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Driving the Modernization of Financial Services in Asia

shutterstock_344562560Last week, I had the pleasure of returning to Hong Kong, where I am from originally, to officially open our Asia headquarters. Along with Jason Suen, founding Managing Partner of Hearsay Social Asia, I met with leaders of local and regional private banks and carriers to discuss their business challenges, growth opportunities, and how Hearsay Social can support them.
After many conversations, one thing was clear: Banks and agencies in Asia must modernize their field organizations in order to survive. Take insurance, for example. The high-churn, part-time agent model is unsustainable. And bancassurance, despite its allure from a margin and seeming turnkey perspective, threatens to disintermediate carriers from the all-important customer relationship.
Firms know they must help their agents professionalize, modernize, and digitize their field organizations to ensure continued growth and relevancy. Knowing that nearly every customer decision journey in Asia today starts with a Google search to validate not only the firm but the specific relationship manager’s education, experience, and qualifications, firms must enable each agent, private banker, and intermediary to be findable and reachable with a branded website, LinkedIn profile, and Facebook business page. 
All of the data points to Asian consumers as the most active and advanced users of social and mobile: More than 90 percent of online adults in Asia are on social media, and 97 percent of active social media users in Asia access their networks on their mobile devices. And yet banks and insurers have minimal digital presence. 
The opportunity to bridge this gap is enormous. This is why we have decided to set up shop in Asia and today, I’m excited to announce we’ve added three marquee customers – Manulife Asia, AXA Hong Kong, and MetLife Hong Kong – as well as the expansion of our Predictive Omnichannel Suite into the region. You can view the press announcement here.
All three firms understand that in addition to investing in corporate digital programs and initiatives, it’s critical to empower agents on digital so they can 1) build more productive, lasting relationships with today’s always-connected, social, mobile consumer, 2) establish a trusted, professional online presence that’s easily findable by Web-savvy prospects, and 3) confidently grow their networks without the risk of infringing company policy or guidelines.
I’m proud that our deep relationships with these global companies are – and will continue to be – a critical driver of our international growth in not just Asia, but Europe, North America, and beyond. We now have more than 130,000 advisors and agents using our products in more than 20 countries. The Hearsay Enterprise Platform, too, is evolving rapidly to provide expanded language support and other features to serve our international customers.
Thanks to the global Hearsay Social team for tirelessly supporting our customers, and to our customers for their continued partnership and belief in us. I look forward to many more milestones together.
Our Asia expansion was covered in the following daily newspapers:

 
亞洲金融服務業的現代化推動
上週,我有幸回到我的家鄉香港,正式開設我們的亞洲總部。我和我們的亞太常務
董事Jason Suen一起會見了一些本地以及地區性私人銀行的領導。我們討論了他們
的在業務中存在的挑戰,發展機遇以及Hearsay Social能帶來怎麼樣的幫助。
通過諸多會談,我們對一點非常明確:亞洲的銀行和經紀想要繼續存活下來必須將
他們所在領域的組織現代化。拿保險行業舉個例子。高流失的兼職經紀模式是不穩
定的。銀行保險儘管看起來簡單且高收益,但實則讓經紀很難掌控重要的客戶關係

公司都知道他們必須幫助自己的經紀在他們的領域內變得更專業化,現代化,電子
化,以保證持續的影響力以及效益增長。我們知道,在這個時代的亞洲,幾乎每個
客戶在做一個生意決定之前都會用Google搜索一下一家公司背景以及經理人的教育
,經驗以及資格,公司必須讓每個經紀,私人銀行家,以及中間人的信息都能在網
上被搜索到,無論是通過LinkedIn Profile(領英個人資料)還是Facebook(臉書
)商務主頁。
所有的數據都顯示亞洲的消費者是最活躍,最先進的移動社交用戶:在亞洲,多于
百分之九十的成年人使用社交媒體,並且有百分之九十七的活躍用戶使用移動設備
登錄他們的社交網絡。但銀行和保險行業現在在電子領域仍觸及甚微。
我們要架起兩者之前的橋樑,機遇無窮。這就是為什麼我們決定在亞洲建立分公司
。今天,我非常興奮地宣佈我們與宏利金融(亞洲),安盛(香港)以及大都會人
壽(香港)成為合作夥伴。我同時也宣佈將我們的預測性全方位渠道軟件推廣到亞
洲。請參考我們的發佈公告。
除了了解到對於電子程序以及主動性投資的重要以外,三家公司都都認為增強經紀
的電子業務能力是重中之重,這樣的好處有:1.與如今社交移動化的客戶建立更多
持續高產的良好關係2.建立專業可查詢的網絡信息3.自如且不會觸及違規風險地建
立并發展他們的網絡。
我很驕傲地認為我們與這些全球性公司的深層關係是我們國際化增長至關重要的驅
動器,不僅僅在亞洲,乃至歐洲,北美以及更遠。這樣的關係也將長久持續。如今
我們有來自20多個國家超過13萬的經紀使用我們的產品。Hearsay企業平台也正在
為國際用戶迅速提供多語言支持以及其他各種功能。
感謝我們Hearsay Social全球組對於我們用戶不畏疲倦的支持,感謝我們用戶對於
我們的信任和合作。我期待我們下一個乃至更多里程碑的到來。
 

Congratulations to JFAM's "20 Rising Stars in Financial Marketing"


