Articles related to different topics of fintech software development, software vendors and software industry as a whole.

Who is moving FinTech forward in continental Europe? Thoughts after FinTech Forum on Tour.

By Michal Rozanski, CEO at Empirica.

In the very centre of Canary Wharf, London’s financial district, in a brand new EY building, a very interesting FinTech conference took place – FinTech Forum on Tour. The invitation-only conference targeted the most interesting startups from the investment area (InvestTech) from mainland Europe. The event had representative stakeholders from the entire financial ecosystem. As Efi Pylarinou noted – the regulator, the incumbents, the insurgents, and investors, were all represented.

 

Empirica was invited to present its flagship product – Algorithmic Trading Platform, which is a tool professional investors use for building, testing and executing of algorithmic strategies. However, it was amazing to see what is happening in other areas of the investment industry. There were a lot of interesting presentations of companies transforming the FinTech industry in the areas of asset and wealth management, social trading and analytics.

 

The conference was opened with a keynote speech by Anna Wallace from FCA. Anna talked about the mission of FCA’s Innovation Hub; that is to promote innovation and competition in the financial technology field and to ensure that rules and regulations are respected. Whilst listening to Anna it became clear to me what the real advantage of London holds in the race to become the global FinTech capital – London has Wall Street, Silicon Valley and the Government in one place – and what’s most important, they cooperate trying to push things forward in one direction.

 

FinTech Forum on Tour

 

Robo-advisory

A short look at the companies presenting themselves at the event leads to the conclusion that the hottest sector of FinTech right now is robo-advisory. It’s so hot, that one of the panellists noted it’s getting harder and harder to differentiate for robo-advisory startups. On FinTech on Tour this sector was represented by AdviseOnly from Italy, In2experience,  Niiio, Vaamo and Fincite – all from Germany. Ralf Heim from Fincite presented an interesting toolkit ‘algo as a service’ and white label robo-advisory solutions. Marko Modsching from niiio revealed the motivation of retail customers, that “they do not want to be rich, they do not want to be poor”. Scalable Capital stressed the role of risk management in its offering of robo advisory services.

 

Social analysis/Sentiment/ Big Data

The social or sentiment analysis area, keeps growing and gains traction. Every day there’s more data and more trust in the results of backtesting as that data builds up over the years. The social media space is gaining ground. Investment funds as well as FinTech startups are finding new ways to use sentiment data for trading. And, it’s inseparably related with the analysis of huge amounts of data, so technically the systems behind it? are not trivial.

Anders Bally gave an interesting presentation about how to deal with sentiment data and showed  how his company Sentifi is identifying and ranking financial market influencers in social channels, and what they discuss.

Sentitrade showed its sentiment engine for opinion mining that is using proprietary sentiment indicator and trend reversal signals. Sentitrade is concentrated on German-speaking markets.

 

Asset management

From the area of asset management an interesting pitch was given by Cashboard, offering alternative asset classes and preparing now for a  huge TV marketing campaign . StockPluse showed how to combine information derived from social networks and base investment decisions on the overall sentiment. United Signals allows for social investing by making it possible to trade by copying transactions of chosen trading gurus with a proven track record, all in an automated way. And, finally BondIT, an Israeli company, presented tools for fixed income portfolio construction, optimization and rebalancing with use of algorithms.

 

Bitcoin and Blockchain

An interesting remark was given   by one of the panelist: ‘we have nearly scratched the surface for what blockchain technology can be applied to in financial industry’. Looking at the latest news reports that are saying that big financial institutions are heavily investing in blockchain startups and their own research in this field, there is definitely something in it.

A company from this sector of FinTech – Crypto Facilities, represented by its CEO Timo Schaefer, showed  the functionalities of its bitcoin derivatives trading platform.

 

Other fields

Hervé Bonazzi, CEO of Scaled Risk, presented its technologically advanced Big Data platform for financial institutions for risk management, compliance, analytics and fraud detection. Using Hadoop under the hood and low latency processing. Ambitious as it sounds.

Analysis of financial data for company  valuations, Valutico presented a tool that’s using big data, AI and swarm intelligence. Dorothee Fuhrmann from Prophis Technologies (UK) presented a generic tool for financial institutions to derive value and insights from data, interestingly describing indirect exposures and a hidden transmission mechanism.

Stephen Dubois showed  what Xignite (US) has to offer to financial institutions and other FinTech startups in the area of real-time and historical data that is stored in the cloud and accessible by proprietary API.

 Qumram, in an energetic presentation delivered by Mathias Wegmueller, described technology for recording online sessions on web, mobile and social channels, allowing for the analysis of user behaviour and strengthening internal security policy.

 

Conclusion

London is the place to be for FinTech startups. No city in Europe gives such possibilities. Tax deductions for investors. Direct help from the UK regulator FCA. Great choice of incubators and bootcamps for startups. No place gives such a kick. Maybe Silicon Valley is the best place for finding investor for a startup, maybe the Wall Street is the centre of the financial world, but London is the place that combines both the tech and the finance. It has a real chance of becoming the FinTech capital of the world.

 

About organizators

The people responsible for creating both a great and professional atmosphere at the event were Samarth Shekhar and Michael Mellinghoff. Michael was a great mentor of mine who transformed my pitch from a long and quite boring list of functionalities of our product to something that was bearable for the audience. Michael let me thank you once more for the time and energy you have devoted to Empirica’s pitch!

 

And because the FinTech scene in our region is not well organized yet, I sincerely advise all FinTech startups from Central and Eastern Europe to attend cyclic events of FinTech Forum in Frankfurt organized by Techfluence professionals!

 
Read about our Lessons learned from FinTech software projects.

 

 

FinTech Companies

 

 

 

Empirica has been nominated for Best Fintech Startup at CESA 2015

 

Empirica has been nominated for the Best Fintech Startup in Poland at the CESA festival. CESA (Central European Startup Award) is the biggest no-pitch, no-conference start-up festival in the Central-Eastern European region. The festival brings together nearly 4.000 start-ups from 10 countries and it will be held in Vienna this year.

We are in good company, as other companies nominated in FinTech category are:

  • Zencard
  • Billon
  • WealthArc
  • our friends from FriendlyScore

The Central European Startup Awards is a series of events in the CEE countries, that aims to recognize and celebrate the entrepreneurial spirit and startup ecosystems of the region. This year eight categories will be awarded in:

  • Startup Of The Year
  • Best Investor
  • Best FinTech startup
  • Best Cloud/Data Application
  • Best User Experience
  • Best Social Impact Startup
  • Most Influential Woman
  • Best Coworking Space

 

CESA regognized FinTech as separate category this year reflecting that financial technologies are now the fastest growing technology sector worldwide. Incumbents in the financial industry – big banks and other financial institutions – are witnessing the emergence of new players that are profoundly changing the way individuals and business conduct their financial operations. Global investment in financial-technology (fintech) ventures tripled from $4.05 billion in 2013 to $12.2 billion in 2014, with Europe being the fastest growing region in the world, according to a report by Accenture.  Last year, fintech investment increased at more than three times the rate of overall venture capital investment. While it remains to be seen whether the burgeoning fintech industry will actually pose a threat to established institutions, it is clear that the sector is rapidly growing and many of these entrants are here to stay. Investors in the nascent sector are taking notice, profitable exits are on the horizon, and big banks are investing in new technologies to strengthen their competitive positions.

