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Archive for the ‘digital trends in banking’ Category

What does it take to be a Leader in digital wealth management?

Friday, April 13th, 2018

The need for replacing legacy systems with more agile, and often cloud-based, platforms is clear, and most of the world’s top wealth managers are currently in the process of restructuring and transforming their existing business models to a digital first, agile, and innovative plan. However, some of these top wealth managers are more successful than others, and this brand new MyPrivateBanking report showcases these “top of the top” leaders.

2018 yields clear improvements but weaknesses remain

After a full review of the mobile app strategies, websites for wealth management, and social media channels for wealth and private banking divisions, we have been able to rank the top ten leaders for digital channels. A subsequent evaluation showed that within this top ten ranking there are clear differences in how these leading wealth managers approach their digital transformations and how successful these transformations have been. Importantly, this year’s report reveals a clear weakness in the long-term planning of even the cream of the digital wealth management crop. In particular, there is a clear failure to foster digital leadership from the bottom up-something that will, in the years to come, cripple the success of a long-term digital strategy. Interestingly, this lack of bottom up leadership and a failure to secure the talent pipeline is partially mitigated by clear improvements in top down digital leadership between the 2018 report and the 2016 report.

Digital winners are solidly on board with fostering top-down leadership

In 2016 we were surprised to find a lack of top-down digital leadership in the world’s best digital wealth management firms. Only 55% of these organizations had a dedicated C-level position for digital wealth management or similar. In this year’s report, then, we were pleased to see that this clear weakness has been rapidly overcome-over 80% of 2018’s digital winners now have dedicated digital positions at the very top of the hierarchy. This shows recognition of the need for top-down guidance of digital transformations and the importance of having an ally at the top of the hierarchy for fostering innovation. This increase is one of the strongest positive findings of this year’s evaluation.

Bottom up leadership is, however, still very weak

While the finding for top down leadership is a very positive step in the right direction, this has not yet been balanced with an equally strong emphasis on bottom-up leadership. Top down leadership, and having a C-level digital ally, is undoubtedly a key factor in short term success-especially when it comes to fostering innovation, pushing through reforms, breaking down silos, and similar. However, we caution that bottom up digital leadership is equally important for long term digital success and is, critically, only present in around 55% of this year’s winning organizations.

Securing the talent and leadership pipeline is key for long term success

Long-term thinking means also developing a strategy to maintain the talent pipeline within the bank and a smooth entrance ramp for talented external hires. At the same time, established banks have to make sure that talent stays in the company rather than being lured away by better offers from FinTechs or competitors. Only half of the top ten digital leaders have a clear and comprehensive strategy in place for securing their innovation and leadership pipeline-meaning that many of these leaders risk losing traction when it comes to long-term digital leadership.

Securing the talent pipeline is about more than just hiring practices. This can be both a top-down and a bottom-up process and, realistically, it should be both. This is a strategy that ensures that new employees are provided opportunities to become innovation leaders by providing internal training and mentoring. It also means ensuring that leadership is fully on board with promoting and fostering a culture of innovation and digital focus within the firm.

Our latest report goes into greater detail about the ways in which wealth managers and private banks can successfully secure this talent and leadership pipeline in order to set up their organizations for long term digital success. We cover key aspects of a successful long term digital strategy, discuss the differences between finding a good talent pool and supporting internal development of promising leaders from day one. We also provide examples and case studies of organizations who have been successful in this area in order to derive learning points from them.

 

Agile Innovation in Wealth Management

Tuesday, January 16th, 2018

In our most recent report Innovation for Wealth Management our analysts are looking at different - successful and less successful - approaches for innovation in the private banking industry. The relatively new trend of Agile Innovation has not yet found many  followers within wealth management but it is worth a deeper look. The main benefits of Agile Innovation techniques are the breaking down of silos within an organization and the rapid development cycles which quickly lead to a real world test of a new product or service, or just a little new feature. The risk of huge sunk costs and bad technology investments is reduced. There is some evidence that Agile Innovation can significantly improve the success rate of innovation projects. Some surveys report a success rate of more than 60% of projects. However, these numbers should be taken with some caution as every new fashionable management technique runs the risk of being overhyped.

