John Olerio is director and senior vice president of investment services at Webster Bank. He talks with Providence Business News about a new digital service the bank is offering called Guided Wealth Portfolios and how the face of wealth management is changing with technology.
PBN: What is Guided Wealth Portfolios?
OLERIO: Guided Wealth Portfolios is an advanced, automated platform from LPL Financial that helps clients evaluate investment options based on their risk preferences, time horizon and financial goals. A Webster Investments wealth adviser offers advice and personal service to clients who access GWP.
GWP offers actively managed, diversified ETF [exchange-traded fund] portfolios. Our wealth advisers help clients select the portfolio that best addresses their retirement goals. LPL incorporates a technology platform from BlackRock’s FutureAdvisor Inc., applying their proprietary, automated computer algorithms to construct model portfolios.
PBN: Why did Webster Investments decide to offer this service?
OLERIO: We’ve been listening to our clients. In every segment, from the mass-affluent to the high net worth, they have a growing demand for advanced technology to oversee their finances. That’s part of a national trend, as many firms roll out robo-platforms for investments.
At the same time, our clients still want a trusted adviser to offer personal perspectives on their plans. They want communication and touch points. That’s where we have a key point of difference. We strive to take a leadership position in everything we do. So, we offer a sophisticated digital investment platform enhanced by individual guidance from a Webster Investments wealth adviser. Using GWP, we can provide the full technology offerings available from larger competitors, but with the touch of personal service.
PBN: What exactly will customers be able to do on the portal? Can they change investment strategies?
OLERIO: Clients can open new GWP accounts, view their portfolios and make updates to their personal information as their lives change. There are a variety of tools available to assist in setting and tracking progress toward retirement goals. There are also detailed weekly reports to fully explain all transactions that have taken place in the account with full transparency.
PBN: With the rise of robo-advising, why did Webster Investments decide to also offer in-person services?
OLERIO: Overwhelmingly, people prefer a combination of automated and personal investment services, rather than just technology alone. In fact, Accenture recently reported that a full 68 percent of emerging and high net worth investors in North America prefer ‘hybrid’ investment advice: digital tools combined with traditional advisory services. With GWP, you can review your investment options digitally and then evaluate them with a wealth adviser – not only someone you trust, but someone who understands your whole financial picture.
PBN: How does this fit into Webster Investments’ overall strategy of investing into financial technology and what should we expect to see next?
OLERIO: Next, we’ll roll out GWP to all Webster Investments wealth advisers in our four-state footprint. We’ll also unveil a mobile version of the platform. We’re going to keep our finger on the pulse of “hybrid” investment services to aim to hold a leadership position.