New Report From SEI Shows Disconnect on Meaning of Transparency

SEI Report 'Tackling Transparency' Shows Wealth Managers and Clients Want Different Levels of Communication

Dec 14, 2010, 09:00 ET from SEI

OAKS, Pa., Dec. 14, 2010 /PRNewswire/ -- SEI (Nasdaq: SEIC) today released the latest in a series of special interest papers that examines the changing relationship between investors and their wealth managers. This report is the first in the series to examine the North American market. While both groups say that increased transparency is of paramount importance, wealth managers and their clients differ on the level and nature of communication they are seeking.

The findings are available in new research report from SEI entitled, Tackling Transparency []. The paper is the result of in-depth interviews carried out by independent research firm Scorpio Partnership, that compared the views of 250 wealth managers and their clients on the issue of transparency to gain understanding of how their viewpoints of this topic do or do not align.

The findings of these interviews show a clear discrepancy between what wealth managers believe they are delivering and what investors believe they are receiving. The report shows that investors want an open dialogue and an easy method to understand their portfolios – and how it connects with their goals and the markets. However, these clients say what they typically receive from wealth managers is a complex report filled with information on transactions, tax, fees, products and services, without any analysis or explanation of how it relates to their personal circumstances. Additionally, the report demonstrates a disconnect as findings indicate that wealth managers say they have a strong understanding of their clients' goals, and that they excel at explaining their fee structures.

"Wealth managers and their clients agree on the need for greater transparency, but seem to differ on how to define it," said Al Chiaradonna, Senior Vice President for SEI's Global Wealth Services. "What we're talking about is 'usability' – as an industry we're expending great effort on transparency but still not truly delivering what clients are asking for. Wealth managers should ask themselves how they can provide a more dynamic reporting core that offers information and insight, not just data.  We hope this research, and the future papers in this five part series, urges wealth managers to contemplate significant changes to their business in order to provide the services their clients are really looking for. "

"We deal with investors on a daily basis and while they may not use the word transparency specifically, they are asking for more information, more insight into the rationale on every decision, and a greater level of communication around the entire process," said Michael Farrell, Managing Director for the SEI Wealth Network. "Clients are no longer content with receiving end-of-the-month statements. They want an ongoing dialogue and a consistent flow of practical information aligned to their specific situation."

About SEI's Global Wealth Services

SEI's Global Wealth Services is an outsourcing solution for Wealth Managers encompassing wealth processing services and wealth management programs, coupled with business process expertise. The integrated offering aims to provide wealth management organizations the infrastructure, operations and administrative support necessary to capitalize on their strategic objectives in a constantly shifting market.

About SEI

SEI (Nasdaq: SEIC) is a leading global provider of outsourced asset management, investment processing and investment operations solutions. The company's innovative solutions help corporations, financial institutions, financial advisors, and affluent families create and manage wealth. As of September 30, 2010, through its subsidiaries and partnerships in which the company has a significant interest, SEI administers $402 billion in mutual fund and pooled assets and manages $164 billion in assets. SEI serves clients, conducts or is registered to conduct business and/or operations, from numerous offices worldwide. For more information, visit