Hearsay Social CEO and founder Clara Shih (@ClaraShih) will join Adam Nash (@AdamNash), president/CEO of Wealthfront; Sallie Krawcheck (@SallieKrawcheck), CEO/co-founder of Ellevest; and Aydin Senkut (@ASenkut), founder/managing director of Felicis Ventures, for a lively discussion on the impact of artificial intelligence at 2016 Fortune Brainstorm Tech (@BrainstormTech) this week in Aspen, Colo.
Other scheduled conference speakers include Robert Iger, chairman/CEO of The Walt Disney Company, Chuck Robbins, CEO of Cisco, and Reshma Saujani, CEO of Girls Who Code.
Clara’s panel, titled “Artificial Intelligence: Can a Machine Make You Millions?” and moderated by Fortune assistant managing editor Adam Lashinsky (@AdamLashinsky), will address the current and future influence of automation on the workforce. Are machines better than humans when it comes to work? Why not both? Cognitive systems are bringing new levels of automation and productivity to a broad range of fields, from financial services to manufacturing. The panelists will discuss how these emerging technologies will change how consumers buy, businesses operate and investors fund companies.
As witnesses to how technology and big data are changing workplace fundamentals at lightning speed, the topic of automation and robots versus (or co-existing with) humans is a hot one, with sweeping cultural and social implications for both the current and future generations. Most recently, global consulting firm McKinsey & Company published initial conclusions from research on the degree to which automation will replace work activities performed by humans across a multitude of industries. Check out the full article from McKinsey, “Where machines could replace humans – and where they can’t (yet),” and a summary published in Fortune.
Follow the Brainstorm Tech feed for live coverage of the event and #fortunetech on Twitter! Related Posts:
As part of my role as founder and CEO of Hearsay Social, I have the pleasure of traveling all over the world to meet with prominent leaders in the industry, learn what’s keeping them up at night, and discuss how Hearsay Social can help them succeed amidst an always-changing business and regulatory landscape. I recently attended BlackRock‘s Leader to Leader event and participated in a panel titled “The Evolving Investor Experience” moderated by Salim Ramji, head of U.S. Wealth Advisory at BlackRock. It was an honor to speak alongside John Thiel, Head of Merrill Lynch Wealth Management; Mark Tibergien, CEO of Pershing Advisor Solutions; and Bill Harris, CEO and founder of Personal Capital.
We had an insightful dialogue on the future of wealth and asset management and, over the course of the event, it was clear from the speakers and the 100-plus wealth management leaders in attendance that four key issues were – and continue to be – top of mind for the industry: 1. Productivity pressure Roboadvisors and, in the U.S., the imminent Department of Labor ruling – in which it’s expected to call for greater transparency into how advisors are being paid in fees and product commissions, including adopting a uniform fiduciary standard – are putting the pressure on advisors to deliver more value to clients.
Advisors can only do this by embracing technologies that free their time to focus on the human, emotional aspects of helping coach clients through tough life decisions. Two of the most time-consuming aspects are asset allocation and business development. Overall, the consensus from the C-suite is that there are big opportunities for advisors to leverage automation and productivity tools to help them recapture some of that time. 2. Democratizing advisor access Data shows millennial clients want both access to do-it-yourself online account management tools and access to a human advisor. Where it wasn’t cost-effective for advisors to serve long-tail clients before, technology has made serving this market much more efficient. Roboadvisors are fine in a bull market, but data already is showing roboadvice clients pulling their money out at the wrong time. This is especially important since most Americans aren’t saving for retirement, or don’t know how, and – based on the math – there’s no way Social Security will be able to support millennials when they retire. 3. Regulatory tsunami There are a growing number of regulators and regulations (SEC, FINRA, Department of Labor, CFPB, IRS, CFTC, OCC, state regulators) that are competing with one another to see who can issue the most laws and establish greater jurisdiction over the industry. This instability is a real concern for small and big firms alike who must stay ahead of and navigate more and more regulations. 4. Demographic misalignment The median advisor is in his mid-50s and male, but the overall client demographic is shifting increasingly toward females and millennials. Industry executives concur that there’s a huge need for tools and technology to reach, recruit and retain a more diverse advisor force in order to stay relevant in the digital age.
