other wealth management businesses for their brands and products, for their added areas of expertise beyond investment (such as financial planning), and for the enormous amounts of data they bring with them.

  • Independent marketplaces offer wealth managers the ability to purchase a range of financial products and services, including annuities, life insurance, structured products, private equity, private credit, real estate, hedge funds, and trust services. These are centralized, lower cost, and automated, making it easy for the advisor to begin offering products and services.

  • AI-enabled tools allow advisors to quickly analyze the large amounts of data generated by their clients for patterns, sequences, and trends that can drive additional business.

Getting started: Know the business to choose the right tools. 

Wealth management firms need to begin using the right tools and technologies to remain competitive. To get started with new technology, or even to re-evaluate existing solutions, firms need to:

  • Know the business. Understand what the business is, its strengths and weaknesses, and its goals for the future. This will drive decisions when choosing solutions.

  • Research. Read articles and blog posts or listen to podcasts from sites like Ezra Group and Kitces. Talk to vendors, especially at conferences, and ask for product demos.

  • Find the right solution for the business. Many firms will find a single-vendor integrated solution will work best for their needs, while others will prefer a best-of-breed solution that requires integrating multiple vendors.