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The Age of the Trusted, Omnichannel Advisor: Insights from Social Business Innovation Summit 2015

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 (@danpresspoke 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.

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Kicking off Social Business Innovation Summit 2015.

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Tash Elwyn of Raymond James and Associates.

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Knut Olson of Thrivent Financial.

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Dan Preston of Metromile.

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Dave Girouard of Upstart.

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Elad Gil of Color Genomics.

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Celebrating the Intersection of Technology and Financial Services At Social Business Innovation Summit 2015

Summit-Blog-GraphicOn 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.
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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.
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Social Business Innovation Summit 2014: Bringing Financial Services and Silicon Valley leaders together

UPDATE: See our recap of the Summit here.

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Next week, Hearsay Social is proud to be hosting its second annual Social Business Innovation Summit in San Francisco, bringing together executives and thought leaders from across the financial services and technology industries. CEOs, heads of sales and distribution, CMOs, compliance officers, and more will be traveling from across the U.S. and Europe to join us for the Summit.
Kicking off the Summit on Thursday, May 8th, Hearsay Social CEO Clara Shih (@ClaraShih) will share her perspective on how the financial services industry can embrace innovation, as well as the role that social media, mobile, and big data play in transforming the client experience. Every sector today, from hospitality to retail, is being disrupted by new digital technologies, but we truly believe that the relationship-based business of financial services is best poised to take advantage of these innovations.
SBIS_HeadshotsWe’re not the only ones who think so. In two special fireside chats, we’ll hear executives Eileen McDonnell (Chairman, President and CEO of Penn Mutual) and John Taft (CEO of RBC Wealth Management — US) share their views on the state of the financial services industry, their vision on how technology complements the business, and how to build a culture of innovation.
We’re also honored to be welcoming Silicon Valley stalwarts — including Joe Fernandez (CEO and founder of Klout, @JoeFernandez), Ralf VonSosen (Head of Marketing for Sales Solutions at LinkedIn, @rvonsosen), and Bryan Schreier (General Partner at Sequoia Capital, @schreier) — who will be discussing social influence, the future of social networks, and what to expect overall from technology in the coming decade.
In addition to several other leading Silicon Valley entrepreneurs–Bill Ready (CEO and founder, Braintree, @williamready), Aaron Vermut (CEO, Prosper, @vermooti), Bo Lu (CEO and founder, FutureAdvisor, @bolu)–and financial advisors, we are thrilled at the caliber of speakers and attendees that will be joining us to share their views on entrepreneurship, technology trends in financial services, and how to succeed in the digital era.
For those of you unable to make it, be sure to follow the conversation on Twitter at #SBIS14 for live coverage and check our blog for key takeaways from this year’s Social Business Innovation Summit.
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