 

More on this year’s nominees:

http://centraleuropeanstartupawards.com/shortlisted-poland

cesawards-logo

FinTech. Lessons learned from over 5 years of financial technology software projects.

By Michal Rozanski, CEO at Empirica.

 

Reading news about fintech we regularly see the big money inflow to new companies with a lot of potentially breakthrough ideas. But aside from the hype from the business side, there are sophisticated technical projects going on underneath. And for new fintech ideas to be successful, these projects have to end with the delivery of great software systems that scale and last. Because we have been building these kind of systems for the fintech area for over 5 years we want to share a bit of our experience.

 

fintech empirica

 

“Software is eating the world”. I believe these words by Marc Andreessen. And now the time has come for finance, as technology is transforming every corner of the financial sector. Algorithmic trading, which is our speciality, is a great example. Other examples include lending, payments, personal finance, crowdfunding, consumer banking and retail investments. Every part of the finance industry is experiencing rapid changes triggered by companies that propose new services with heavy use of software.
The best evidence that something is happening somewhere is to see where the money goes. Investments in fintech companies globally grew to $12 billion last year, which is a three times increase comparing to 2013, and five times during the last five years, according to the research reports by CBInsights.

If fintech relies on software, and there is so much money flowing into fintech projects, what should be looked for when making a fintech software project? Our outsourcing software projects for the fintech industry as well as building our own algorithmic trading platform has taught us a lot. Now we want to share our lessons learned from these projects.

 

1. The process – be agile.

Agile methodology is the essence of how software projects should be made. Short iterations. Frequent deliveries. Fast and constant feedback from users. Having a working product from early iterations, gives you the best understanding of where you are now, and where you should go.
It doesn’t matter if you outsource the team or build everything in-house; if your team is local or remote. Agile methodologies like Scrum or Kanban will help you build better software, lower the overall risk of the project and will help you show the business value sooner.

 

2. The team – hire the best.

A few words about productivity in software industry. The citation is from my favourite article by Robert Smallshire ‘Predictive Models of Development Teams and the Systems They Build’ : ‘… we know that on a small 10 000 line code base, the least productive developer will produce about 2000 lines of debugged and working code in a year, the most productive developer will produce about 29 000 lines of code in a year, and the typical (or average) developer will produce about 3200 lines of code in a year. Notice that the distribution is highly skewed toward the low productivity end, and the multiple between the typical and most productive developers corresponds to the fabled 10x programmer.’.
I don’t care what people say about lines of code as a metric of productivity. That’s only used here for illustration.
The skills of the people may not be that important when you are building relatively simple portals with some basic backend functionality. Or mobile apps. But if your business relies on sophisticated software for financial transactions processing, then the technical skills of those who build it make all the difference.

And this is the answer to the unasked question why we in Empirica are hiring only best developers.

We the tech founders tend to forget how important it is to have not only best developers but also the best specialists in the area which we want to market our product. If you are building an algo trading platform, you need quants. If you are building banking omnichannel system, you need bankers. Besides, especially in B2B world, you need someone who will speak to your customers in their language. Otherwise, your sales will suck.
And finally, unless you hire a subcontractor experienced in your industry, your developers will not understand the nuances of your area of finance.

 

3. The product – outsource or build in-house?

If you are seriously considering building a new team in-house, please read the points about performance and quality, and ask yourself the question – ‘Can I hire people who are able to build systems on required performance and stability levels?’. And these auxiliary questions – can you hire developers who really understand multithreading? Are you able to really check their abilities, hire them, and keep them with you? If yes, then you have a chance. If not, better go outsource.
And when deciding on outsourcing – do not outsource just to any IT company hoping they will take care. Find a company that makes systems similar to what you intend to build. Similar not only from a technical side but also from a business side.
Can outsourcing be made remotely without an unnecessary threat to the project? It depends on a few variables, but yes. Firstly, the skills mentioned above are crucial; not the place where people sleep. Secondly, there are many tools to help you make remote work as smooth as local work. Slack, trello, github, daily standups on Skype. Use it. Thirdly, find a team with proven experience in remote agile projects. And finally – the product owner will be the most important position for you to cover internally.

And one remark about a hidden cost of in-house development, inseparably related to the IT industry – staff turnover costs. Depending on the source of research, turnover rates for software developers are estimated at 25% to even 38%. That means that when constructing your in-house team, every fourth or even every third developer will not be with you in a year from now. Finding a good developer – takes months. Teaching a new developer and getting up to speed – another few months. When deciding on outsourcing, you are also outsourcing the cost and stress of staff turnover.

 

4. System’s performance.

For many fintech areas system’s performance is crucial. Not for all, but when it is important, it is really important. If you are building a lending portal, performance isn’t as crucial. Your customers are happy if they get a loan in a few days or weeks, so it doesn’t matter if their application is processed in 2 seconds or in 2 minutes. If you are building an algo trading operations or payments processing service, you measure time in milliseconds at best, but maybe even in nanoseconds. And then systems performance becomes a key input to the product map.
95% of developers don’t know how to program with performance in mind, because 95% of software projects don’t require these skills. Skills of thinking where bytes of memory go, when they will be cleaned up, which structure is more efficient for this kind of operation on this type of object. Or the nightmare of IT students – multithreading. I can count on my hands as to how many people I know who truly understand this topic.

 

5. Stability, quality and level of service.

Finance is all about the trust. And software in fintech usually processes financial transactions in someway.
Technology may change. Access channels may change. You may not have the word ‘bank’ in your company name, but you must have its level of service. No one in the world would allow someone to play with their money. Allowing the risk of technical failure may put you out of business. You don’t want to spare on technology. In the fintech sector there is no room for error.

You don’t achieve quality by putting 3 testers behind each developer. You achieve quality with processes of product development. And that’s what the next point is about.

 

6. The Dev Ops

The core idea behind DevOps is that the team is responsible for all the processes behind the development and continuous integration of the product. And it’s clear that agile processes and good development practices need frequent integrations. Non-functional requirements (stability and performance) need a lot of testing. All of this is an extra burden, requiring frequent builds and a lot of deployments on development and test machines. On top of that there are many functional requirements that need to be fulfilled and once built, kept tested and running.

On many larger projects the team is split into developers, testers, release managers and system administrators working in separate rooms. From a process perspective this is an unnecessary overhead. The good news is that this is more the bank’s way of doing business, rarely the fintech way. This separation of roles creates an artificial border when functionalities are complete from the developers’ point of view and when they are really done – tested, integrated, released, stable, ready for production. By putting all responsibilities in the hands of the project team you can achieve similar reliability and availability, with a faster time to the market. The team also communicates better and can focus its energy on the core business, rather than administration and firefighting.

There is a lot of savings in time and cost in automation. And there are a lot of things that can be automated. Our DevOps processes have matured with our product, and now they are our most precious assets.