Over the past year, the financial services industry has made big strides in how it approaches sales and marketing, reinventing itself in an increasingly social, mobile, and digital world.
That’s why we’re proud to see The Gramercy Institute and JFAM (The Journal of Financial Advertising & Marketing), which specialize in financial services marketing, honoring 20 Rising Stars in Financial Marketing, including some of our customers. From social media directors to CMOs to brand marketers and more, every marketing role has been tasked with adapting to transformations in the digital world.
Thank you to JFAM and the Gramercy Institute for acknowledging the achievements of the best marketers across some of the top insurance and financial services companies in the world. We hope these financial marketing “Rising Stars” will set an example for their peers across the industry.
The Gramercy Institute’s 20 Rising Stars:

  • Seema Alexander, Dir., Transformative Marketing, Retirement, Prudential Financial
  • Berta Aldrich, Head of Channel Marketing Strategy, Vanguard
  • Stefanie Boyk, Acquisition Marketing Manager, Vanguard
  • Abby Cohn, Vice President, Marketing and Advertising, CIT
  • Sueanne Comerford, Social Media Director, MetLife
  • Marty Dauer, Chief Marketing Officer, Duff & Phelps
  • John Davis, Exec. Dir., Corporate Svcs. & Retirement Solutions Marketing & Insights, UBS
  • Meredith Feiner, Associate, Social, Brand Marketing Group, Goldman Sachs
  • Linda Gharib, SVP, Digital Marketing, Head of Cross-Channel Initiatives, Citigroup
  • Kristine Giarrusso, Senior Marketing Manager, Columbia Management
  • Lisa Grossman, Head, Global Investments Mktg & Sales Support, Bank of America Merrill Lynch
  • Ryan Hatfield, VP, Digital Marketing Manager, Chase
  • Michael Kazanjian, Head of Annuity and RPS Marketing, Lincoln Financial
  • Erin Meijer, Social Media Manager, Allianz Global Investors
  • Marc Quintavalle, Social Media Marketing Associate, Putnam Investments
  • Mark Rose, VP Mobile Strategy, Morgan Stanley
  • Kirti Srikant, AVP, Dir. of Brand Marketing & Advertising, OppenheimerFunds
  • Francie Staub, Director of Digital Advertising and eMarketing, TD Ameritrade
  • Michelle Smyth, Director, Social Media, Sun Life Financial
  • Philip Swisher, SVP & Head of Innovation, Brown Brothers Harriman
  • Derek Vest, SVP, Financial Advisor Marketing, Wells Fargo Advisors
  • Lauren Walsh, Group Director, Strategy, Sullivan
  • Kathleen Wrynn, Content Strategist, Deutsche Asset & Wealth Management

Social media bridges sales, marketing, and compliance: Recap from #FTF_SMAC

This post was co-authored by Yasmin Zarabi (Sr. Director of Legal, Hearsay Social) and Stephen Selby (Assistant Vice President, Social Media, LIMRA).

We’re still excited to have met so many curious people and led a session at last week’s Social Media and Compliance in Financial Services (#FTF_SMAC), an event hosted in New York by the Financial Technologies Forum (FTF).

Event attendees included leading financial firms (including New York Life Insurance, MetLife, and Prudential Financial), social media innovators (including LinkedIn, Facebook, and Google), and influential third-party organizations and government (including the SEC and LIMRA).

In short, the conference was brimming with social media thought leaders from the financial services and social media industries.

We were delighted to lead a session, “Overview of Social Media Regulation in the Finance and Insurance Industries,” with two of the industry’s leading practitioners of social sales and marketing: Sueanne Comerford (Social Media Director, MetLife) and Kyle Marie Woods (Marketing Strategist, Thrivent Financial for Lutherans).

Here are a few of our key takeaways:

Social media creates an opportunity to combine marketing and compliance goals.

It’s commonly accepted among marketers that the holy grail is to send the right message to the right person at the right time. If you think about it, that’s not really at odds with the compliance team’s mission. In fact, as it relates to suitability, compliance teams are dedicated to empower marketing to do that safely and efficiently. In today’s highly connected, transparent world, technology that manages, monitors and enables this business process to align compliance and marketing is much more easily attainable.

The best sales relationships do one thing: sell people the right product.

Similar to the point above, it is ultimately the job of a salesperson to find the right product that fits their particular customer’s needs. If you sell the right product to the right people, then you will have happy repeat customers. Adding in the compliance perspective, selling the right thing to the right people should be equivalent to meeting your suitability obligations.

Social media bridges sales, marketing, and compliance. 

Here’s the big conclusion, drawing from both points above: One of the great, unintended consequences of social media is that it brings together formerly siloed areas of an organization, including sales, marketing, and compliance. When these groups work together, business results and productivity get unlocked. Take Thrivent, for example. The Fortune 500 financial firm realized early on that a compliance strategy based on screenshots would never be scalable. By implementing a social platform instead, the company experienced a 75% reduction in its effort to get pre-approved content to the field.

As a result of this implementation, Compliance is happy because they’re doing less work to keep track of everything. Marketing is happy because they’re controlling the message going out to the field. And Sales is happy because they don’t feel hampered or restricted by either Compliance or Marketing. The field can focus on what they do best: reaching customers and closing deals.

All in all, we found FTF’s event to be a huge success, and we look forward to the next!