While the challenges are very real, there’s also an incredible sense of enthusiasm and optimism. Every firm I’ve talked to has made clear that their focus is on staying relevant to clients, meeting the preferences and expectations of the increasingly omnichannel consumer, and improving productivity. The entire team at Hearsay Social looks forward to delivering the innovation that will ensure the growth and success of our customers, partners and the entire industry. Related Posts:
The rise of new technologies, as well as the evolving needs and expectations of high net worth individuals (HNWIs) – especially those under the age of 45 – has given much for wealth managers to ponder and, more importantly,actupon over the next several decades. According to this year’s World Wealth Report released by Capgemini and RBC Wealth Management,wealth managers must adapt to meet the challenges of an evolving landscape or risk lower client satisfaction levels.
New digital entrants such as “robo-advisors” and direct channel platforms will impact the wealth manager’s role in the coming years. The report highlights the need for delivering a differentiated value proposition, and offers things wealth managers must do to stay ahead. And while some forward-thinking financial services firm executives realize the importance automated services will play in asset management, there are some wealth managers who are skeptical. The below figure highlights select quotes from wealth managers and firms regarding automated advisory services:
Given that two-thirds of HNWIs are likely to leave firms that do not allow them to transact digitally, as last year’s World Wealth Report pointed out, it is critical for wealth managers to embrace digital technology. This will require them to adapt their models and reevaluate their value proposition, including addressing the needs of a considerable number of new clients that hail from the millennial generation.
Below are five ways wealth managers can meet the needs and concerns of today’s digitally-enabled clients: 1) Deliver differentiated value to address the needs of a diverse client base
Wealth managers must understand how to best engage with complete households – from children and spouses to parents and grandparents – and they must do so by effectively using technology to stand out from the crowd. According to the report, providing a differentiated value proposition, including the “adoption of next-generation tools, such as social networks and digital aids, to facilitate communication” will be important. 2) Engage clients and prospects across multiple channels
The report highlights how traditional modes of communication between HNWIs and firms have evolved from face-to-face interactions to omnichannel experiences. We’ve spoken on the need for a consistent, personalized multi-channel presence before and believe seamless, consistent customer experiences that drive personalized communications across channels, such as digital, is imperative in a world of automated consumerism. 3) Understand the needs and approaches of younger HNWIs
Wealth managers must get serious about addressing the needs of millennials, which represent a large group of HNWIs under the age of 40 who will significantly drive demand in the digital age (view video below). In the U.S. alone, an estimated $59 trillion is expected to change hands from wealthy baby boomers to heirs, and nearly 70 percent of HNWIs under the age of 45 will conduct most or all of their wealth management functions through digital channels. This will require a strong digital presence to attract and retain younger HNWIs. 4) Invest in technology-enabled investment services from third-party firms to support efficient and cost effective services
In addressing client needs, wealth managers can outsource competencies and efficiencies to third-parties that are “highly complementary” to existing business models, while wealth managers continue to focus on relationship and trust building.
Hearsay Social is named in the report as one such company that wealth managers can leverage: “One example of a third-party firm is Hearsay Social, based in Silicon Valley. Its Predictive Social Suite technology enables wealth managers to customize content and engage clients, particularly younger clients below 35 years of age, through its social media dashboard and mobile-first websites. This can further help wealth managers negate the threat of disruptive players in the industry.” 5) Embrace digital technologies to enhance the client-wealth manager relationship
According to the report, successful wealth managers will leverage social, mobile, and digital technologies to enhance overall service delivery and client experiences for a variety of functions, including prospecting, risk management, and wealth planning. And at the end of the day, as George Lewis, group head at RBC Wealth Management & RBC Insurance, points out: “The most successful firms will be the ones that reimagine the value they bring to their clients to be more competitive. As firms navigate the changing market dynamics, it’s important that they keep an open dialogue with wealth managers, while developing the tools, guidance and resources to support their success.”
The World Wealth Report from Capgemini is the industry-leading benchmark for tracking HNWIs, their wealth, and the global and economic conditions that drive change in the wealth management industry. View the infographic and download the full report from their interactive website.
Below is a video highlighting the importance of engaging with younger HNWIs.
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 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. Related Resources:
On Wednesday, June 3, Hearsay Social will bring together key thought leaders in financial services and Silicon Valley technology for its third annual Social Business Innovation Summit (#SBIS15).
Following the huge success of last year’s Social Business Innovation Summit (watch the video), Hearsay Social has once again developed an exciting program that will drive conversation and action around the digital transformation that is taking place within the financial services industry. Executives and thought leaders representing multiple functions, including the C-suite, sales, marketing and compliance, from some of the world’s top financial services firms will convene in downtown San Francisco to connect with CEOs of disruptive technology companies, and learn how they are innovating and redefining established markets.
The Summit will include a combination of TED-style keynotes, fireside chats and many opportunities for attendees to network and share ideas with their peers from around the world.