Looking at the banking and wealth management industry we also find some examples of Agile Innovation. German Fidor Bank, Dutch ING Bank and Scandinavian Nordea are among the champions of Agile Innovation in the banking industry. All of these initiatives are focusing on retail banking or transaction banking. It is striking that we could not identify even one wealth manager or private bank that is running an Agile Innovation project. This may be due to the greater secrecy among innovation projects in the private banking space. However, we fear that it is also due to the strong anti-agility attitude we are still seeing in the wealth management industry.

While Agile Innovation may have reminded some seasoned managers of other management fads they have seen come and go, we believe that it in fact does address critical shortcomings in the innovation cycle of wealth managers:

<  Innovation is cross-functional and not boxed in somewhere deep within the organization.

<  Creating customer value is the core of innovation.

<  Real customer feedback is the measuring stick for any new feature, product or service, rather than endlessly debating risks and opportunities.

<  Innovation is rapid, feedback is rapid and success will come quickly.

Agile Innovation is not the silver bullet for all innovation projects. And of course, there are constraints in banking, like regulation, that make some things impossible or slow them down. But it is a promising path that brings tangible results instead of lofty dreams. Linking Agile Innovation to a sound strategic process where goals and overall directions are clearly prescribed is therefore a good prescription for successful innovation.

Check out our new report on Innovation for Wealth Management.

 

Mobile apps for wealth management: Will innovation beat complacency?

Thursday, September 28th, 2017

It has been 10 years since the Apple released its first smartphone, a technology that has become a part of everyday life and facilitated the growth of apps. Since then, consumers have been exposed to innovative and well-designed  apps - as well as online security breaches and fraud. Their experience with apps in their daily life has made them savvier when it comes to what they expect from their private banking and wealth management apps.

While other digital industries have taken agility - the ability to evolve and adapt their digital products to customers’ need quickly - to heart and in practice,  private banks and wealth management firms are still struggling with this important concept. This is especially clear from their digital offerings, particularly in their mobile apps for U/HNW clients.

Based on our new benchmarking report, Mobile Apps for Wealth Management,  75% of the 34 companies we profiled that provide apps for wealthy clients lack innovative features that are helpful to their clients’ financial lives. Many wealth managers consistently underperform in the provision of advanced portfolio features, interactive portfolio tools, top-notch security, and contact features to their wealth clients.

This is alarming because in an age where technology is moving fast - dragging  clients’ expectations with it -  not having an app strategy is the biggest competitive disadvantage facing wealth managers and private banks. Private banks and wealth management firms with weak apps risks irrelevance and losing their clients to other banks or FinTech startups that offer more user-friendly and innovative features as well as value-added services.

One area where private banks and wealth managers have to step up is security.  This is a concern because wealthy clients will not tolerate data breaches and unauthorized use of their data. Banks must employ top-notch security and anti-fraud measures in their apps and constantly evaluate it in order to keep up with malwares and other attacks.  One private bank client who spoke with MPB expressed incredulity at the lack of two-factor authentication in his/her app, which is already standard for credit card companies and retail banks. “I work with are far better and more trustworthy than the ones from my wealth manager, who is handling my entire net worth. They have to change this if they want to keep me as a client,” the client said.

Another area for improvement is the core app features for wealth management. While there has been a slight rise in this category since 2016, the apps that we evaluate this year lack around 40% of the core features we expect to find in wealth management apps.  As technology improves, some advanced portfolio tools such as virtual portfolios and automated, risk re-assessment tools have become standard and average features. Wealth managers who are slow in applying emerging technologies to core features risk an ineffective and boring app and, consequently, losing their clients.

Despite these shortcomings, we do see some  signs that a select few private banks and wealth managers are innovating to anticipate clients’ needs-and running away from the competition in this regard. We find some banks that integrate gamification and virtual reality in their apps, for instance. Content for marketing and client retention by way of thought leadership, market news and insights, also improved from 2016 to 2017.