 

7. The technology.

The range of technologies applied for fintech software projects can be as wide as for any other industry. What technology makes best fit for the project depends, well, on the project. Some projects are really simple such as mobile or web application without complicated backend logic behind the system. So here technology will not be a challenge. Generally speaking, fintech projects can be some of the most challenging projects in the world. Here technologies applied can be the difference between success and failure. Need to process 10K transaction per second with a mean latency under 1/10th ms. You will need a proven technology, probably need to resign from standard application servers, and write a lot of stuff from scratch, to control the latency on every level of critical path.

Mobile, web, desktop? This is more of a business decision than technical. Some say the desktop is dead. Not in trading. If you sit whole day in front of the computer and you need to refer to more than one monitor, forget the mobile or web. As for your iPhone? This can be used as an additional channel, when you go to a lunch, to briefly check if the situation is under control.

 

8. The Culture.

After all these points up till now, you have a talented team, working as a well-oiled mechanism with agile processes, who know what to do and how to do it. Now you need to keep the spirits high through the next months or years of the project.
And it takes more than a cool office, table tennis, play station or Friday parties to build the right culture. Culture is about shared values. Culture is about a common story. With our fintech products or services we are often going against big institutions. We are often trying to disrupt the way their business used to work. We are small and want to change the world, going to war with the big and the powerful. Doesn’t it look to you like another variation of David and Goliath story? Don’t smile, this is one of the most effective stories. It unifies people and makes them go in the same direction with the strong feeling of purpose, a mission. This is something many startups in other non fintech branches can’t offer. If you are building the 10th online grocery store in your city, what can you tell your people about the mission?

 

Final words

Fintech software projects are usually technologically challenging. But that is just a risk that needs to be properly addressed with the right people and processes or with the right outsourcing partner. You shouldn’t outsource the responsibility of taking care of your customers or finding the right market fit for your product. But technology is something you can usually outsource and even expect significant added value after finding the right technology partner.
At Empirica we have taken part in many challenging fintech projects, so learn our lessons, learn from others, learn your own and share it. This cycle of learning, doing and sharing will help the fintech community build great systems that change the rules of the game in the financial world!

 

 

Empirica joins advisory board of London’s FinTech Connect

FintechConnect logo

Michal Rozanski, CEO of Empirica, was invited to join advisory board of FinTech Connect. The main purpose of the board would be to share knowledge and experiences with new fintech ventures looking for support.

FinTech Connect is a new initiative for the global community of financial technology stakeholders – investors, financial institutions, fintech startups and solution providers.

Empirica definitely sees a need for one place where people interested in advancement of financial technologies could exchange ideas, experiences and good practices. We are already taking part in similar initiative but on different field – IT Corner association for local software companies – and advantages of such an initiative are obvious to us. When such an idea gets critical mass of people involved that want to be active, then the effect is much more than the sum of its parts. IT Corner is living evidence of that. Therefore we are great fans and we will happily support the development of FinTech Connect.

FinTech Connect provides a digital hub and meeting place for the fintech sector. It allows start-ups, tech providers, investors and financial institutions to connect and do business through community platform. FinTech Connect has already thousands of members and the count is growing daily. In addition to start up events, FinTech Connect provides global seminars and conferences on subjects such as banking security, cash management and commercial payment strategies for corporate treasurers, and cloud IT platforms for financial institutions.

Steve Clarke, the founder and CEO of FinTech Connect says: ‘We launched FinTech Connect because we wanted to provide a global platform and community for  the fintech industry. With the incredible amount of innovation going on within many different technology hubs around the World, there is a natural element of fragmentation between stakeholders and it can at times, seem like innovation is taking place within micro-communities; either in certain geographies, sub sectors or on a smaller scale again within accelerator or incubator programmes.’

FinTech Connect is also organizing Europe’s most exciting exhibition of fintech startup innovation – FinTech Connect Live. This conference will gather over 2000 fintech professionals, over 100 exhibitors and over 100 speakers and visionaries all in one place for two days in London in December 2015.

 

Learn more about FinTech Connect at: www.fintechconnect.com

and about FinTech Connect Live at: www.fintechconnectlive.com .

Robo advisors – new wave in FinTech

In the space between DIY investing and personal — but pricey — financial advisors sits the robo-advisor, a crop of firms that manage client portfolios via computer algorithms, cutting prices and passing the savings on to investors. These online advisers have taken off over the last several years: There are currently a couple hundred firms in the race.

What’s a robo advisor?
A robo-advisor is an on-line financial advisory firm that leverages automation and algorithms to help manage client portfolios. That automation empowers robo-advisors to offer investment management services to consumers for a fraction of the price of a financial advisor that is human. Lower fees, joined with superior features like automatic rebalancing and tax-loss harvesting, can yield higher returns.

How they work
Most of the companies urge portfolios of low cost exchange-traded funds according to surveys that are on-line that investors fill out. The thought is that investors will do with generally diversified portfolios and low fees.

The companies use algorithms to put investors into various portfolios according to risk tolerance.

How to use Robo-Advisor

Automated Customer Onboarding – the questionnaire

The questionnaire is the first step of using Robo Advisor. User’s profile is being created with parameters like:

  • age (defining overall risk aversion level)
  • investment goals (defining users expectations)
  • users experience with losses/gains
  • making important financial decisions

Our Robo Advisory platform covers the interpretation of user’s answers into automated advise.

 

Balance projection

Balance projection gives the user quick view how his portfolio balance would look like in the future for given investment values. In order to make the projection more eye-catching we introduced possibility of generating balance curve based on either static growth or mathematical function development. For example, on average, portfolio increases 4% every year.

 

Asset allocation

Asset allocation is the selection process of the right instruments adequate to users risk profile. Our platform allows to automate managing the allocation, using defined algorithm. For example, with higher portfolio risk we can invest more into stocks and with smaller portfolio risk we invest more into fixed income products. Real asset allocation model has to be decided.

 

User Portfolio,

It is possible to monitor user’s portfolio balance in user dashboard. Platform provides history of portfolio balance over the selected period. User is able to check his current portfolio allocation grouped by three factors:

  • Instrument type
  • Instrument sector
  • Instrument region

 

Portfolio rebalancing

Automated portfolio rebalancing is a crucial functionality for robo-advisory service. Let’s assume that user got asset allocation with 60% stocks and 40% fixed incomes. Over the time, because of the reinvesting dividends or other user-defined factor, his portfolio allocation changed to 70% stocks and 30% fixed incomes. User does not want to take such a big risk so we do portfolio rebalancing to back to original allocation.

 

 

List of successful robo advisors

Betterment
Betterment is a perfect starting point for young investors. They make investing easy for beginners by focusing on simple asset allocation, goal …

Personal Capital
A free and easy-to-use service that syncs up all your financial accounts in one location. Personal Capital creates summaries of your spending, net …

Wealthfront
An automated investing service with an emphasis on asset allocation with low fees. Wealthfront’s service really shines with taxable accounts….

