Taking advantage of Technology in Wealth, Insurance and Investment Management

Financial Services has traditionally lagged behind other industries in digital innovation, primarily due to regulations and high technology delivery costs.

Leapfrogging using technology 

The regulatory landscape is changing now more than ever, and modern technologies (if selected and implemented correctly) are far more robust, scalable and cost effective to operate. FinTech firms have reacted to ever-increasing customer demands by innovating in areas such as robotic automation, API usage, machine learning, and developing simple and efficient digital business models to attract and retain customers at scale.

In recent years at WealthObjects, we have seen increasing demand from financial institutions to utilise technology to launch digital solutions, or upgrade their existing offerings – leading to improvements in efficiency and increased revenues.

Wealth and asset management is now seen as a disruptive sector and the consensus is that globally the future of wealth management is digital. Through our experience of delivering digital business models to clients across EMEA and APAC we have seen that ‘Digital’ is not just for young or millennial investors, and that many mass affluent and high net worth investors are willing to switch providers for a better digital experience with a personalised service.

Conversely, we were surprised to learn that young professionals prefer an element of human interaction for financial planning - as an additional hybrid option within a transparent digital proposition, not as a replacement. Digital may mean different things to different firms – but one constant is that firms must adopt a digital approach to their entire front to back office functions to evolve and grow.

Ways in which firms can achieve digitalisation progress

Financial institutions can progress their digitalisation in the following ways:

Build solutions in-house

Companies with sufficient in-house resource may decide to build solutions themselves to maintain control of projects and IP, but this typically increases the risk of failure and time to market. Then there is the risk of staff leaving with the knowledge base. Furthermore, company culture (or sheer size) can stifle innovation and efficiency, making it difficult to react to customer trends and thus stay competitive. Firms often struggle with this, and we see a clear trend of working with FinTech providers, with ‘in-house’ no longer the default option.

Buy a technology firm

Larger Institutions have multiple offerings across various channels. Acquiring a FinTech firm can help to simplify and enhance the wider omni-channel experience. However, such deals are capital intensive, and post-acquisition it is challenging to maintain the innovative culture of the acquired firm and maintain past levels of staff motivation. Mismatched cultures, increased approval procedures, differing goals and operational costs can hinder ongoing innovation. To mitigate this, some companies take a ‘hands-off’ approach to acquisition, leaving the acquired firm to run as a stand-alone business with operational freedom.

Partner with FinTech firms

Partnering with FinTechs who have an open, agile and innovative culture (and no conflict of business interest), enables firms to launch solutions faster and more cost-effectively, future-proof their offerings, and stay competitive. Institutions of all sizes can leverage the capabilities and technologies of FinTechs to gain competitive advantage, stay relevant, and to accelerate growth across segments by attracting and retaining clients. Such partnerships help companies to align their goals and work collaboratively, keeping the innovation going and launching solutions with good customer outcomes.

How should firms choose the right technology partner? 

Whilst the technology is key, it is important not to overlook the people behind it; good people are needed to build good tech, and to future-proof it to retain competitive advantage in the long-term. FinTechs need capable staff to adapt the solution to evolving markets and regulations, deliver ongoing innovation and – critically – underpin all of this with quality customer project management and support.

So as well as a deep-dive into the technology, take a good look at the company’s people, processes and philosophy. Do you have good cultural alignment? Do they act as a vendor, or as a partner? And will they provide the right ongoing support and consultation to help you grow your proposition?

At WealthObjects, experience has taught us that the most efficient option is to collaborate, and develop a true long term partner-relationship. Partnerships where both firms contribute to, and share in successes will be the winners the long term. As the financial services sector continues to change with the introduction of new technologies, and existing business models are under constant threat from disruption, the need for collaboration is greater than ever to produce truly customer centric propositions.

About WealthObjects

WealthObjects is an independent, employee-owned UK company, and partners with financial institutions across EMEA and APAC. WealthObjects has successfully helped firms to launch or enhance digital customer and hybrid advisory propositions, achieve digital differentiation from competitors, and has enabled those firms to grow their business efficiently for the long term.

WealthObjects solutions and client projects have received industry recognition and won numerous awards including Best Wealth Platform, Innovative FinTech Solution, The Banker's Tech Projects Award for Best Artificial Intelligence and Robotics Project, and was a Finalist in the Gartner Eye on Innovation Award for Financial Services in 2018.

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