Overall, we urge wealth managers to develop agile mobile strategies and integrate new technology quickly in their mobile offerings to U/HNW clients.  As agile development is also based on  feedback, banks and wealth managers should also be proactive in getting their clients’ feedback early in the development process and collaborate with other stakeholders to improve their mobile services for the wealthy.

 

Tech vendors’ surprising ideas about wealth management digitization

Thursday, May 4th, 2017

In My Private Banking’s latest report, on the digitalization of advisor functions, we interviewed just over 20 people from 13 different wealth management technology providers and various other industry experts.  Our interviewees gave us some fascinating insights into the direction and pace of innovation but had a number of surprises for the My Private Banking analysts.

Small surprises - but nevertheless significant findings - included a general air of confidence among technology providers about the value of their contribution and their assessment of the outlook for their wealth management clients. Initially, we thought that technology vendors might not be so sure that their digitalization message was finding willing listeners in the wealth management industry.

However there were bigger surprises in store for our researchers, firstly in our interviewees’ evaluation of the relative importance of regulatory compliance the remainder of the current decade and, secondly, perhaps most unexpectedly of all, in their estimation of the part that AI and machine learning will play in advisor digitalization in the near-term.  This provides a useful reality check to some of the technology hype that’s currently popular around the topic of AI.

Overall, our analysis of the future of advisor roles and the part likely to be played by robo advisory services was confirmed, giving us a clear picture of advisors and digital tools working in concert as a dominant model of service.

Last of all, we were a little surprised at the relatively minor attention given to the way in which advisors and relationship managers will experience the change to their roles and work styles through digital enabling.

Our report provides detailed coverage of the difference digitalization will make to compliance, advisor-client interactions (and hence client ratios and overall efficiency) and in which technologies and functions we can expect change soonest.  In addition, we have analyzed the impact of advisor digitilization on communication channels and client journeys.  Our researchers have endeavored to convey the feel of our conversations with technology providers through plentiful quotations and the report sums up My Private Banking’s findings with a number of clear recommendations for wealth management firms and private banks.

 

Swissquote’s new virtual reality trading app: the game-changer or just a hype?

Monday, February 20th, 2017

It’s no science fiction story, nor fake news: VR trading is possible!

Showing an excellent understanding of how to take their digital and client engagement strategy further and create unique experiences, the Swiss financial company Swissquote has recently released a new app that enables trading with virtual reality glasses. By using a VR headset, users are enabled to view the status of their accounts, check stock prices, currency pairs and key figures in a 360 -degree perspective, as well as to execute trades by focusing their eyes on the symbol. This creative approach facilitates a different client experience by enabling users to access information and trade in a highly dynamic way.

As already emphasized by our analysts, gamification will continue to play an important role especially in young consumers’ approach towards banking and trading. The demand for creative and convenient tools and features for mobile use will definitely continue to grow. Millennials, in particular, love it when viewing their portfolio on-the-way is made enjoyable using gamification techniques or when they can quickly track their spending or savings by means of visually engaging icons. Alternatively, customer engagements can also be maximized by introducing gamification elements like customization options in promoting products or displaying client information: it creates a personal experience and gives clients the feeling of being in control while also emphasizing you as an adopter of the latest tech trends.

With Swissquote setting the tone for innovative use of VR-based technology, it won’t be long until we’ll find ourselves in a VR-based setting discussing our retirement plans or investment scheme with an enjoyable chatbot (available round the clock).

The interesting storyline will be to see as many banks and financial companies embrace innovation and leverage the potential of both VR and AR-based technology, which can facilitate customers access to a new dimension giving the feeling of a virtual infinite space. A fresh perspective for (re-)building a distinct client relationship.

 

Chatbots for Banking and Wealth Management 2016: Why financial institutions should employ virtual assistants

Thursday, December 15th, 2016

Artificial Intelligence (AI) and chatbots are a very big topic at the moment. Yet, there are a lot of uncertainties related to the emergence of this new mega-trend. Chatbots are software-based agents that can lead an intelligent conversation with users, sometimes based on AI, sometimes based on pre-defined responses. So basically you are chatting with a robot. This trend has already arrived in the financial services industry with FinTechs, Challenger Banks and also established players starting to jump on the bot wagon. These are very interesting times as bots are going to revolutionize the way companies will interact with their clients and we are now seeing the first real examples of bots being launched in the financial services industry. We can definintely say, that the bot trend is something that noone can ignore!