Stash Invest
Stash could be the perfect investment app for a new investor. Its $5 minimum initial deposit removes the single biggest obstacle to investing, but the…

Fidelity Go
Fidelity’s entry into the robo-advisor service helps beginning investors. Its pricing is very transparent, and if you have an existing account, …

Aspiration
Aspiration may be the perfect robo-advisor service for anyone who wants to invest in socially responsible companies. They have low fees, and the fee-…

Vanguard Personal Advisor Services
Overall a solid entry into the robo-advisor space. Though the service will exclude beginning investors because of the high minimum deposit. Other robo…

WiseBanyan
WiseBanyan is a free robo-advisor service with some decent features. Unfortunately, we question if the business model is sustainable….

Hedgeable
Hedgeable brings the techniques of hedge funds down to the less well-heeled masses, so everyone can have access to the investment industry “secrets.”…

TradeKing Advisors
TradeKing Advisors is a platform well worth investigating if you’re looking for professional investment management at a very low fee and $500 deposit …

Charles Schwab Intelligent Portfolios
Overall a decent service that deserves a looking into. Though we question its large allocation to cash and choice of some of the ETFs in order to make…

LearnVest
LearnVest is a decent free budgeting tool. Though compared to its competitors lacks investment reporting. Financial planning is available for an …

Rebalance IRA
Rebalance IRA provides insight into your portfolio and helps you make better decisions by not letting emotions get in the way and selling too often, …

AssetBuilder
AssetBuilder might be a reasonable service to use on large accounts, particularly over $20 million where the annual fee is just 0.20%. But on smaller …

Financial Guard
Financial Guard offers straightforward advice, to upgrade your current portfolio, pay lower fees, and choose better funds. Their business model is …

SigFig
SigFig itself isn’t a bad service, but their recommendations seem simple at best. There are better robo-advisors available….

Wealthsimple
Truewealth

Personalcapital 

FutureAdvisor 

 

Extending the customer base

With a customer base that the size of each of the competition combined, based on Stein, robo advisory Betterment can also be bringing folks, along with assets. It’s not difficult to chalk that up to Stein, and its $0 account minimum admits that some of Betterment’s accounts are modest. But he says all of the customers counted in that tally are saving into funded accounts, with most putting a sizeable amount that is “ away.”

That minimum — or instead, the lack of one — has set the pressure on other robo advisors as well as traditional advisors, many of which have dropped their own minimums over the past year. Private Capital, which has $1.8 billion in assets under management, recently lowered its account minimum by an ambitious 75%, falling from $100,000 to $25,000. The company might have the ability to get away with a minimum still in five digits because its customers also get a dedicated financial advisor.

TradeKing Advisors has lowered its minimum. It found its two tiers of service with initial deposit conditions of $25, and $10,000 000; those minimums now sit at $ and $5, 000. Rich Hagen, the business’s CEO, told NerdWallet that minimums were lowered to remain competitive.

And Wealthfront lowered its account condition 500, noting from $5,000 to $ in a blog post that it was reacting to a “surge in demand” from youthful robo customers . Those customers desired to take advantage of Wealthfront’s generous pricing arrangement, which manages the first $10,000 completely free (Betterment bills 0.35% on accounts under $10,000 that consent to a minimum $100 monthly auto-deposit; those without auto-deposits are charged a monthly fee of $3. That $3 a month — which amounts to more than 7% per annum on a $500 balance — is a point of contention between the two robo-advisors, including a public war of words on Medium.)

 

 

What to look for

To the reader that is causal, the differences between robo advisory companies might appear small but in reality isn’t. You’ve got a choice between:

  • Minimuml Deposit – Some robo advisories it is possible to start out with others and nothing need substantial sums to begin with
  • Yearly Fees – Know about ETF fees and hidden costs
  • Asset allocation – Asset allocation of each robo advisory may differ quite a bit based upon how old you are, and just how their risk assessment questions are answered by you
  • Account Type Support – Do combined, they offer individual, IRA, etc.
  • Automation – Some robo services are 100% automated vs human assisted advice
  • Tax Optimization – Services like Tax-Loss Harvesting
  • Custody of Funds – Handled by you in which they give advice to trading, or directly by the company
  • Management of Assets – Manage only a part or all of your assets
  • Ending-Target – Retirement simply, or other targets (i.e kids education)

 

Best Robo Advisors – Breakdown by Asset Size (2016 Ranking Comparison)

Below is the listing of this year’s top robo advisors by asset size.

# Robo Advisors Total Assets Under Management*
1 Betterment $4,200,000,000
2 Charles Schwab $4,100,000,000
3 Wealthfront $2,800,000,000
4 Personal Capital $2,100,000,000
5 FutureAdvisor $600,000,000

