Two decades ago, the birth of the deposit-taker branch advice (BA) channel heralded the inception of a new approach to designing wealth distribution networks. From the “serve-all-ye-who-come” of a traditional bank branch, the new BA conduit opted for a curated shelf aimed at a discrete client segment defined by its investable wealth, and serviced by a specialist sales force. By maintaining a clear focus on mass affluent segment, by design – excluding the mass market below it and the affluent above it, the BA channel—in contrast to the full-service brokerage (FSB) or the financial advisor (FA) channels—ushered in the era of the client-centric approach to wealth delivery architecture.
Today the mass affluent client segment has become the key battleground for the mutual fund and planning-centric dealers operating within the BA and the FA channels. While perhaps lacking the financial heft of the affluent or high-net worth client, the mass affluent client segment reflects a broad range of growth opportunities and challenges for both groups. Both have deployed strategies and approaches that are tailored to their highly specific distribution models and their clients’ unique wealth progression pathways.
The study—like its predecessor, The Mass Affluent Segment: Sales and Service Models of the Big Six Banks, published in 2012—is unique on the Strategic Insight shelf as it attempts to shed light on the many important details of the offers of specific deposit-takers and other competitors. It is of strategic importance to all firms delivering advice, planning and investment services to clients across a spectrum of household wealth. Understanding the competitive forces across the wealth management industry, detailing the challenges, the opportunities and the variety of approaches being contemplated and taken to address them all, provides the focus of this research. With detailed analysis and assessment of the various models employed and their relative success, the report provides a fact-based dive into the past present and future of the mass affluent service proposition.