Data Desktops are Evolving to Serve the Retail Wealth Manager

The changing demographic of our society—a younger and more technology savvy workforce—is reflected in the wealth management business, changing the professional wealth managers’ toolbox for servicing this key segment. One growing casualty of this shift is the traditional data desktop, which is in the midst of a 5-year downward slide in the retail wealth management (RWM) segment that has seen a negative 2.1% CAGR over that span.


This younger ‘emerging affluent’ investor has smaller wealth accumulation, is less inclined to pick stocks or trade frequently and is attracted to different technology tools than do prior generations. The emergence of robo-advisors like robinhood, Betterment and SoFi have made it easy for this young professional to invest with less capital and market savvy. Their preference for simple platforms to support their automatic and algorithmic robo-investing strategies has taken the professional wealth managers away from the data

RWM professionals have always used data desktops, but typically deployed lighter, less expensive versions. With the size of this market shrinking, providers are enhancing their desktop products to include features that appeal to those robo-advisors. Some are developing premium desktops that cater to the unique needs of the RWM segment, offering superior service and customized analytics. Other vendors have shifted to more mobile and cloud-based products, accessible from anywhere, that appeal to the young
emerging affluent investor.

The desktop is no longer defined by the traditional stationery physical terminal that was so familiar just a few years ago, with few opportunities for growth in the coming years. While that terminal remains pervasive among buy-side and sell-side institutions, the growth of the new retail investor is slowly altering the desktop model in a way to service this segment. The RWM segment has seen a slow and steady decline in desktop use in recent years, due to this changing demographic. To recapture that segment, the desktop providers are recasting their desktop for these customers, upgrading their products to look less like a terminal and more like a flexible tool that manages their investing needs.


Robert Iati is the Director of Burton-Taylor’s Market Data Research and Strategic Consulting businesses. Bob is a well-known capital markets expert with more than 30 years of experience in data management. Visit our newly-redesigned website at and see information on Burton-Taylor’s new report on the market for data desktops at

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