Trends in Wealth Management

To gain a distinctive view into the experiences of both customers and advisors as the wealth management industry faces change, Forbes Insights, in partnership with Temenos, surveyed more than 60 wealth managers all over the world and 35 High- Net Worth (HNW) clients about the evolving banking encounter —how they convey, their needs and the need for technology
One of the key findings:
• 42% of wealth managers believe that the mixture of offline and digital means of communication is perfect.
• 34% of HNW clients need either digital-only or a combination of offline and digital communication
• 62% of HNW customers say the digitization of wealth management services is good overall, but they nevertheless desire to meet regularly with the advisor.
• 17% of HNW customers say technology is not dispensable.
• 48% of HNW clients rate cyber threat and hacking as a top concern associated with the use of technology
• 45% of wealth managers believe comprehensive analysis of performance and financial results is the finest way to establish trust with clients.
The survey also affirms it is mainly a myth that young investors that are wealthy are entirely self sufficient and they convey mainly through virtual channels, with little or no interest in face-to-face relationships with advisors. True, they want to make their own decisions, and they are definitely at home in the digital world ; but they also need to work to validate their viewpoints, on the go, across any channel that is available and to get second alternatives.
Some other notable observations:
Investors over age 50 tend to be focused on the security of data when it comes to wealth management.
Understanding preferences and the feelings of clients on a deeply personal level is at the core of retention, the underpinning business object for the sector.
A substantial number (42%) of wealth managers surveyed consider that legacy systems are “somewhat of a difficulty. ”
Altering expectations of a younger generation of investors to wealth management will create opportunities. For example, it’s typical of Millennials, and also of some Xers and Boomers, to downplay expert guidance and believe in the ‘wisdom of their tribe.’ They also desire to engage in new ways: always and everywhere and through new combinations of digital and human -established channels. This has deep implications for every wealth management company. Additionally, the Xers and Millennials who command only about one-fifth of the states ’ retail assets today will command about half of them within the next 15 years. So the riches advisors who do business on their terms and can connect to young investors will have a leg up on future growth.
Innovation in wealth management will also come in the form of guidance that is holistic: consumers will search for advice beyond traditional portfolio allocation and performance standards into how you can achieve various life goals like healthcare, relocation, education, and leisure. This will necessitate access to broader bodies of knowledge and more comprehensive frameworks to incorporate advice across disparate targets.
We believe the Wealth Management sector is poised for significant innovation with regards to the use of analytics to support company objectives and better engage with consumers. In this respect, the sector is somewhat lagging behind other sectors (Retail, P&C) but will be catching up fast given considerable levels of investment being made in big data and sophisticated analytics capabilities.
Lastly, we see quite a few of startups dedicated to the democratizing of access to esoteric advantages categories (e.g., loans or choices) and institutional strategies or research tools. While some regulatory issues must be overcome (e.g., the definition of accredited investors), we expect to see continued innovation in this place.
Conclusions:
The changing expectations of the younger investor will create growth opportunities.
What are some measures businesses can take to address these challenges?
This really is not meant as an exhaustive list but rather a listing of especially significant – yet challenging – steps wealth management firms can require.
Embrace change: The status quo is not possible anymore: too many sources of disruption (in the the rise of robo guidance to a fresh generation of investors, new competitions, new regulations, etc.) are coming together to profoundly reshape the wealth management business going forward on (see our related report).
Build a culture of innovation: Most wealth management firms that are established are not very good at this. It is also about driving adoption through substantial bodies of counselors and product staff and providing empowering technologies. It is increasingly about prototyping and testing quickly.
Construct new capabilities that’ll drive differentiation in the market place: Examples include digital client engagement; digital, slick onboarding process integrated with KYC; big data management and advanced analytics; and segmentation of advisers and clients. For many companies, this really is likely to require purchases or partnerships to construct capacities that are required quicker. Wealth management firms don’t have a very strong track record here.
Match them with front-line and fix to the evolving demographics of investors staff: This is crucial that you help businesses stay in tune with their customers’ tastes.
Anticipate and prepare the upcoming retirement tide by boomers: Boomers must consider their longevity demands and risks many years before retirement age. Their advisors have to find new methods to participate with them on this issue on. Gamification may be part of the solution in wealth management area.
Eventually, for large diversified banks or asset managers with several coexisting advisory models under exactly the same corporate umbrella (for instance a digital robo offering, a traditional full service brokerage, and retail banking wealth management model), transition from a referral and migration paradigm to a collaboration one. This will be truly challenging to many firms and will demand potentially new pricing and relationship management models. But wealthy customers are requiring access to several advisory models at once.
THE STATE OF GLOBAL WEALTH MANAGEMENT — COMPONENT 1: right FOR TECHNOLOGY DISRUPTION
“If (wealth management advisors ) continue to work just how you have been, you may not maintain business in five years” – Business leader Joe Duran, 2015 TD Ameritrade Wealth Adviser Conference.
The wealth management segment is a possible high growth business for any financial institution. It’s the greatest customer touch section of banking and is fostered on long term and extremely successful advisory relationships. It’s also the ripest section for disruption due to a clear shift in expectations and client tastes for their financial future. This three-part series investigates the industry trends, business use cases mapped to technology and design and disruptive themes and strategies.
As it broadly refers to an aggregation of financial services there is no one universally accepted definition of wealth management. Included in these are financial advisory, personal investment management and planning disciplines directly for the advantage of high- net-worth (HNW) clients. But wealth management has also become a highly popular branding term that advisors of many different kinds increasingly embrace. So this term now refers to a broad range of business models and potential functions.
Trends associated with shifting customer demographics, evolving expectations from HNW customers regarding their needs (including driving societal impact), technology and tumultuous rivalry are converging. Paradigms and new challenges are afoot in the wealth management space, but on the other side of the coin, so is a lot of opportunity.
A wealth manager is a specialized financial advisor who advises on how exactly to prepare for present and future financial needs and helps a client construct an entire investment portfolio. The investment part of wealth management normally entails the selection of individual investments and also both asset allocation of a portfolio that is whole. The planning function of wealth management often incorporates estate planning for people as well as family estates as well as tax planning around the investment portfolio.
There is absolutely no trade certification for a wealth manager. Several titles are commonly used such as advisors, family office representatives, private bankers, etc. Many of these professionals are certified CFPs, CPAs and MBAs too. Authorized professionals are also sometimes seen augmenting their legal expertise with these certifications.
State of Global Wealth Management
Private banking services are delivered to high net worth individuals (HNWI). These are the wealthiest clients that demand the highest levels of service and more customized product offerings than are provided to frequent customers. Usually, wealth management is a subsidiary company of a larger investment or retail banking conglomerate. Private banking also includes other services like tax and estate planning planning as we shall see in several paragraphs
The World Wealth Report for 2015 was published jointly by Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) and CapGemini. Notable highlights from the report include:
1. Nearly 1 million people in the world achieved millionaire standing in 2014
2. The collective investible assets of the world’s HNWI totaled $56 trillion
3. By 2017, the entire assets under management for worldwide HNWIs will climb beyond $70 trillion
4. Asia Pacific has the world’s highest number of millionaires with China and India posting the greatest rates of growth respectively
5. North America was a close second at 8.3%. Both regions surpassed for high net worth wealth
6. Equities were the favored investment vehicle for global HNWI with cash deposits, real estate and other alternative investments forming the remainder
7. The HNWI population is also tremendously credit favorable
This slower pace of increase now means that companies should move to a more relationship centric model, particularly among highly enviable segment : younger investors. The report stresses that now wealth managers are not able to serve different needs of HNW clients from both a mindset, business offering and technology ability perspective under the age of 45.
THE COMPONENTS OF WEALTH MANAGEMENT BUSINESS
As depicted above, services are broadly provided by full-service wealth management companies in the following areas :
Investment Advisory
A wealth manager is a private financial advisor who helps a customer assemble an investment portfolio that helps prepare depending on time horizons and their respective danger desires.
Retirement Planning
Retirement planning is an obvious function of a customer ’s private financial journey. From a HNWI perspective, there is certainly a need to supply retirement services that are complicated while balancing taxes, income needs, estate prevention and so on.
Estate Planning
A key function of wealth management is always to help customers pass on their assets via inheritance. Wealth managers help construct wills that leverage trusts and kinds of insurance to help ease inheritance that is smooth.
Tax Preparation
The skill to reach the right mix of investments from a tax perspective is a capability that is key.
Full Service Investment Banking
For refined institutional customers, the ability to offer a raft of investment banking services is an incredibly appealing capability.
Insurance Management
A wealth manager needs to be well versed in the sorts of insurance bought by their HNWI customers so that the hedging services that are appropriate can be put in place.
Institutional Investments
Some wealth managers cater to institutional investors like pension funds and hedge funds and offer a number of back office functions.
It really is to be noted that the wealth manager is not always a professional in all these places but rather operates nicely with the various places of an investment firm from a preparation, tax and legal perspective to ensure that their clients can accomplish the results that are greatest.
Customer Preferences and Trends
There are not unclear changing preferences on behalf of the HNWI, including:
1. The wealth management community is mostly missing the younger customer ’s needs, while powerful satisfaction scores were given by elderly customers to their existing wealth supervisors.
2. Regulatory and price pressures are growing leading to commodification of services
3. Innovative automation and usage techniques of data assets among new entrants (aka the FinTechs) are leading to the rise of “roboadvisor” services which have already begun disrupting existing players in a massive manner in certain HNWI segments.
4. A need to offer holistic financial services tailored to the behavioral needs of the HNWI investors.
Technology Trends
There has been an understanding that other regions have been trailed by wealth management as a sub sector from a technology and digitization perspective. As with banking organizations that are wider, the wealth management company has been under considerable pressure from the perspective of technology and the astounding pace of innovation seen over the last few years from Big Data, a cloud and open source standpoint. Here are a couple trends to keep an eye on:
1. The dependence on the Digitized Wealth Office
The younger HNWI customers (defined as under 45) use cellular technology as an easy method of socializing with their counselors. A large proportion of applications are still individually managed with distinct user experiences which range from customer onboarding to trade management to servicing. There is a crying demand for IT infrastructure modernization ranging to Big Data to micro across the sector from cloud computing -services to agile customs boosting techniques such as for instance a DevOps approach.
2. The requirement for Open and Smart Data Architecture
Functions that were siloed have led to siloed data architectures working on custom built legacy applications. All of which positively impacts the client experience and inhibit the programs from using data in a fashion that always. There exists certainly a demand to do more with existing data assets and to have an integrated digital experience both internationally and regionally. Current players possess a huge first mover advantage as they offer exceptionally established financial products across their large (and largely loyal and tacky ) customer bases, a wide networks of physical locations, and rich troves of info that pertain to customer accounts and demographic info. … .. Nonetheless, it isn’t enough to just have the info. They must manage to drive change through heritage thinking and infrastructures as things change around the entire industry as it struggles to adapt into a major new section (millennial customers) who increasingly use mobile apparatus and require more contextual services and a seamless and highly analytic- driven, unified banking encounter —an experience similar to what consumers typically experience via the Internet on net properties like Facebook, Amazon, Google, Yahoo and so on. … ..
3. Thee need for more  automation
The need to invent a closer banker/client experience is not just driving demand around data silos and streams themselves. It’s driving players to move from paper based models to highly automated model, digital and a more seamless to rework countless existing rear and front office processes —the weakest link in the chain.
4. The Demand to “Right- size” or Change Existing Business Models predicated on Opinions and Customer Preferences
The clear continuing subject in the wealth management space is constant innovation. Firms have to ask themselves if they’ve been offering the appropriate products that cater to an increasingly affluent yet dynamic clientele.
Judgment
The following post in this string will concentrate on the company lifecycle of wealth management. We’ll begin by describing granular use cases across the whole lifecycle from a company standpoint, and we’ll then examine the pivotal role of Big Data empowered architectures along with a fresh age reference design.
In the final and third post in this string, we round off the discussion using an examination of strategic business recommendations for wealth management firms —recommendations which I will consider will drive astounding business advantages by providing a first-class customer experience and finally innovative offerings.

