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FROM DIGITS TO DOLLARS The wealthy use tech tools to build more wealth E-mail


The world's up-and-coming wealthy are likely to use the internet, mobile applications, and other digital media communications tools to create, manage, spend, and invest their money, according to a study released by SEI, Scorpio Partnership, and Standard Chartered Private Bank.


The study surveyed 3,477 respondents from across the world with an average $1.9 million in assets. The results point to an opportunity for financial services professionals to connect and engage more effectively with clients and prospects in this largely receptive market segment if they embrace the same technology innovations.


"We understand the needs of the wealthy are changing and this study is the first in a series that will allow us to forge new directions for one of the most important issues to the next generation-technology," says Al West, chairman and CEO of SEI.


The study reveals the digital habits and views on technology of individuals on the fast track to considerable wealth who have positioned themselves at the forefront of the digital information age. This group has been quick to acknowledge the role that technology innovations have played in their success.


More than half of those surveyed (56%) believe their "engagement with the internet and digital technology" has contributed to their ability to create wealth. What's more, these futurewealthy believe this influence will be of even greater value in the future. The number responding positively increased to more than three-fourths of respondents (77%) when asked if the internet and digital technology will contribute to their success five years down the road. These results suggest they believe the internet will prove even more valuable to their future success in generating wealth than it does today.


"With the rise of a tech-savvy wealthy segment, financial intermediaries, especially wealth management firms, need to adjust their business models and value propositions based on a stronger understanding of their segments' technology habits and desires, not the size of their wallets," says Al Chiaradonna, senior vice president of SEI's Global Wealth Services. "Institutions that expect this group to align with them need to have leading-edge technology platforms and infrastructure to support the changing landscape and enrich the client experience. As the survey results suggest, this group is best won over by companies who can offer future-focused technology innovations and services."


The study also reveals some insights on the preferences for digital-based communication and networking tools for the next generation of wealthy. Nearly two-thirds (64%) believe that collaborating with others online will be important to their continued wealth creation. Many of them already have a presence on multiple social media platforms geared toward networking and connecting with others. The vast majority of respondents (71%) already have a presence on Facebook and nearly a third (31%) are using LinkedIn.


In keeping with a preference for social networking as their new means of communication, more than half of those surveyed (55%) access social networking sites through mobile applications or devices. Further supporting their preference for using the latest in digital media, nearly half of the study participants (49%) use a banking/finance mobile application, suggesting a shift in how they prefer to manage and monitor their finances.


"This study has given us a better understanding of how wealthy individuals are increasingly using all of the latest tech innovations to control, grow, and monitor their wealth, and there is nothing to suggest this trend will slow as we move into the future," says Kevin Crowe, head of Solutions, SEI Advisor Network. "With this knowledge, advisors need to better prepare themselves with the technological and digital media skills necessary to take new, creative marketing approaches that use client segmentation, brand positioning, and other strategies to better connect to this valuable group of fast risers. Advisors must embrace and share the passion for technology and digital media tools with these futurewealthy if they want to truly engage and grow relationships with them."




[This article was posted on December 11, 2012, on the website of ABA Banking Journal, www.ababj.com.]
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