San Francisco was the perfect backdrop to Hearsay Social’s fourth annual Innovation Summit (#hearsaysummit), celebrating the intersection of financial services, innovation, and technology. Last week, we had the pleasure and honor of hosting over a hundred thought leaders in technology, wealth management, mortgage, insurance, and banking.
The Summit, which took place on Thursday at the Terra Gallery, provided a unique opportunity for a select group of senior executives, heads of sales, marketing, and compliance, and technology leaders to discuss the most important challenges and opportunities facing the financial services industry.
Key themes included the ongoing role of human advisors and agents and the necessity of firms to leverage technology to empower their advisors to keep them at the center of all customer journeys. Presenters focused on the changing business models and client expectations, including their perspectives of the industry, companies, people, products, and trends poised to emerge in 2016 and beyond.
Here are additional highlights, photos, and key takeaways from the day’s event.
Meeting the expectations of both advisors and clients will challenge existing financial services firms
Kicking off the Summit was Shelley O’Connor, co-head of Morgan Stanley Wealth Management (@MorganStanley), who shared how her company’s goals to increase efficiencies in branches, enhance the advisor-client experience, and make it easier for advisors to touch more clients more often will be met digitally.
Today’s shifting client expectations will require advisors to cut through the noise and deliver insights that go well beyond a company’s product offering, she said during Thursday’s opening keynote. I’ve shared this sentiment before and believe the key to connecting with today’s omnichannel client is to engage them in the ways they want to use, not the ways we find convenient.
Naureen Hassan, chief digital officer at Morgan Stanley Wealth Management, outlined four key areas that the company will focus on to reach its digital goals; namely, marketing, digitized processes, next-gen products, and client experience. The company uses data and technology to better understand, acquire, retain, and serve their clients during their whole life cycle.
My co-founder and Hearsay Social CEO Clara Shih (@clarashih) spoke about today’s omnichannel advisor and client, and what firms must do to own the digital last mile. For example, in order for advisors to move up the value chain over the next several years, firms will need to leverage next-gen technology tools that enable advisors to deliver the right content, to the right person, at the right time.
This underscores the importance of marketing to millennials and devising effective solutions that help reach, engage, and convert this highly influential market.
Understanding your customer is crucial to building an ecosystem that lasts
Kenneth Lin (@kennethlin), CEO and founder of Credit Karma, a financial technology startup that continues to challenge financial industry incumbents such as banks and payment networks, spoke during a fireside chat with Noah Wintroub (@nwintroub), global head of internet and digital media at JPMorgan, and challenged everyone to think of their data and what it can do to help companies truly understand their customers.
The pair spoke about how communicating with customers via social and mobile is a huge part of that, as is optimizing your platforms to get a good grasp of what’s important to your consumer base. In Credit Karma’s case, they’ve built a billion-dollar business disrupting the credit score industry by giving people free access to their scores and helping to match consumers with mortgages, auto loans, and more.
In a fireside chat with The Wall Street Journal tech reporter Deepa Seetharaman (@dseetharaman), Braintree COO Amit Jhawar (@Braintree) discussed the next generation of online payments, and how his company democratizes payments, allowing easy access to loans for the masses. His advice? Companies will need to retool their business models to meet consumers’ growing demand for convenience and security.
The advice industry must adapt to changing client demographics
Chip Roame (@chiproame), managing partner at Tiburon Strategic Advisors, led an incredible discussion and shared some staggering statistics, noting that consumer wealth is approximately $60 trillion and expected liquidation is $30 trillion.
In a robo-advice start-up versus traditional brokerage “debate,” panelists Michael Sha, CEO and founder of SigFig (@sigfiginsights), Bo Lu (@bolu), CEO and founder of FutureAdvisor, and Naureen of Morgan Stanley cleared up some misconceptions that often surround robo-advice options. All parties agreed that the future of wealth management will include a combination of traditional and online advice offerings to meet the needs of a diverse and ever-changing client base. Bo challenged us to think of our own jobs – how many of us utilize software to provide products and services. Advisors and agents have been somewhat under-armed, and firms must do a better job at ensuring advisors are armed.
We were also thrilled to have as a guest Debbie Sterling (@debbieblox), CEO and founder of GoldieBlox, a toy company out to inspire the next generation of female engineers. During a fireside chat with The WSJ’s Deepa, Debbie shared why and how she has made it her mission in life to tackle the gender gap in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) fields. Watch this video for an inside look at how the company has introduced engineering concepts to girls through storytelling and toy building.
Advisors and wealth managers aren’t making the most of technology
Jon Sakoda (@jonsakoda), general partner at New Enterprise Associates (a Hearsay Social investor), discussed the big tech challenges that lie ahead. He says we’re experiencing the “unbundling of financial services” and admonished that “disruption is a leap of faith.”
The overarching takeaways from all the speakers? Advisors need every advantage to navigate uncertain change, including digital technologies that free their time to focus on what they do best – helping coach clients through tough life decisions.
Thank you to everyone who came to see us, and 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!
View slides from the presenters at SlideShare, and check out the Summit videos on YouTube.