Artificial intelligence in FinTech

FinTech : It is just starting

FinTech sector is producing businesses with scalable products and has seen rapid growth over the past few years. Senior executives at banks are responding to the challenge these companies have started by setting their own incubators up to capture this high-speed initiation.

Technology was once centralised, with companies being run on big databases and transaction engines. Nowadays, it is massively distributed. New businesses have sprung up to take advantage of the chances this shift brings, while leading banks still operate using the old technology. The term “peer to peer” captures some of the phenomenon, in that it is now potential for financial transactions to take place on a platform without needing a bank or indeed any entity as an intermediary.

The financial services marketplace is all about information exchange that is reliable, secure and efficient. In many cases the new alternatives can be cheaper and quicker than traditional models. A broad variety of potential models exist, which explains the increasing number of new fintech startups that have entered the market.

Needless to say, fintech is not new and technology has consistently brought gains to consumers. Back in the day, however, development costs were high, while the technologies of today are more broadly available, affordable and, most importantly, worldwide scalable.

The huge banks are setting up their own initiation arms to investigate opportunities presented not only mobile but also by by P2P and micro-payments cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin,, and distributed ledgers for example blockchain.

But as progressive as traditional financial institutions strive to be, they will remain hampered by their legacy systems and processes. I see the banking landscape continuing to change quickly as fintech businesses with talented management, viable products and clever advertising using new and traditional media take market share. Moving fast, nimbly and economically to capitalise on opportunities is the key.

Artificial intelligence in FinTech

Since its inception in the 1950s, artificial intelligence (AI) has found at least two major boom cycles and long winters of disillusionment. While artificial intelligence endured through the recent disullusionment cycle in the 1990s to today, its easing and corollary technologies have flourished, and we’re now entering into a fresh boom in applictions of the technology.

Financial services have been revolutioned by the computational arms race of the last twenty-plus years, as technologies like big data analytics, expert systems, neural networks, evolutionary algorithms, machine learning and more have enabled computers to crunch much more varied, diverse, and deep data sets than ever before.

While most of the businesses built around machines making decisions are’t true AI, they may be using data-intensive technologies that will help technologies and firms continue to get closer to executing AI in commercial applications.

Despite the hype of intelligent machines, the first uses of AI are’t replacing humans and human intelligence but augmenting them. Text-based conversational chat was adopted by many startups as a way to deliver a personal assistant-like expertise in many industries, and in fintech we’ve seen the case of businesses like Kasisto utilising AI to scale the impact of people using technology. Instead of being bounded in customer support uses by humans reacting to users through chat windows, AI and related technologies are being implemented to deliver a human-like chat encounter without the need for nearly as many human helpers.

By using smart agents that can examine and crunch data about individual behaviour and compare to broader datasets, small and big businesses could have the ability to deliver personalized financial services as a scope and scale never possible before. Consumer banking, advisory services, retail financial planning, investment advice and wealth management, all of these services can be delivered using a conversational user interface with artifical intelligence software behind. The combination of technologies can empower firms to supply services to customers where they were unable to supply human service profitably (i.e. lower net worth sections of personal financial, investment and retirement advisory), but can now function using codified knowledge and AI-powered software.

In addition to new segments, they are able to be more personal, supplying guidance at the transactional level (i.e. every individual transaction). This is the story behind smart wallets like Wallet.ai. Picture having an assistant with you to allow you to assess, price, and consider every single thing you spend money on, at a granular level that you could not be assisted by any human helper with. Is a roboadvisor that offers rule based advice using only a couple of predefined parameters AI? Likely not, but newer technologies as time goes by which are based around learning and viewing about your behaviors at the individual level, could give guidance and outcomes which might be personalized in a way never possible formerly.

AI can also power technologies that overlay humans to supply workers activities with an tracking and oversight mechanism, helping with compliance, security, and the observation of employee actions. Monitoring discrete, repetitive data entry tasks, computers could watch and learn as time passes to verify test and data entry for particular events, evaluate danger, and find fraud. Any segment of fintech that is regulated creates the chance for companies to install AI-powered employee and systems supervision.

AI technologies that allow computers to process information could augment underwriting and lending products and make decisions more easy and better than individuals alone. While it’s still to be determined how new data sets created by technologies like wearables and internet of things can be used for insurance and credit decisions, AI-based technologies make it more potential for businesses to use these new datasets in highly personal ways .

But AI is creating bigger opportunities to go beyond testing and fitting data to create trading systems and more “intelligent ” dealers, using robotraders to optimize and test predictions and trading rules. AI can help manage and augment rules and trading decisions, helping process the data and creating the algorithms managing trading rules.

Some investment firms have implemented trading algorithms based on sentiment and insights from social media and other public data sources for years, but technology companies like Dataminr are installing platforms for a larger set of businesses to use. Getting and utilizing large, heterogenous datasets is now potential for far more companies to use, so how will companies leverage and build on top of these datasets?

