Why is Wealth Assurance so relevant today when it comes to helping HNW families seeking to protect, preserve, and pass on their wealth?
There are often many complex factors, as well as a series of unique expectations of HNW/UHNW individuals and their families when it comes to protecting, preserving, and passing on their wealth. For these clients, wealth is often accumulated over generations, or generated through creating their own businesses. Their assets carry with them a sense of responsibility, as well as the duty to be preserved and protected for future generations to come. However, as the world becomes more unpredictable and uncertain, with shifting geopolitical landscapes, confidently achieving these goals can be more challenging. In addition, modern family dynamics and structures, including family members dispersed around the world, also contribute to greater financial intricacies. HNW/UHNW families often have financial interests spread across multiple jurisdictions and need to be able to navigate various different regulatory regimes. This has resulted in an increase in demand for customised wealth and succession planning solutions. This is where the Wealth Assurance industry steps in with the provision of solutions that are comprehensive, compliant, and proven, while also highly flexible, portable and adaptable to the evolving lifestyles of HNWs/UHNWs.
The results of our 2021 European Wealth Assurance Report showed a clear appetite for Wealth Assurance products (also known as Unit-Linked life insurance or Private Placement Life Insurance – PPLI) with 30% of wealth professionals stating that more than half of their clients currently use it, and 57% agreeing that it is a good option for wealth planning, recommending it to their clients whenever possible. In addition, the survey confirmed that 'asset stickiness' and client retention benefits for wealth professionals, as well as succession planning, are the top motivators for them to use Wealth Assurance solutions.
What are the opportunities you see for the Wealth Assurance industry?
In an increasingly complex and globally connected world, where business practises are shifting towards more automated interactions, the need for continuous digital development is now more important than ever. There is a clear opportunity for the Wealth Assurance sector to enhance its digital footprint in order to deliver even greater cross-border service and operational efficiency to its stakeholders.
Hybrid and remote working over the last 12 months has been a catalyst for further innovation in the way we manage our service delivery. This has included introducing enhanced new processes including the use of secure e-signatures and the development of new features on our existing digital servicing platforms, such as Connect in Europe, which delivers further operational efficiency and service enhancements for our clients.
Digital solutions and the automation of business processes must therefore continue to transform and evolve while maintaining a client-centric servicing approach. Finding the right balance between human expertise and technology is critical to delivering operational excellence.
How is Lombard International Assurance using technology and business process automation to support partnerships, enhance service and efficiency?
As evidenced in our European Wealth Assurance Report, 75% of wealth professionals expect a "high" or "very high" level of digitalisation over the next three years. At Lombard International Assurance we use technology and digitalisation as enablers of service excellence. Digitalisation brings automation which in turn enables us to deliver greater efficiency throughout the entire lifecycle of our solutions. For several years now, the integration of technology into key operational processes has contributed to increasing our operational efficiency. One example is our digital servicing platform, Connect, which provides enhanced online secure access to client policies. Through Connect, new policies can be fully onboarded remotely in some of our core markets, in a compliant and efficient manner. France, was our pilot country for the launch of our digital onboarding solution back in 2019. Fast forward to today and we now have over 80% of new policy subscriptions using our online process.
By embedding our digital infrastructure into our Partner and Client servicing department, our expert team which includes 40 different nationalities, speaking over 30 different languages, are now able to focus more of their time on value-added services. For example, responding to queries on the more complex cases more efficiently, supporting our business development teams further and growing long term relationships with our partners.
In addition, our Partner Outreach Program is a proactive approach that our Partner & Client Services teams in Europe use to check in with family offices, wealth planners, asset managers, private bankers and other partners to gain feedback on their experience with us. It gives our partners a voice in supporting our prioritisation of operational enhancements and provides valued feedback to address any potential changes required.
With an increased number of HNW families seeking to incorporate ESG investing into their strategy, how does Wealth Assurance factor in?
Interest in Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) investing and sustainable finance has grown significantly in recent years. The pandemic has highlighted the importance for HNWIs to reconsider their wealth and how to leave a lasting legacy. Contrary to popular belief, wealth and succession planning is about more than just protecting and passing on wealth to the next generation; the debate has expanded to include the concept of wealth itself, and how it can be used to create social good.
Wealth Assurance providers have a unique role to play with supporting clients on their ESG preferences. Sitting at the intersection of asset management, private banking, and insurance, Wealth Assurance is the gateway through which an increasing number of HNWIs and their advisers are choosing to activate their ESG investing strategies.
Looking back at 2021, how did Lombard International Assurance perform? Were you able to achieve your business directives?
2021 was a landmark year for Lombard International Group. Not only did we celebrate our 30th anniversary but our international teams also delivered a strong performance in new business. While ways of working will continue to evolve, we have proven that our ability to stay relevant, agile and flexible, using a combination of in-person, hybrid and digital capabilities have been enablers of operational efficiency, business development and strong engagement.
In 2022 we will continue to further enhance our business strategy, focusing on greater global integration and new opportunities. We will continue to develop and grow our business in each of our core regions of Europe and the United States, with renewed attention on Asia and Latin America. This includes broadening our geographical footprint in Europe and building new distribution partnerships with renowned international wealth partners in emerging markets. Crucially though, it is our people that are our strongest asset and Lombard International is widely, and rightly, recognised as being home to the best talent and expertise in the market.