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Highlights From the In|Vest Wealth Management Conference 2015

Guest contributor Xin Wang, Solutions Consultant at Hearsay Social, recaps the 2015 In|Vest Conference from June 18-19. 
Hearsay Social recently attended the In|Vest Conference in New York. The 2-day conference brought together an array of individuals, from executives at the largest financial institutions to founders of financial technology startups that are disrupting wealth management, to provoke conversations around the future of the industry. From idea hackathons to keynote speakers to product demos to panels, here invest conf 2015 photo are a few highlights of what we heard.
Technology to make financial services more efficient, or a disruptor?
On one hand, the sheer presence and name recognition of robo-advisor startups such as Betterment, FutureAdvisor, and Motif Investing represent ongoing fintech innovation. The common thread across these disruptors lay in their mission to use their platforms to build a relationship with customers based on transparency, low prices, and a great customer experience. Robo-advisors are seeing traction today, with Betterment announcing they are nearing the 100,000 funded account milestone, consulting firm A.T. Kearney forecasting robo-advisors to become a trillion dollar market by 2020, and several incumbents – Vanguard and Charles Schwab – recently announcing that they are entering this robo-advisory space.
On the other hand, even as some financial services products are being commoditized, both large and small financial services players recognize that there is still a need – whether it’s high net worth or complex assets or fringe cases – to provide personalized service through human interaction. So while technology charges forward to simplify the account opening process or to analyze predictive behavior, relationships and advice are here to stay. And that is manifested in large financial institutions who are putting resources into technology that frees up their advisors to do higher value work and all three of the aforementioned robo-advisor startups seeing the need to launch both director-to-consumer offerings, as well as solutions for advisors.
Millennials: A top-of-mind segment for all firms  
Millennials represent an out-sized share of wallet to many financial services companies because of the expected large intergenerational wealth transfer that will happen in the next few decades, as well as the surge in young and wealthy entrepreneurs. They present a new profile of consumers for the incumbents and provide challenges for all due to their high expectations of digital financial capabilities, their desire to consume content and interact in real-time, across social media, mobile, web, text, and their demanding nature of always wanting more. And yet they exhibit behaviors that are similar to other cohorts, such as valuing that one on one relationship and paying a premium for advice. Many of us are excited to see how they will fuel financial services innovation today and in the coming years.
To learn additional insights on how financial technology firms are disrupting the financial services industry, and what advisors can do to stay ahead, read insights from Hearsay Social’s 2015 Social Business Innovation Summit, and listen to a keynote from our founder.
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