Wells Fargo seeks to catch faster-growing rivals by boosting engagement with rich clients

Wells Fargo is unveiling a new platform to boost digital engagement with its 2.6 million wealth management clients. According to Michael Liersch, head of advice and planning for the bank’s wealth division, LifeSync allows users to set financial goals, track their progress, and connect with advisors. He said it would be delivered through a mobile app update in late March. “These are the things that will really enhance the client-advisor experience, and they’re not available on the mobile app today,” Liersch said. “This is a really big platform enhancement for clients and advisors to collaborate around their goals and connect what clients want to accomplish with what our advisors are doing.” The financial industry is vying to provide customers with personalized experiences via digital channels, and this tool should assist Wells Fargo in boosting customer satisfaction and loyalty. Among his efforts to overhaul the bank and appease regulators, CEO Charlie Scharf has highlighted wealth management as an area of growth for the company, along with credit cards and investment banking.

Wells Fargo is a major player in American wealth management, with $1.9 trillion in client assets and 12,027 financial advisors as of December. However, its clients’ assets had not increased since the end of 2019, which amounted to $1.9 trillion. Under Scharf’s streamlining efforts, Wells Fargo sold its asset management business and dropped international wealth clients in 2021. The asset figure’s trajectory “primarily reflects the volatility seen over the last few years,” according to a bank spokesperson. During that stretch, its competitors — sometimes called wirehouses — grew by leaps and bounds, thanks to acquisitions, organic growth, and new technology. Morgan Stanley saw client assets surge from $2.7 trillion to $4.2 trillion. Bank of America saw balances climb from about $3 trillion to $3.4 trillion in its wealth division. With its new offering, Wells Fargo hopes to turn the tide. The bank may eventually opt to offer a financial planning tool to its broader banking population, said Liersch. That would follow Bank of America’s move in 2019 when it unveiled a Life Plan digital planning tool. “We wanted to solve for that more complex experience first, and then develop the client-directed capability which is absolutely in our consideration set,” Liersch said.


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