Benchmarking the Delivery of Wealth Management

Some financial institutions are rethinking how they deliver wealth management thtough retail securities brokerage, personal trust services, and asset management, seeking to improve the client and advisor experience, reduce redundant staffing and duplicative technology, and increase broader and deeper customer penetration.

Benchmarking the Delivery of Wealth Management

For decades financial institutions have expected to flesh out their banking relationships with their clients to also serve their wealth management needs, but progress generally has been disappointing.  Banks have lost market share of household investable assets, while both traditional wealth management firms and disrupter lenders have encroached on the lending business.  And the promised stabilizing impact of fee income from wealth management has lagged behind expectations.


Some view this disappointing history as a result of how banks have organized their wealth management businesses.  Typically, as banks began offering wealth management services beyond traditional fiduciary services, they bolted on these businesses to existing structures, resulting in redundancy, internal competition, and a patchwork of client experiences.  Now some firms are taking a fresh look at delivering wealth management services, examining: 

  • Who should serve the different wealth management needs of different kinds of clients?
  • Is there a better way to acquire clients? service them?
  • Can advisor-facing and client-facing technology be integrated so that the client wealth management journey is optimized?


For the past few years, the Kehrer Wealth Management Study Group has brought together some of these firms that are trying to find the right balance between the strengths of the traditional wealth management models and new approaches to integrating the front, middle, and back offices of their wealth management businesses.  We have also conducted a market scan to inventory the various approaches firms are initiating and provided case studies of these initiatives.  Now we believe that there is enough activity that we should start benchmarking the performance of the integrated wealth management platforms against the traditional, siloed approach.  Only with ongoing benchmarking will we be able to identify and refine best industry practices.

Kehrer Group is seeking sponsors to support the launch of an annual benchmarking service of the delivery of personal wealth management services.  We are seeking $45,000 of funding, from either a sole sponsor or a group of sponsors. The sponsor(s) will help shape the ongoing study.

We have worked with some of the firms pioneering the integration of wealth management to define the benchmarking metrics.  Our current thinking is to focus on these measures:

Personal/Household Assets Client Productivity Staff Productivity
Growth in AUA Assets per WM client Assets per WM FTE
Growth in net new assets Assets per WM account Revenue per WM FTE
Growth in new assets Revenue per WM client WM clients per WM FTE
Revenue per WM account Growth in WM headcount
Revenue and Expenses Client Penetration Key Management Metrics
YoY WM revenue growth WM clients ÷ bank households Cost to service
ROA WM AUA ÷ WM client assets Cost to acquire
Staff expenses/revenue WM AUA ÷ WM customer’s assets
YoY staff expenses


A substantial amount of this data is available from the Kehrer Group Investment Services Benchmarking Study [for investment services] and FDIC Call Reports [for Personal Trust]. The primary data challenge will be to:


  • Separate personal wealth management staffing, and associated payroll expenses, from institutional and retirement plan services
  • Separate business acquisition staffing and associated payroll expenses from client servicing staff and payroll.