The future of AI in FinTech

While much of the investment in artificial intelligence has been into multi-purpose platforms which are figuring out their specific, high-value usecases, the chance in fintech is somewhat different. Fintech has a base of technological prowess in the technologies supporting AI and several immediate high value uses.

Initially, AI was used more in backend technology settings to power large scale decisioning in financial analysis , trading and lending, but now it is becoming a technology that expands how everybody interacts with financial services companies. A number of problems consumers are facing when using financial services are around the problems in getting to quality, personal service. And possibly it’s an artificially intelligent agent that helps deliver cheaper, private services that are better and faster.

Why Robo?

Why Robo?

With the advent of Automated Digital Wealth Management options (aka robo advisers), the conventional wealth management industry is facing perhaps its most tumultuous threat since low-cost online stock trading emerged in the mid 1990’s

  • The Millennial generation’s predisposition to “do-it-yourselfthrough-an-app”
  • Availability of highly credible digital wealth management options
  • Providing scalable advice
  • Suffering in the comparative shift in appetite towards ETFs the mutual fund business, and other passive investment vehicles in particular seems farther threatened since most of the solution providers by digital wealth management solutions use ETFs as their underlying investment vehicles
  • At the absolute minimum, all wealth supervisors should be highly focused on “digitizing” their businesses as consumers of all ages and demographics will expect an “Amazon and Uber – from all of their financial service providers like expertise that is ”
  • Fintech disruption in all areas of finance and investments (online banking, big data, AI, sentiment analysis)
  • New consumer brands are appearing in the digital wealth management sector (such as Betterment, Wealthfront and Personal Capital) while conventional companies are striking back by either offering their own in house options (including Charles Schwab and Vanguard) or partnering or getting to speed time to market

EXECUTIVE OVERVIEW

As a wealth advisory service, robo-advisors have already been growing in popularity for recent years. Low minimums, low fees and the guarantee of sound yields, attract new investors, particularly millennials.
Now while this kind of service created considerable asset increase at first, that increase has leveled off. Although the usage of robo-advisors continues, a tendency that is more comprehensive is replacing the service, with financial advisors using computer programs to help them in managing customer accounts and offering investment advice.
There stays a comparatively small section of investors for whom robo-advice and most of the demands can match with.
The truth is, the popularity of robo-advisers, and the lessons learned from their execution, point to online brokerages, a fresh manner advisors and other financial institutions can do business. These investment and advice suppliers obtain or can construct a platform offering much more than just advice that is digital. It can rather power an environment where a personalized investment software is successfully provided through call center, advisors and digital stations, determined by the route that is best, together with client setting.
Call it an automated advice platform—a package of applications that can direct investment choices and more, from tax-loss harvesting and rebalancing to predictive analytics and data mining, helping the adviser and business socialize with the customer through the route that is most suitable. This type of system drives cost savings and efficiencies, together with an increased customer experience.
You’ll find choices and many variables that businesses should consider when planning and installing these systems.

THE DAWN OF AUTOMATED advice

The financial advisory business was limited and included much more manual task by now’s standards, in and to whom.
advice delivery was ineffective and slow, along with exclusive (largely limited to rich or well-off investors). Eventually, it was not difficult for fiscal preparation to become disconnected from your real execution of the investment advice.
When technology increased rate and consumers needed immediate info delivered at their convenience and increased transparency these shortcomings became clear. Many financial advisors, working with insufficient and ageing applications, cannot fulfill with those requirements.

Robo-advisors arrive

Robo- prejudices that are behavioral could be eliminated by advisors and manage regular account maintenance while conserving prices—so the pitch went.
Some of the early robo-advisors came like Betterment and Wealthfront from pure play robo companies. Well-recognized product producers like Vanguard, BlackRock and Schwab got into the space, also. Conventional advisory companies, also as independent broker dealers and custodians, embraced automated investment technologies, looking to attract younger customers (nearly 40% of millennials are thinking about robo-advice) and smaller accounts, together with maintain their peers. Still nowadays, we see niche-oriented robo-companies like WorthFM coming to market, as businesses that are other add artificial intelligence with their platforms.
By investing in a automated platform that is advisory, companies can construct and power an omni-station surroundings—one where advice that is customized is delivered through digital versions, call center and adviser.

Robo-advisors:

Growth rates have dropped, and average earnings per robo-advisors customer is decreasing, which doesn’t bode well for his or her long term prognosis.
If the portfolio is simply an apportionment of various ETFs that are passive, then it’s not more expensive to buy through a self directed account.
The robo-adviser also leaves no selection —once the asset allocation is discovered, it’s impossible to change investments. Other criticisms of pure robo-advisors are that they’ve yet to work during a long bear market or downturn (remaining invested is essential to the investing theory), and it’s not clear how they’ll manage occasions like post-retirement drawdowns. And, while many younger investors are wonderful with fiscal advice that is only digital, many others aren’t. Additionally, many facets of the fiscal advice relationship continue to demand human intervention, like tax strategies and estate planning.
Many of the notions that drove the adoption of robo-advisers in the first place stay sound, and advisers and companies have a prime chance to employ robo-advisory technology more generally across practices and their company. Really, robo- alternatives that are advisory will continue to develop to address these shortcomings, placing pressure that is on-going on advisory businesses that are conventional. By investing within an platform that is advisory that is automated, companies can construct and power an omni-station surroundings—one where advice that is customized is delivered through call center, advisors and digital versions.

By investing in a platform that is advisory that is automated, companies can assemble and power an omni-station surroundings—one where advice that is customized is delivered through digital versions, call center and adviser.
In this hyper-linked information age, a large proportion of investors, no matter account size want professional advice. The fiscal advisory businesses that can best provide this advice—in a sense which is still rewarding to the business, and in the quantity, frequency and format the customer needs —will function as ones that prosper and live. There are lots of newer “tumultuous” suppliers which are using innovative methods to deliver this advice that is professional, such as call centre and the only on-line -based advisory business Personal Capital. This places those conventional advisory companies that manage to completely comprehend their present and prospective customers at a clear edge and to develop their abilities. Companies must have the capacity to serve customers in just how they need. Technology is critical to provide the customer experience that is appropriate, fulfilling the customer’s needs consistently and economically. But, the real innovators are the ones that will push on their technology -advisory. With the proper preparation, they are able to set up an all-inclusive advice platform that is automated.

Advantages of an automated platform that is advisory

Companies which make an investment in applications and the hardware that enable an automated platform to run with omni-station advice stand to reap tremendous gains. Possibly the most noticeable is client satisfaction; customers who are receiving advice through their favorite channel and at their favorite frequency are substantially more likely to be met with the service they’re receiving and, therefore, are more likely to remain with advisors and the company. An automated advisory platform’s first job will be to identify customer needs and vector those customers into the advice delivery channel that is proper. But, that can not go considerably deeper than the platform. advisors can also use data mining to help them comprehend a customer’s obligations and total assets, much more precisely than before. The sophisticated platforms with artificial intelligence can examine behavioral profile is ’sed by a customer and call possible attrition and life events, then propose methods for the advisors to manage such occasions. The platform may have the capacity to identify possible areas for new product development centered on tasks and customer needs. The real innovators are the ones that will push on their technology -advisory. With the proper preparation, they are able to set up an all-inclusive advice platform that is automated.

