Wealth managers will oversee $71.2 trillion in North America by 2025 — a sharp rise from the $46.9 trillion they managed in 2016, according to a recent report from PwC. But not many firms will survive the coming changes in the industry, the report warns.
PwC attributes the predicted asset growth to the “burgeoning wealth” of both the mass affluent and high net worth individuals, and a transition from defined benefit to defined contribution retirement plans. Assets in North America are projected to grow 5.7% annually to 2020 and slow down to 4% from 2020 to 2025, according to the report. Worldwide assets, meanwhile, are projected to grow 6.2% a year and reach $145.4 trillion in 2025, PwC says.
While there’s cause for optimism for wealth managers to benefit from this growth, “it’s do or die, and there will be a ‘great divide’ between few have’s and many have not’s,” Olwyn Alexander, PwC’s global asset and wealth management leader, says in a press release accompanying the report.
According to Alexander, wealth managers should be prepared to succeed in some areas and fail in others, reshape their business structure with a view toward differentiation, and find ways to cut costs.
Technology, meanwhile, will be the big differentiator between firms that succeed and those that fail, and wealth managers will have to embrace it, she says.
Finally, companies will have to adjust to a changing employment model as necessary skill sets evolve, but the focus on finding and keeping the right workers will be essential, according to Alexander.