North American financial advisors believe AI can help expand their businesses

But difficulty in using tools providing obstacles, finds report

North American financial advisors believe AI can help expand their businesses

There are key obstacles to overcome before adoption can be accelerated even if most financial advisors in North America believe artificial intelligence (AI) will transform financial advice and support business growth, according to new research.

Five hundred certified financial advisors in the United States and Canada who work for significant wealth managers, banks, insurers, and independent wealth firms were surveyed for the new study by Accenture, "AI in Wealth Management: A Financial Advisor Study."

A significant finding shows that almost all (98%) of the advisors surveyed feel that AI is changing how advice is produced for, provided to, and consumed by customers. Additionally, 97% believe that AI can help expand their book of business organically by more than 20%.

Even though more than nine out of ten (92%) advisers said their companies had already acted on their AI strategy, from proof of concepts to expanding AI throughout the entire company, they also identified a number of adoption hurdles that needed to be overcome.

For instance, 50% of respondents stated their wealth management companies face difficulties implementing their AI vision, 55% said their companies' AI tools and insights are difficult to use, and 64% said their company is launching too many AI pilots at once to adopt the technology.

“Against increasingly challenging market conditions, AI has the potential to help wealth managers sustain and drive new growth, create operating efficiencies and transform the customer experience through more hyper-personalized insights and products,” said Scott Reddel, who leads Accenture’s wealth management practice in North America.

“Now isn’t the time to take your foot off the pedal,” Reddel adds. “Firms can overcome adoption speedbumps with continued commitment from management, focused applications that deliver business value, and — perhaps most critically — collaboration across business lines.”

It is crucial to grow AI and use it more effectively in wealth management.

Another recent cross-industry Accenture report, "The Art of AI Maturity: Advancing from Practice to Performance," found that out of 17 industries examined, the capital markets and banking industry, which includes wealth management, had the lowest AI maturity score. These companies also achieved 50% higher revenue growth than their peers.

Among other important conclusions from the study on "AI in Wealth Management":

  • Four in five (80%) of financial advisors are prepared to use additional AI-based client interaction and collaboration technologies, and 87% think that the biggest advantage of AI is its capacity to transform client data into useful insights;
  • Four in five (80%) of advisors also favor using AI solutions to automate laborious and manual tasks;
  • More than four in 10 (44%) of advisors think that their company's culture is the main barrier to AI adoption.

“AI can help wealth management firms achieve a strong competitive advantage, and our research tells us that the vast majority of advisors are ready to adopt the technology,” said Keri Smith, Applied Intelligence lead for Accenture’s Banking and Capital Markets industry practices. “But to fully realize the value of AI, insights derived from it must be specific, actionable and easy to understand. Wealth managers need to do a better job creating clear use cases that help advisors serve their clients better or reduce time spent on administrative tasks, all while giving their advisors a voice in the process.”