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SEI Study: World's Wealthy Need Advisors to Provide Strategic Advice via Digital Tools

OAKS, PA--(Marketwire - Feb 28, 2013) -   According to a study released today by SEI ( NASDAQ : SEIC ), Scorpio Partnership, and Standard Chartered Private Bank, the world's up-and-coming wealthy are generally satisfied with their wealth managers' technology use at a transactional and reporting level, but are unimpressed with the way advisors use technology to show them how to invest their money. "The Futurewealth Report: Helpful Investment Technologies," which surveyed 3,477 respondents globally with an average $1.9 million in net worth, points to an opportunity for wealth managers to improve the client experience by using technology as an extension of advisors' expertise.

"Integrating technology into their core service offerings will help wealth managers better satisfy the demands of their clients and prospects," said Joseph P. Ujobai, Executive Vice President of SEI. "The biggest impact of technology integration to date has been behind the scenes, in the middle and back office, where enhancements simplify the ease of transactions and minimize operational overhead. But investors want to experience these technology advancements themselves, and wealth managers need to prioritize giving investors digital access to the decision-making processes that inform managers' suggested strategies. Wealth managers who use digital technology to pull investors into this discovery phase will stand out among competitors."

The majority of respondents globally (59 percent) are satisfied with the technology used to execute financial transactions. However, just 40 percent are satisfied with the technology wealth managers use to demonstrate portfolio strategies. Satisfaction is highest in the Americas, where levels were 10 percent and nine percent higher than the global figures (mentioned above), respectively. Yet, regardless of region, the results illustrate that investment technology must transition from mechanical capabilities to a state where investors can digitally access their advisors' opinions on current trends, industry developments, and recommendations.

"We're experiencing firsthand that wealth managers who use innovative technology can engage investors and clients in new and meaningful ways," said Al Chiaradonna, Senior Vice President of SEI's Global Wealth Platform. "Technology that assists wealth managers with enhancing the client experience can be a huge advantage and improve client acquisition rates. The goal of leveraging technology should be to increase wealth managers' productivity and efficiency -- aspects like client discovery, investment planning, and proposal generation can all be improved through the right technology. By broadening their investment platforms, wealth managers will be able to provide investors comprehensive views of their wealth management choices and foster long-term relationships with clients." 

With regard to client acquisition, the report found that the emerging wealthy check wealth managers' credentials and investment recommendations through various digital filters before making decisions. While "previous personal experience with the firm" is the most influential factor when deciding to work with a particular financial provider (62 percent), the Futurewealthy are double- and triple-checking information digitally. Tools such as "ratings and reviews of firm's products and services" (50 percent) are most important, followed by "firm's website" (47 percent), "news articles about firm and products" (46 percent), and "price comparison sites" (44 percent). Interestingly, amid the social media craze, respondents ranked a firm's social networking presence and blog posts as the least important factors when evaluating a financial provider.

"Bottom line, today's investors are looking for meaningful connections with their advisors. Yet they also want validation from other third parties that their advisors are making sound investment recommendations to better enable goal attainment," said Kevin Crowe, Head of Solutions, SEI Advisor Network. "This truly is the era of the 'smart investor.' Clients want to be in the driver's seat and fully understand where their money is going, as well as evaluate various financial options. Advisors who realize this, and put the right technology at their clients' fingertips, will be the ones who succeed in this changing client landscape."

This report is the third in a four-part series delving into the findings of the Futurewealth Project, which aims to better understand the ambitions and consumer attitudes of the world's up-and-coming wealthy. Each report focuses on a different theme around how technology and digital communications can be used to engage the next generation of wealthy. The final report will be published in the second quarter of 2013. For more information, please visit www.seic.com/FW3.  

About SEI's Global Wealth Platform
SEI's Global Wealth Platform (GWP) is an outsourcing solution for wealth managers encompassing wealth processing services and wealth management programs, combined with business process expertise. With GWP, SEI provides wealth management organizations with the infrastructure, operations, and administrative support necessary to capitalize on their strategic objectives in a constantly shifting market. GWP supports trading and transactions on 102 stock exchanges in 45 countries and 33 currencies, through the use of straight-through processing and a single operating infrastructure environment. For more information, visit http://www.seic.com/enUS/private-banks.htm.

About The SEI Advisor Network
The SEI Advisor Network provides financial advisors with turnkey wealth management services through outsourced investment strategies, administration and technology platforms, and practice management programs. It is through these services that SEI helps advisors save time, grow revenues, and differentiate themselves in the market. With a history of financial strength, stability, and transparency, the SEI Advisor Network has been serving the independent financial advisor market for more than 20 years, has over 5,400 advisors who work with SEI, and $33.7 billion in advisors' assets under management (as of Dec. 31, 2012). The SEI Advisor Network is a strategic business unit of SEI. For more information, visit www.seic.com/advisors.

About SEI
SEI ( NASDAQ : SEIC ) is a leading global provider of investment processing, fund processing, and investment management business outsourcing solutions that help corporations, financial institutions, financial advisors, and ultra-high-net-worth families create and manage wealth. As of December 31, 2012, through its subsidiaries and partnerships in which the company has a significant interest, SEI manages or administers $458 billion in mutual fund and pooled or separately managed assets, including $201 billion in assets under management and $257 billion in client assets under administration. For more information, visit www.seic.com.