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On 26th of October 2017, the “Trading CEE: Equities and Derivatives” conference took place in Warsaw. This is one of the most important financial industry related events in Central and Eastern Europe. The co-organizers of the event were the Warsaw Stock Exchange, the Global Investor Group and the National Depository for Securities. Michał Różański, CEO of Empirica took part in a panel devoted to the future of the fintech industry.
The Trading CEE was held in Warsaw’s Hilton hotel, where several hundred capital markets experts had the opportunity to talk about such important issues as the Mifid II regulation, or the scale of the fintech revolution in Poland and internationally.
They also discussed the decision made recently by FTSE Russell (the supplier of indices belonging to the London Stock Exchange group) to change the status of Poland from that of an Emerging Market into that of a Developed Market and considered the significance of this shift for the national economy.
Among many of the excellent speakers, we had the change to listen to Marek Dietl, President of the Warsaw Stock Exchange and Toby Webb, Head of EMEA Information Services FTSE Russell. The inaugural panel on the opportunities and threats facing investment markets in our region gathered such experts as Ales Ipavec, head of the stock exchange in Ljubljana, Richard Vegh from the Budapest Stock Exchange, Ivan Takev, head of the Bulgarian Stock Exchange and Head of International Sales of the Moscow Stock Exchange Tom O ‘ Brien.
Fintech Innovation Forum
The panel regarding the fintech industry was very popular among visitors, especially the topic of the development of tools based on artificial intelligence and their impact on investment markets in Poland. It was organized in such a way as to allow for 4 of the most promising Central & Eastern European companies in the modern financial technologies industry to present what they offer. One of the main participants of this part of the Trading CEE conference was Michał Różański, CEO and founder of Empirica, the fintech software house.
During his speech, he focused mainly on the presentation of innovations in the field of robo-advisors, which are already revolutionizing the global investment market.
– The robo-advisor platform is not only the future, but the present of wealth and asset management. Our Empirica Robo Advisor service stands out in the international market above all through its very high level of support for advisors in their work with the service’s users. All this is thanks to solutions in the field of AI analytics, which allows them to receive a full picture of the actions taken in the user profile and to quickly respond if these actions threaten the assets, which in the end also reduces the risk of losing the customer. Another important element of our consulting service is the fact that we have built it based on the strong foundations of our platform for Algo Trading. Thanks to it, our robo-solution has fully automated access to the data stream coming from the most important financial institutions at every stage of the Empirica Robo Advisor process. – explains Michał Różański.
New generation of users
Platforms from the robo-advisor category not only democratize investment opportunities, but also reduce the price of consultancy services. In an era of technological revolution, a millennial generation is slowly entering the capital market- people accustomed to continuous presence in the online world. Advisory platforms will enable it for them. Friendly user interfaces, notifications that they know from social media and an automated transaction system based on a personalized portfolio are already present in the fintech area. However, in order for these tools to function in such a complicated environment as the financial market, powerful computational engines based on artificial intelligence (AI) must be behind them. Empirica helps financial companies enter this world by providing an advisory platform that automates the asset management processes and is based on innovative solutions in the field of data processing. – adds the CEO of Empirica.
Empirica is a Wrocław-based company that offers services such as an Algorithmic Trade Platform implemented with successes on the Warsaw Stock Exchange, solutions from the category of fully automated advisors (robo-advisory platforms) and software built on the basis of blockchain technology.
Empirica proudly presented the technology for Robo-Advisors; How to build great software behind your Fintech service at Cloud Expo 2017 in Manhattan, New York.
The event was from 6th to 8th of June 2017 at Javits Center in New York City, where panels were hosting star speakers from Silicon Valley to Wall Street. The event was focused on Fintech, Cloud Computing, Artificial Intelligence, Cognitive Computing and other hot technology fields and topics. There was a tremendous turn out to Cloud Expo 2017. The event was honored to host speakers and audiences from around the world. Global leaders in technology such as Amazon Web Services, IBM cloud, DEll EMC and financial industry giants like Accenture and Deloitte, together with successful companies and brands around the world , brought the latest trends of technology in one place.
Mr Michal Rozanski, Empirica CEO and board member of EARP Integration used his 35 minutes on stage, introducing new technologies in Robo-Advisory arena. Mr Rozanski, show cased Empirica’s newly built Robo-Advisory platform to express the importance of fine technology in automated wealth management solutions. The speech carried on with Mr Rozanski, explaining the maturity Empirica gained facing challenges during development of a modern Robo-Advisory platform from scratch. The session was concluded with Mr Rozanski give away on informing the essential factors of developing a software behind a Fintech service, and answering the ‘HOW’ for those intending to build such applications.
Moreover, visitors and audiences could meet Empirica representatives at their dedicated booth at Cloud Expo, where they could ask and discuss deeper and in details about the technology behind Fintech services as well as the technology behind Robo-Advisory.
According to Accenture report, “The Global Distribution and Marketing; Consumer Research”, more consumers would welcome Robo-Advice services to manage their banking, insurance and retirement. The survey that included nearly 33,000 consumers in 18 countries and regions revealed that the majority of the consumers are willing to accept exclusive “robo-generated” advice for certain banking, investment and insurance products.
