(Bloomberg News) A majority of global wealth-management executives said their clients aren't satisfied as firms face low revenue growth and new regulations, according to a survey by PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP.
About 37 percent of chief executive officers surveyed said their clients are satisfied and would recommend their company to potential clients, PwC said today in a statement announcing the results of the survey. Such referrals are the primary source of new clients, according to the survey of executives at 275 firms.
Wealth-management firms are grappling with changing client demands after the financial crisis, as only 9 percent of firms last year saw both 10 percent revenue growth and a cost-to-revenue ratio of less than 60 percent, according to the survey. Almost 90 percent of respondents expect moderate to significant consolidation in the industry over the next two years.
"It's still a great industry with a lot of profit to be made, but it is certainly at an inflection point," said Steven Crosby, leader of PwC's private banking and wealth management practice for the Americas. "In a post-crisis and post-scandal environment, and with single-digit returns--and low single- digit returns in many markets--clients expect a lot more and tolerate a lot less."
More than half the respondents said they believe that new rules are beneficial, even while "excessive regulation" was named as the biggest potential risk to the firms. Almost 50 percent of those surveyed are putting in technology and infrastructure systems to address new rules, and only 15 percent said they feel prepared for the regulations.
Technology budgets have increased over the past two years for 60 percent of respondents. That's in part to improve front- office systems that allow advisers to better communicate with clients, systems which most respondents currently evaluated as "fair," according to the survey.
"As an industry, wealth management does not have the best track record of change," Crosby said. "Standing still is not an option now, because human capital, marketplaces, technology, regulation, it's all changing."
The survey of executives in 67 countries was conducted between December 2010 and April 2011, PwC said in the statement. About 62 percent of respondents were from Europe, 24 percent from the Americas and 14 percent from Asia, according to the statement.