Raising price efficiencies

Advisory platforms that are automated enable advisers and companies to be cost efficient in performance and their advice delivery, helping keep gains if fee income declines.

There are, needless to say, upfront prices to add applications and hardware, but automated platforms that are advisory enable advisers and companies to be more cost efficient in performance and their advice delivery, helping keep gains if fee income declines. These platforms also enable adviser and the company serve more customers of every size and kind and to scale up operations.
Past robo-advisory, technology may be a tremendous support in regards to routine account tasks, many of which are never seen by customers.
Likewise, regular coverage—quarterly, annual or as frequently as the customer needs—can be readily automated too.
Eventually, aside from the station, each interaction will be recorded by the finest automated platforms, together with any customer comments, both for to improve future interactions and regulatory functions.
Best interests: The Department of Labor’s fiduciary rule Regulations that are new are about to get stricter, especially in regards to advice on other retirement accounts and IRAs. Additionally, it sets strict rules on advisers becoming paid through commission.
With present adviser practices, the new rule WOn’t probably allow it to be rewarding for advisers to service accounts that are smaller. Nevertheless, technology— especially applications leveraging robo-adviser strategies—can empower companies to service these accounts that are smaller while still fulfilling with the fiduciary rule’s no- best-interest and commission mandates.
The fiduciary rule is more extensive than that, nevertheless, and technology will be critical to fulfilling with all its precepts. Any advice that’s given to some retirement customer must take the customer’s best interest, irrespective of how little or large the customer and no matter what station that advice is delivered through.
The appropriate technology can ensure that occurs, ensuring an adviser or an algorithm doesn’t advocate the investment merchandise that is incorrect, for instance, and making certain the advice is consistent across all stations. Technology also will keep an eye on what advice is given it is simple to demonstrate to regulators that the performance of that advice and the advice were in the customer’s best interest.
Advisory platforms that are automated enable advisers and companies to be cost efficient in performance and their advice delivery, helping keep gains if fee income declines.
CHOOSING AND APPLYING AN AUTOMATED ADVISORY PLATFORM

The best automated advisory platform will do much more than simply offer investment merchandise suggestions and rebalancing and tax- lost harvest

While the notion of a robo-adviser is not useless, the current use of the technology does not go far enough. This creates an opportunity for forward-thinking financial institutions and advisers reap benefits and to expand the notion significantly, including cementing long-lasting and rewarding client relationships.

The greatest automated advisory platform will do much more than just offer rebalancing and investment merchandise ideas and tax-loss harvesting. The platform also must be incorporated with client relationship management (CRM) programs, so that the adviser can get up to the minute info on an account, regardless of that customer’s main advice delivery channel.

Many of these items can be handled digitally. Others will need call center advice as well as face-to-face meetings between customer and the advisor. Pivoting between channels completely understands each client’s settings and WOn’t be an issue for the company or advisors that has put in place the technology that is correct.

The finest automated advisory platform will do far more than just offer investment product suggestions and rebalancing and tax-lost harvest.

Six steps for delivering automated advisory To construct and produce this vision of a robust, technologyenabled platform, it’s essential the platform be thought out before any changes are made. We have identified six important steps that any automated advisory platform must support while particular functions will differ depending on a firm’s own settings, capabilities, client roster and plans for growth.

Step one – Client vectoring: This critical first step involves getting to know new clients, their assets and their investment aims, and then slotting them into the proper investment and servicing software. Clients can be sifted into groups for example mass market, mass affluent and high net worth, and the platform can devise investment plans for each class (e.g., UMAs for the rich and wrapping accounts for mass market investors) and based on how each client will probably prefer to be served. This assessment must be nimble enough to account for personal tastes.

Measure two – Preparation and product selection: This is the phase that perhaps most resembles now’s robo-adviser. Using information collected through questionnaires and other customer interactions, the algorithm advocates underlying securities which might be suitable to each customer and an asset allocation. The difference is the platform can also help train the client on these options—via online or call center, for example—and may also make adjustments to the recommendations based on how complicated each client’s portfolio and individual financial situation is.

Step three – Implementation: The application or the financial advisor subsequently clarifies the rationale behind the proposed investment program and makes any corrections predicated on client interaction.

Step four – Monitoring: After the automated advisory platform makes an investment, the algorithms continuously track how that investment is performing. The action could be as easy as monitoring rebalancing and drift as needed. The activity also could be more sophisticated, for example tax-loss harvesting, transaction cost optimization, or flagging an issue for additional actions by adviser or the call center.

Step five – Performance and servicing: Here we see the complete advantages of the omni-channel servicing version that an automated platform that is advisory supports. How account statements, investment reports, funding requests and other regular customer messages are best delivered depends on customer setting and adviser commitments, also as on the content of the communications themselves.

Measure six – Event-driven reinvention: Client scenarios continuously change (e.g., new job, inheritance, health complications, retirement). These life events may necessitate significant changes. Many will demand the intervention of a human adviser, although a few of these changes can be managed automatically by the platform. The platform and advisors, working in tandem, can come up with the best solution, such as a brand new investment product, changing to a new service station, or going into an UMA or UMH.

Concerns when choosing provider and a platform

Transforming a current IT system can be expensive, complex and uncertain, but this is offset by the many clear advantages of transitioning to an automated advisory strategy. Questions to consider when looking to purchase and deploy an automated advice platform comprise the following:

• What attributes does the platform The platform also needs to work within a business’s present IT infrastructure, or the business will have to upgrade its systems. Likewise, can the new platform integrate readily with a firm’s present software and with the workflow that’s already in place among its advisers, call center representatives and other professionals?

Scalable have to be addressed? Are there gaps in a firm’s existing data collection systems? Is the company’s online security robust and up up to now? The type of upgrades or changes will be needed to advisers ’ backgrounds and dashboards? What about the call center?

• What are the integration challenges? offer? As we’ve seen, there is certainly a broad range of attributes that are possible a platform will offer. Companies will want to decide how complicated and thorough they desire their first platform to be. In addition they will want to make certain it can be expanded to feature new products and services without an excessive amount of trouble as the business’s needs change.

• What other challenges is the platform? As the company’s novel of business grows firms must ensure the platform can grow with regards to the variety of advisors and clients it can support.

JUDGMENT

It must not be a question of “if” but instead “when” a company will set up an automated advisory platform. The future of the financial advisory industry will tend heavily on technology, and those companies that lag behind are bound to miss out on the advantages to advisors, customers and the firm overall.

Top companies will put in place platforms that consider the needs of advisors and clients, ensuring that advisers develop a strong instrument that helps them serve their clients more economically and effectively. The robo-adviser tendencies in recent years gave rise to fears that technology would casts aside advisors. But, it is now clear that advisers are as important as ever. An automated advisory platform can augment advisers’ expertise, ensuring that customers receive the best advice—no matter what channel they prefer.