71 percent of respondents to this survey are open to get robo-advice to assist them in the bank account selection. Approximately 78 percent of the consumers surveyed would allow Robo-Advisors to give them investment advices. Finally, nearly 68 percent of the respondents would authorize their retirement planning to be led by Robo-Advisors.
The statistics behind this report expose an astonishing range of recognition and acceptance of these automated advice tools among people.
Plausibly Millennials are the main reason for this vast acceptance, the group that is about to reach their prime spending years. The economy is in their hands and the market will shape around their interests. They are digitally aware and prefer to perform their transactions online; commonly they do trust machines. This digital native generation might not currently have the highest assets among all generations, but the increment rate of their assets is predictably the highest. Though Millennials are not the only fans, surveys show a wider range of acceptance among retirees and general investment believers as well.
Pragmatically speaking, this range of acceptance promises more banks and financial firms to open their doors and to use Robo-Advice tools.
Genuinely the current (traditional) approaches to some of these operations (banking, insurance, et cetera) are not only costly but also rusty. Transparency, unbiasedness, time, are only some of the undeniable advantages of Robo-Advisors over the traditional style. This has fueled many firms already to incorporate this technology in their systems.
Although the common goal for those firms which focus on Robo-Advisors is ‘augmentation’, innovation remains a key separator.
Robo-Advisors introduce new features to continuously fulfill their clients’ needs and to stay ahead of their competitors, for instance in January 2017 Wealthfront reintroduced “Selling Plan”. Selling Plan is an improved and automated process of selling concentrated stocks. It intends to diversify the portfolio more efficiently. Interestingly, the service which usually is available for executive accounts, was made accessible for all users with commission free regime. Moreover, Selling Plan prioritizes selling shares with lower tax rates.
Furthermore in this competition, we have witnessed more use of AI in Robo-Advisors.
Hedgeable’s “tax samurai” called Katana, an AI based tax management service designed for high net worth investors. This smart tax management feature will not execute any selling, unless it is tax efficient. Moreover Katana makes intelligence decision weighting tax efficiency with downside protection. Additionally Katana will automatically harvest losses for optimal tax alpha. Additionally this AI driven tool will provide tax-smart aggregation and tax friendly trading.
In summary one of the largest generation in the history is approaching its investing time; they understand, and they do welcome automation. What is specific to this group is its appreciations of fast and impactful tools, the features that Robo-Advisors use as their slogan. On the other hand there are new technologies introduced by Robo-Advisors and FinTech firms, especially more involvement of AI in order to smarten and shorten procedures. Additionally Robo-Advisors are more and more affordable.
These reasons together convince us of there will be upcoming increase of transformation to this technologies as well as more demand from the investors.
Empirica took part in the biggest FinTech Event in Europe with almost 2500 attendees from 44 countries and 145 exhibitors & partners, taking place in London this December (6th & 7th). FinTech Connect Live combined a large scale expo, with 180 experts speaking in 120 dedicated conferences focusing on different FinTech subsectors, like WealthTech, InsurTech or PayTech with strategic discussion based sessions, keynote presentations, product demos and interactive workshops.
Empirica proudly presented own white label solutions like an intelligent Robo-Advisory Platform, Algorithmic Trading Engine and FinTech Software Framework as well as development services among both tech giants and brand new start ups with sophisticated niche product offerings. Anyone interested in speaking with Empirica about building the bespoke FinTech solution behind own service could meet our team at the stand. We shared experiences gained for over 6 years of developing solutions for financial institutions and FinTech companies, including robo-advisors. We ran many interesting conversations about new market trends and needs, specially in wealth management space. Our Robo-Advisory Platform received huge attention from asset managers and investment companies participating in the event.
Empirica presented also company showcase demo at the showcase theater. While presenting our experiences, CEO of Empirica illustrated the most important issues of building tailored FinTech software.
During the conference there were many interesting presentations and panel discussions about future trends of robo advice and advancements in the fields of InvesTech and WealthTech and other FinTech sessions like: the future of banking, blockchain rising, opportunities and risks in the data economy in FinTech, crowdfunding & P2P lending.
Thank you to all the participants who visited us at our stand or watched our showcase demo presentation!
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The disruptive changes introduced by FinTech companies bring threats but also show where the opportunities can be found. With the advent of automated wealth management solutions, the traditional wealth management industry is facing perhaps its most disruptive threat since low-cost online stock trading in the mid 1990s.
Most wealth management companies now have a prime opportunity to apply robo-advisory technology to respond on time to the growing expectations of existing and future investors (the Millennials) and to stay more cost-efficient and profitable even in lower fees environment.
Main reasons to implement robo-advisory platform:
- To broaden the market for clients whose assets are below the minimum requirement now by traditional advising. Robo-advisors can offer the investors regular access to financial tools that have been reserved for high net worth investors. Automated advisory platforms allow the advisory firms to scale up operations and serve more clients of every size and type.
