Last week, we hosted our third Social Business Innovation Summit (#SBIS15) here in our hometown of Silicon Valley. It was an honor and delight to bring together more than 100 top insurance and wealth management executives, and hear from seven impressive fellow Silicon Valley tech startups. Based on feedback we’ve heard thus far, it sounds like we achieved our collective goal of getting inspired, sharing best practices and making connections that I’m certain will shape the future of the financial services industry.
To kick off the day, I had the pleasure of sitting down with Tash Elwyn (@tashelwynRJ), president of Raymond James and Associates, for a fireside chat. We had a lively conversation on how wealth management firms can stay relevant in a digital world. Among many other insights, Tash expressed the importance of social media and the need to evangelize it from both the C-suite and the field.
I also hosted a fireside chat with Knut Olson (@knutolson), chief operating officer at Thrivent Financial, who shared how Thrivent has built the technological capabilities for its advisors to not only more efficiently manage one-on-one relationships with clients, but deepen them using social media and other digital avenues.
Both conversations with Tash and Knut reinforced why the industry needs to embrace the dawn of what I call the trusted advisor – an advisor who takes advantage of predictive, big data analytics and machine learning, all while leveraging what can’t be replaced by an algorithm: the emotional, personal connection an advisor has to a client or prospect. Those who turn a blind eye toward technology, automation and consumers’ increasingly digital preferences – the obsolete advisor – will be quickly left behind.
Representing the Silicon Valley view of the industry, Metromile CEO Dan Preston (@danpres) spoke about how his pay-per-mile car insurance company is turning the traditional way of pricing and purchasing car insurance on its head. What I found interesting is that, as insurance carriers refine risk modeling using predictive analytics, how much we must pay for insurance will have a much greater impact on essential decisions such as where we live, work and play.
Dave Girouard (@davegirouard), CEO of Upstart, a marketplace lending startup, gave attendees a stark message: People who have no business being in your industry will disrupt it. Will you embrace it or be consumed by it? This is a question I’ve shared many times in my own presentations and authored articles. The former Google executive is an example of a technologist who saw a market that was being overlooked by Silicon Valley – financial lending – and went on to create an efficient, Web-based platform that makes it easy for lenders and borrowers to connect.
Last but definitely not least, we heard from Elad Gil (@eladgil), CEO and co-founder of Color Genomics, a startup with a mission to democratize genetic testing by using software and automation to substantially decrease costs. (Full disclosure: I’m an investor and on their advisory board.) Elad discussed how, as wearable device technology becomes mainstream, the way we view and access health care will be dramatically different; for example, consumers can continuously self-monitor on their own, creating a huge amount of data that can be quickly mined to prevent, diagnose and manage disease. This has enormous implications not only for the wealth management, retirement and life insurance industries, but the human lifespan as a whole.
The big takeaway from all the speakers? Technology is here to stay, and the financial services firms and advisors that will succeed must not only embrace its disruptive impact, but use it to enhance and scale what this industry is built upon: trust-based relationships.
Thanks to the entire Hearsay Social team, our attendees and invited guests, and our partners for the support and for making this the best Summit yet!
For additional insights, watch my keynote from the Social Business Innovation Summit 2015 and view my presentation. Please also download our Executive Report on The Advisor of the Future: How to Stay Relevant in the Digital Age.
- Will Financial Advisors Become Obsolete?
- The Future of Financial Services at the Social Business Innovation Summit 2014
- Big Idea 2015: Social Media Breaks Out of the Silo
- Customer Spotlight: How Raymond James Is Leveraging the Power of Social Media (VIDEO)