So you want professional advice on investing but don't have enough money to get a bank's attention?
That quandary won't last much longer. A seismic shift in the financial services industry during the next five years, driven by technological advances and population changes, means you'll be able to get well-informed advice for an investment of virtually any size.
It's a trend likely to boost not just your personal wealth but the bottom lines of major Wall Street banks as well, according to a report titled "Wealth and Asset Management 2021: Preparing for Transformative Change" published this week. The study was conducted by Roubini ThoughtLab, a consulting firm founded by New York University economist Nouriel Roubini, in conjunction with 2,000 investors and 500 investment providers.
While fintechs and robo-advisors like Betterment, FutureAdvisor, and Wealthfront have gained popularity, large financial institutions and established mutual funds like Vanguard Group, Charles Schwab (SCHW) , Morgan Stanley (MS) and Wells Fargo (WFC) will most likely benefit because they have more diverse services and a solid regulatory framework, the study found.
"These organizations may be better equipped to meet the rising demand for specialized expertise, responsive 24/7 service, and wider investment and financial services," said Lou Celi, Roubini ThoughtLab CEO and program director.
They will likely face a threat, however, from "non-traditional investment providers, such as Internet platform companies" like Google (GOOGL) , Apple (AAPL) , and Amazon (AMZN) , the report said. As many as 45% of investors say they will use such companies, the report found.
EXCLUSIVE LOOK INSIDE: Wells Fargo, Google and Apple are holdings in Jim Cramer's Action Alerts PLUS Charitable Trust Portfolio. Want to be alerted before Cramer buys or sells WFC, GOOGL or AAPL? Learn more now.
Over the next five years period, nearly $50 trillion will be added to worldwide investments with a total of $296 million in household assets, as millennials and Generation Xers get older and accumulate more wealth, emerging markets grow, and more women put money into financial markets.
"In many emerging markets, populations are going from low per-capita income to medium per-capita income--and in the process creating a middle class that will save more," Roubini, who earned the nickname "Dr. Doom" for predicting the 2008 financial crisis, said in the report. Household wealth in Poland, China, and Mexico will have the largest proportional increase, the report found.
As millennials, the age group between 18 and 34 who came of age during the financial crisis, inherit and eventually invest their parents' money, they will look for the platforms that best help them understand their available choices. In fact, 59% of millennials and 63% of women said they won't put their money into an arcane security.
"Clients are looking for something extra -- guidance and direction on investments, family philanthropy, retirement, succession, and estate planning," Bahren Shaari, Bank of Singapore CEO, said in the report. "The role of the adviser is becoming less transaction-focused and more about sophisticated financial planning."
About 48% of investors say they're willing to hire a new provider if their needs aren't satisfied, a trend that will make advisory services more competitive and less expensive. Currently, 65% of investors say "quality of service" is their most important criteria.
Mobile, social media, data analytics, and cloud technologies will be the most commonly used functions for companies trying to improve customer services, the report found.
"Technology will enable wealth and asset management firms to reach investors whose small savings would have previously made them unprofitable to service," the report said. "As a result, large numbers of technologically enabled micro-investors will generate small average amounts, but a huge aggregate pool of capital."
Nearly 60% of investors say privacy and data security are important, 53% want to be able to balance their investment and life goals, 51% want more wealth management providers to choose from, and 47% want more digital access.
"Fintechs, while they may maintain their importance in driving the innovation agenda, they've really woken up the sleeping giant of the large service banks and mutual funds companies who are now realizing they have to capture this new segment," Joseph Pagano, who works with the digital transformation group for financial services at Cisco Systems, said in a phone interview.
In the very near future, it will become considerably easier for consumers to get professional advice even without large amounts of capital at their disposal, Pagano said.
"When you see price points coming down to almost zero from where, just three years ago, you needed a few hundred thousand dollars of investable income to be managed with professional advice, now you can get into the market at almost a zero cost, he said.
"Technology will allow everyone with a bank account to become an investor," he said. "There's a new demographic emerging that we call 'anyone with discretionary income.'"