- To stay profitable in the lower fees environment. Automated advisory platforms allow advisory firms to remain profitable and be significantly more cost-efficient in their advice delivery and execution even if fees decline. Low fees are an undeniable advantage in the eye of the customer. Many investors are ready to opt out of human advisors in exchange for lower costs and access to advanced services offered only for wealthier customers so far.
- To work with Millennial Investors – a largely untapped source of assets. Digital advice attracts millennial generations of customers in a natural way. Millennials have two major characteristics: they are both accustomed to the online life, and usually do not have sufficient knowledge about investing. According to Accenture, almost 40% of Millennials are interested in robo-advice and their predisposition is to “do-it-yourself-through-an-app”.
- To address growing expectations on the level of the service. Providing the investors with real time information on their assets in an engaging way saves time and is more convenient to them.
- To attract investors by providing user portfolios aligned with their life goals instead of products of the advisor. Robo-advisory platforms give the visualization of balance projection and show the investor dependencies between the answers from the on-boarding questionnaire, risk profile, proposed investment strategy and long term financial goals.
- To benefit as a manager from behavioural analysis of customer activities in the system to help them get a better deal with emotional aspects of investing.
- To aim for transparency, especially when presenting the robo-advisor’s pricing, product and process information.
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Robo-Advice is not about tomorrow anymore. It’s about today.
A robo-advisor is an online wealth management service that provides automated, algorithm-based portfolio management advice without the use of human financial planners. Robo-advisors are typically low-cost, have low account minimums, and attract younger investors who are more comfortable doing things online. The idea made sense to many, and robo-advisors quickly gained market traction. Full-service, high-value-added, person-to-person activity isn’t for everybody. There are generations of tomorrow’s investors coming through today, who are more attracted to something less person-to-person and more technologically enabled.
The rapid rise of Robo-Advisors
Robo-Advice is changing the landscape of global wealth management. Historically, investment management was the purview of the wealthy. With robo-advisors flooding the investment markets, offering low-fee, diversified professional management, the investing landscape is evolving.
The number of robo-advisors is growing rapidly. New consumer brands are emerging in the digital wealth management industry such as Betterment, Wealthfront and Personal Capital.
In its report, BI Intelligence forecasts that robo-advisors will manage around $8 trillion of total global assets under management (AUM) by 2020.
TOP trends and challenges in wealth management for the next years
- Robo-advisors disrupt the wealth management industry. In the near future, advisors that will wait for the transition to robo-advisor will lose out. Investors will migrate towards those lower-fee providers with technology platforms.
- We observe the strong influence of technology within the entire investing environment. Many investors trust technology and expect 24/7 access and reporting.
- The competition increases rapidly. New consumer brands of pure robo-advisors appear in the digital wealth management industry, while traditional financial advisors ‘go robo’ as well.
- New regulations are directly impacting the financial advisory industry and driving companies to offer robo services as a way to meet the requirements.
- Investors increase pressure to lower fees. Robo-Advisors serve a wider range of customers and allow to stay profitable in lower fees environment.
- Artificial Intelligence enters the robo-advisory industry and could be the strongest competitive advantage. Robo-Advisors soon will offer more diversified investment products.
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- advantages of robo – real time information on how my portfolio is doing and what I should do next
- what drives money to the fund – absolute performance? No Marketing and User Experience
- what robo changes is putting users portfolios in the center that are allingned with goals of the customer, it’s not about products anymore
- many people leave asset managers not beacouse of poor performance but because of poor service
- greatest contributor to alpha is cost reduciton
- there are currently over 50 robo advisors in Europe, best have 100mio AUM
- there are 150 robo advisors in the world
- 80% of actively managed funds do not beat the benchmark, they should not be in the market
Interestingly, no one was brave enough to give sure anwser how digital asset management would like in 2025. No suprise as things are happening so fast.
As the robo-advice industry grows it is attracting the attention of traditional asset management firms. These companies want to offer what their clients need — easy money management — while at the exact same time attract more funds to manage. Today they may be losing assets to the startup robo-advisor firms. Last year, Fidelity Investments, Charles Schwab Corp. and The Vanguard Group have either created their own digital services unit or partnered with an existing robo business. We are sure the other large firms will join the trend.
After the great success of robo advisors launched by Ameritrade, Vanguard or Charles Schwab the main question for traditional financial advisors is not ‘if to invest’ in new robo-technology but ‘how to bridge the gap’.
Traditional financial advisors decide on a hybrid model
Following in the footsteps of the stand-alone digital robo-advisor is a hybrid model, combining both automated and traditional human services. The model offers a live company-employed financial advisor in combination with online automated services in areas such as asset allocation and rebalancing.
Hybrid Robos = Combining Human and Automated Wealth Advice
The report by My Private Banking Research projects a robust future for the hybrid model of the robo-advisor. The research implies that the hybrid models will grow to $3.7 trillion assets world-wide by 2020 and $16.3 trillion by 2025, 10% of all investable worldwide assets.
The main expectation for robo-advisors is to utilize more human-like interfaces and features, and for human advisors to adopt more robo-advisor-like features.
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