More than half of advisors believe that their firm is taking on too many AI pilots at once or that AI tools are too complicated to use
Although the vast majority of financial advisors in North America believe that artificial intelligence (AI) will transform financial advice and help drive business growth, there are some challenges to overcome to accelerate adoption, according to new research from Accenture (NYSE:ACN).
The research, "AI in Wealth Management: A Financial Advisor Study," is based on a survey of 500 licensed financial advisors in the U.S. and Canada working at major wealth managers, banks, insurers and independent wealth firms.
A key finding: Almost all (98%) of the advisors surveyed believe that AI is transforming how advice is created for, delivered to and consumed by clients, and 97% believe that AI can help grow their book of business organically by more than 20%.
However, while more than nine in 10 (92%) advisors acknowledge that their firms have taken steps to act on their AI strategies — from proof of concepts to deploying AI within targeted business units, or even scaling it across the entire organization — they also pointed to several barriers to adoption that need to be addressed.
For example, half (50%) said that their wealth management firms are challenged to act on their AI vision, 55% said that their firms' AI tools and insights are too complicated to use, and more than six in 10 (64%) said their firm is taking on too many AI pilots at once in its push 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. Firms can overcome adoption speedbumps with continued commitment from management, focused applications that deliver business value, and — perhaps most critically — collaboration across business lines."
The need to scale and harness AI in wealth management more effectively is essential. In fact, a recent cross-industry Accenture report, "The Art of AI Maturity: Advancing from Practice to Performance," found that the most AI-mature companies achieved 50% higher revenue growth than their peers and that the capital markets and banking industry, which includes wealth management, had the lowest AI maturity score out of 17 industries analyzed.
Among other key findings from the "AI in Wealth Management" research:
- Four in five (80%) financial advisors are ready to adopt more AI-based client engagement and collaboration tools, and 87% believe that AI's greatest benefit is translating clients' data into actionable insights.
- Four in five advisors (80%) also prefer to use AI tools to automate time-consuming and manual tasks.
- More than four in 10 advisors (44%) believe that their firm's culture is the biggest impediment to adopting AI.
"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."
For more information on the research, visit: www.accenture.com/AdvisorAI.
To analyze attitudes toward artificial intelligence among licensed financial advisors, Accenture surveyed 500 advisors from a variety of financial services firms across the United States and Canada, including wealth managers, national and regional banks, private banks, insurance wealth companies, and registered investment advisors. The survey was conducted between January and March 2022.
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