Significant COVID-19 Impact on Wealth Management in the Information, Communication, and Technology (ICT) Sector
COVID-19 Impact on Wealth Management in the Information, Communication, and Technology (ICT) Sector ANALYSIS ON IMPACT OF COVID-19 The pandemic originated from China and spread to all over the world, so far 218 countries and territories, and 2 international conveyances have been affected with COVID-19, U.S. being on the top with cases reaching about 34.5 million, followed by India, Brazil, and then by many European countries such as Russia, France, Italy, and others. The COVID-19 cases reached big named countries with strong dominance in the global market which had adversely affected the economy globally. The spread of the Coronavirus has led to the global recession, many companies were shut down and several manufacturing facilities were put on hold. There had been disruptions in the supply chain of many industries due to restrictions in logistics and the closing of manufacturing facilities. In addition, the slowdown in the economy has lowered the spending capability of individuals and people are saving money for emergencies. The World Bank stated that the global economy is expected to reduce by 5.2% in 2020. Emerging market and developing economies (EMDEs) are expected to decrease by 2.5% and the economic activity in advanced economies may get reduced by 7% in 2020. U.S. witnessed a decline of 4.8% on an annualized basis in the first quarter of Q1-2020. In addition, the slowdown in the economy has also lowered the spending capability of individuals and people are saving money for emergencies. The Latin American region is affected by COVID-19 in both human and economic terms. The IMF World Economic Outlook stated a decrease of 8.1% in the GDP of Latin America in 2020. However, the situation has improved significantly and the market is recovering from the fall. Companies are taking several measures to overcome such scenarios and more regulations are being incorporated. Wealth management is an investment advisory service that combines other financial services for addressing the needs of affluent clients. Using a consultative process, the advisor gleans information about the client’s wants and specific situation and then tailors a personalized strategy that uses a range of financial products and services. Wealth management can encompass all parts of a person’s financial life. Instead of attempting to integrate pieces of advice and various products from multiple professionals, high-net-worth individuals may be more likely to benefit from an integrated approach. In this method, a wealth manager coordinates the services needed to manage their clients’ assets, along with creating a strategic plan for their current and future needs, whether it is will and trust services or business succession plans. As the world was confronted by the COVID-19 pandemic, economic, social, and political challenges quickly became apparent across the globe. These abrupt circumstances affected both investors and wealth management firms. IMPACT ON DEMAND AND SUPPLY CHAIN, AND LONG TERM STRATEGIES ADOPTED BY MANUFACTURERS The pandemic is bound to bring new trends in the market such as an increase in digitalization. The companies require taking strategic decisions to sustain their development in this pandemic crisis. Companies have cut short the capital expenditure to maintain their financial conditions, in addition, they also need to set the sales projection to limit their offerings and avoid any extra spending. Companies need to innovate and develop technologies according to the changing trends of society. The pandemic has boosted the growth in digitalization and this has increased the requirement of wealth management on the digital platform. Critical business workflows are being digitized to enable changes in both client behavior and accommodate field personnel working remotely. Numerous organizations are shifting their focus toward digital platforms to make their business tasks simpler. It is seen that 89% of all companies have already adopted a digital-first business strategy or plan to do so and 70% of companies either have a digital transformation strategy in place or are working on one. The increasing growth in digitalization will boost the market of wealth management during the pandemic. Moreover, in 2020, the numbers of ultra-high net worth individuals, which are generally defined as those having investable assets of more than USD 30 million, grew by 24% worldwide, the fastest rate of increase since 2003. The increase in number created a huge opportunity for growth for the global wealth management market. The market players are now taking many strategic decisions to gain their market share and profit after COVID-19. Passive investing has dominated during the recent record-length bull market, active management poses advantages during volatile and turbulent times, and the firms that transform people, process technology within their equity platforms could be better positioned to grow assets. With the shifts to virtual business practices, many wealth managers have aggressively reached out to their clients by phone to make it a ‘moment that matters’ and build further goodwill through human touch. The services which are provided by the market are now shifted towards cloud platform which is very easy and flexible to use. Integrated AI and automation enable faster portfolio development aligned with customer’s expectations. This automation will be significantly used to build a portfolio for the customers which will be another strategic decision taken by the company. With the adoption and shifting the business to virtual practices, wealth managers have aggressively reached out to their clients by phone to for making a deal and build further goodwill. The distribution channel will much change for the market after the COVID-19 pandemic and this is why many companies are looking to launch their apps and online services to cater to the clients which is also a part of the strategic decision of the companies to maintain the growth of the company. Many firms may reprioritize capital allocation plans and many look for possible mergers and acquisitions for business survival and sustenance. The COVID-19 pandemic has affected the market but the services are now shifted towards cloud platform which is very easy and flexible to use. The COVID-19 has affected the supply of wealth management services as the income of the people were affected has decreased due to the pandemic. The comprehensive wealth management services were affected and the supply chain has also got affected. The players are now trying to position themselves to thrive in the next normal. The investors saw a drop in their portfolios and were given initial market drops. CONCLUSION Pandemic has taken a toll on every aspect of life, including the global economy. With the significant downfalls in many sectors, a collaborative effort of government, industry players, and consumers can win the fight against COVID-19. It continues to inflict the world with appalling economic and social dilemmas, capable enough to leave severe backlash on the economy for the next several years. The first wave had already inflicted severe blows to the population as well as the economy. The currently experiencing second wave is expected to be more disastrous not only to the masses but also to ICT markets. As the industry slowly emerges from the crises and the next normal takes hold, the success of the wealth management firms will depend on their ability to use the crises to accelerate their digital transformation and embrace a more flexible wealth management operating model. Client interaction will change, whether by choice or necessity. Digital enablement will likely continue to be leveraged to meet business and customer needs while how and where employees work and are supervised has already changed. The wealth management companies are accommodating mobile working and flexible working schedules to maintain the operational continuity which will run the business. The companies are trying to regain their share by every means, as these firms will also likely to tap on the data and analytics to learn more about potential customers which will ultimately increase their customer base. Hence, the companies are now adopting new distribution solutions after COVID-19 which will gradually help them to increase their portfolio and services and maintain their operations in the market. Some firms may start to consider mergers or deals as the environment becomes more challenging. This will benefit the companies by generating a profit and making the supply chain stronger. Southeast Asian consumers are hungry to access wealth services via apps and online. This means many wealth relationship interactions can be shifted to apps enabling low-cost services which will also help in business continuity.