- Neuberger Berman is overhauling its client- and adviser-facing digital offerings as the 80-year-old investment firm adapts to the fast-changing wealth management industry.
- Business Insider spoke with Stephanie Luedke, Neuberger Berman’s head of private wealth management, about the firm-wide roll out that she called “significant” for advisers.
- “People today expect to be able to pick up their mobile device and very quickly do what they want to do, get access to information they want to have, analyze what they want to analyze, on the fly,” she said.
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Neuberger Berman is overhauling its client- and adviser-facing technology as the storied investment firm adapts to the fast-changing asset and wealth management industry around it.
“We’re right in the midst of developing and rolling out a whole new suite of capabilities for our client-facing professionals here, people working directly with private clients,” Stephanie Luedke, Neuberger Berman’s head of private wealth management, told us in a recent interview.
Neuberger oversees $49 billion in private wealth assets through the end of September; the firm declined to comment on how those figures have changed since last year. The private wealth unit has 43 advisory and investment teams who work directly with individual investors. It manages some $339 billion across the firm’s total operations, which include private wealth management and asset management businesses.
The firm-wide upgrade is set for completion at the end of 2020, and has been in the works for about one year alongside a large technology company that the firm is not yet disclosing, Luedke said.
The overhaul within the advisory business and beyond will entail a central digital hub for client data, a mobile application, and new adviser and client portals.
Through its various businesses, Neuberger Berman caters to rather well-heeled clients. Private asset management accounts generally have a minimum size of $1 million. Fixed-income and equity brokerage accounts typically come with a $250,000 and $100,000 minimum size.
The shift inside the 80-year-old, privately held firm that once operated as Lehman Brothers’ asset management arm — which was then spun out in the wake of the global financial crisis — is a sign of the times.
Digital and traditional financial services firms are operating in an increasingly competitive environment for pools of wealth assets. Meanwhile, customers have a growing number of options for stock-trading and financial advice that are cheap and easy to use.
Wealth management players across the industry constantly have technological upgrades on their minds as new entrants challenge legacy systems.
Fine-tuning tech across the industry
We first reported last month that Morgan Stanley, among the largest US wealth managers, wants to roll out in 2020 a feature for financial advisers to help them instantly analyze news and data about portfolio holdings.
Meanwhile online brokerage TD Ameritrade has developed a recommendation engine for customers, Netflix-style. And an executive at UBS, the world’s largest wealth manager, told us in August that he’s thinking about how robo-advisers can aid in keeping the firm’s richest clients.
“There will always be a human element to our business,” Luedke told us. “But we also have to be able to you complement that with a digital experience because as we all know, people today expect to be able to pick up their mobile device and very quickly do what they want to do, get access to information they want to have, analyze what they want to analyze, on the fly.”
Luedke, who joined New York-based Neuberger in June after seven years with Citi Private Bank, said clients will now be able to access account information on mobile in a comprehensive fashion that’s commonplace across other firms.
For instance, JPMorgan Private Bank and Goldman Sachs Private Wealth offer a standalone mobile application; wealth management giants Wells Fargo and Merrill Lynch Wealth Management both have numerous mobile offerings for clients.
She added that offering self-directed options for clients is not a core focus for the business.