Clara Shih (@clarashih), CEO and founder of Hearsay Social, will begin the dialogue by sharing her perspectives on why today’s advisor risk becoming obsolete. She’ll discuss why and how advisors and their financial services leaders must quickly adapt to best reach and serve clients.
Attendees also will hear from Dan Preston (@danpres), CEO of Metromile, a technology company that has completely changed the relationship between consumers and car insurance, as well as Dave Girouard (@davegirouard), CEO and founder of Upstart, the leader in marketplace lending that is fulfilling a need overlooked by traditional banks. Elad Gil (@eladgil), CEO and founder of Color Genomics, will share his insights on technology’s impact on human lifespans and, in turn, the wealth management and insurance industries.
From within the industry, Summit attendees will hear from Tash Elwyn (@tashelwynRJ), president of Raymond James & Associates, about the transformative role that social media and technology plays in wealth management. Knut Olson (@knutolson), senior vice president of mission advancement at Thrivent Financial, will discuss what Thrivent is doing to innovate and modernize its advisor force in order to stay connected with clients to grow business and deepen relationships.
Be sure to follow #SBIS15 and @hearsaysocial on June 3 for live Summit coverage and to follow the conversation, and check back for a round-up of key learnings and takeaways. Related Posts:
It has been over seven years since the financial crisis, yet investors are still less confident in the financial services industry then they were before the meltdown. A recent article in Investment News entitled Investor Trust. We Can Rebuilt It. helps shed light on the question whether investor trust can be rebuilt.
In the article, Victor Gaxiola, a former advisor and Hearsay Social customer advocacy manager, says: Yes, investor trust can be rebuilt but it essentially boils down to a blending of automated technology offerings and personal touch when offering investment advice.
It’s still all about the relationship
Much of what we’ve stated before, advisors do not have to be displaced by new automated investment technologies in order to get ahead. In the article, Gaxiola highlights that advisors can leverage new technologies and offer personalized services that can only be gleaned from one-to-one relationships with human advisors.
The article also states that automated investment services can take a lot of guesswork out of investing. True, “robo-advice” services offered by companies such as Betterment and Wealthfront can provide a wealth of information for many investors who require basic investing services. But, he says, “even the best predictive models can’t know exactly when someone’s life changes, correctly assess the full impact of that change and effectively adjust one’s investment strategy based on that change.”
After all, as Gaxiola points out, “you can’t have trust without an emotional bond or the faith that someone or something knows you well enough to understand the difference between true priorities and gut reaction.” Social media is key
How can advisors find out what’s happenings in their clients’ lives? Simple: go to where clients are freely sharing detailed information about themselves online (i.e. on sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.)
Social media is not only useful to learn about existing clients’ activities (such as births, marriages, moves) it can also help generate new leads.The article cites a Putnam study that reported 66% of individual advisors who use social media for business found new clients through social interaction. Couple technology with a professional
So, how can investor trust be rebuilt? Gaxiola says advisors can provide “timely, value-added, personalized services” to clients in new ways by not only continuing to use social media to connect and engage with their clients, but also leveraging automated technologies in new ways to re-establish trust in their clients and within the market as a whole.”
Automation has come a long way and will continue to grow, but advisors can rebuild trust by offering the very thing that automation simply can’t replicate – and that’s the personal touch.
Read the full article here. Related posts:
In episode 23, we discuss a recent op-ed piece by Clara Shih (@ClaraShih) in FA Magazine–“Will Financial Advisors Become Obsolete?”–analyzing how the ongoing threat of robo-advisors has prompted concerns over the importance of the advisor-investor relationship and how the industry must adapt to the changing landscape of the financial services industry to deliver quality and personalized service.
Join the conversation with @VictorGaxiola and @ronnykerr on Twitter using hashtag #HSonAir.
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The rise of automated investment services—“robo-advice” firms such as Betterment, FutureAdvisor and Wealthfront—has many advisors wondering if they will still have a client base in a decade. In the last two years alone, these firms have collectively raised over $82 million in venture capital and now reportedly have over $2 billion under management, primarily from millennial clients.
Although their recent exponential growth is impressive, and the threat they pose is real, they still represent a very small percentage of the overall wealth managed by traditional firms. That said, there has been long-standing fear and uncertainty in the financial industry about direct channels wiping out advisors. These fears are not limited to financial advice. The Second Machine Age, a powerful new book from MIT professors Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee, suggests that big data and automation are threatening jobs, not only in manufacturing, clerical and retail but also in professions such as law, education, medicine and, yes, financial services. Read the rest of this post by Hearsay Social CEO Clara Shih at FA Magazine.