The Wealth Management Industry is in the midst of massive demographic change. Business models are evolving, old entrants are retiring or merging, technology is leveling the playing field. As a result, clients are demanding more value and the industry is coping with a rapidly shifting landscape.

As “Wealth Management” clamors for direction, new expertise to manage this change is emerging. With us today is MATTHIAS KUHLMEY, Chief Development Officer at Hightower Advisors and the developer of the “Disruption in Wealth Management” Module for Columbia University’s Wealth Management program.

Matthias Kuhlmey began his professional journey as a trained musician, landing somewhat fortuitously in the field of global finance where he has been active as an advisor, capital market expert, and corporate executive for the past 20+ years.

Whereas the origins of his two worlds cannot be more different. Matthias has been passionately exploring parallels, especially in observing how technology has been disrupting both industries. Lowering the barrier of entry, preparing the path for a creative (r)evolution.

Matthias is a thought-leading critic of socioeconomic affairs, C-Suite executive of one of the leading firms in the independent space for financial advice, and lecturer at Columbia School of Professional Studies in New York City.



1. “Disruptive Trends in WM”

2. Big opportunity to define disruption in the context of WM (Music Industry as an example)

3. Ttrust and lack of trust in the system; emerging stores of value

4. The firm of the future; what to consider, trends to build on, etc.

Independent Movement Around the Registered Investment Advisor Space

            -“Wire House” to Independence

            -Regulatory and definition Clarity


            -Client -centric


            -Movement away from vertical integration

            -Firms now have access to best in breed technology through 3rd party sources

            -Vendor selection and maintenance

            -Tech as differentiator is now tech as equalizer

Product to Service Shift in Industry

            -Move away from commoditized offerings

            -Relationship oriented advice

            -Shifting consumption models- the move to digital

            -the importance of Shared mission

The Impact of Political Risk 

            -Mitigating Store of Value Risk

            -The Erosion of Trust of “free markets”

            -The emergence if digital assets

Growth – Organic

            -No one solution- but it must be process driven

            -Value proposition must be overwhelmingly obvious

            -Relationships must be monetizable

            -Accountability driven

Growth – Inorganic

            -Deal Activity has exploded

            -Risks- integration

            -Emphasis on culture and operations vs transaction

            -Organizations must be prepared via network and hierarchy models

Future of Wealth

            -Access to clients based on value proposition – necessitates specialization

            -Talent pool incomplete- not diverse enough, not digital enough, not empathetic enough

            -Women- a huge driver of change both as clients and industry leaders

            -Meaning of money broader- aspirational sustainable, impact

            -Corporate leadership needs new skills to lead the new type of worker and service client

            -Economic incentive of workplace culture important but psychological safety is key

How Do We Stay In Touch?



Recent publications:

o Succession: A Relevance Crisis
o The Money (R)evolution
o The Values Dimension

Resources Columbia SPS:
Master of Professional Studies In Wealth Management

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