In our new report Chatbots for Banking and Wealth Management: Why financial institutions should emply virtual assistants we investigate the ways chatbots are already used in banking and wealth management and explore how they will revolutionize the future client interaction. For our assessments and recommendations, we screened more than 100 established banks and wealth managers to identify and analyzes the 35 most advanced and innovative chatbots and virtual assistants. In addition the report evaluates state-of-the-art chatbots by 9 FinTechs and challenger banks and as well the offerings of 8 bot developers.The report provides data driven answers to following key questions a financial institutions should ask when using bots of client interaction:

  • What does the current landscape for chatbots in financial services look like and what drives the developments?
  • Which are the most advanced chatbots in the financial services sector, how do they look and what do they offer?
  • How will bots change and enhance the client interaction and communication?
  • How to choose the right bot, platforms and implementation?
  • What do the vendors offer?


 

New Report: Mobile Apps for Wealth Management

Monday, May 30th, 2016

the-question-for-wealth-managers-is-no-longer-if-they-should-have-a-mobile-app-but-how-they-can-develop-a-winning-mobile-app11

The question for wealth managers is no longer if they should have a mobile app, but how they can develop a winning mobile app to provide them with an essential competitive advantage.

Almost eight years ago, in July 2008 the Apple App store was launched and Google Play followed only a few months later. Since then the app market has grown, apps have become an essential part of our lives and the technical possibilities have developed a lot. The wealth management industry is typically not among the first movers when it comes to technical innovations but we have seen that the market of mobile apps for wealth management is slowly but surely catching up. In our latest study Mobile Apps for Wealth Management we have analyzed the mobile apps of 30 of the biggest wealth managers worldwide. We have found that in contrast to the previous years, the number of wealth managers that offer dedicated apps to their wealthy clients has increased (from 63% in 2015 to 82% in our latest 2016 study).

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New survey: Investors surprisingly open when it comes to robo-advisors

Tuesday, May 10th, 2016

Our new report on investors’ attitudes towards robo-advisors is based on a survey covering (mass-)affluent and HNWI in the UK and the US. The 600 respondents answered questions with regard to their awareness of robo advice, benefits and risks of automated investing, awareness of existing players and many others.

One of the main findings is that investors are generally very open to the new technology as more than 70% believe that automated advisory tools can positively influence their wealth manager’s advice and decision-making process. Particularly when it comes to onboarding processes, investors see huge benefits in automated online tools – 74% think that the technology is likely to speed up registration and, hence, lead to an increased efficiency and convenience.

Similarly encouraging, investors’ awareness of the robo technology is surprisingly high: 45% of the entire sample already heard or read about the concept of robo-advisors and 20% state to know quite a lot about it or even know it in detail. At the same time, the share of people saying that they don’t think to be using robo advice in the future is 20%, which is mainly driven by the older age segment with 55 years and above. Interestingly, the share of the hesitant appears to be more than twice as high in the US (28%) than in the UK (12%).

In the US, the largest share of respondents selected Charles Schwab Intelligent Portfolios as the brand they associate most with robo advice (43%) while in the UK, it is Nutmeg that leads the field, with the same share. This is quite interesting since original robo providers such as Betterment (18%) or Wealthfront (13%) seem to be far less known – this is a strong sign that it is a lot easier for established wealth management brands to promote their automated services.

Our new survey report elaborates on these and a lot more findings that draw a very clear picture of wealthy investors’ adoption of the robo advice technology. In addition to the general results, the report describes the main differences among the two focus countries, UK and USA, different wealth segments (mass affluent, affluent, and high-net-worth) as well as different age segments in order to derive valuable recommendations and learning points dedicated to wealth managers’ target client groups.

 

New FinTech deal: Goldman Sachs buys Honest Dollar

Tuesday, March 15th, 2016

The FinTech market is becoming increasingly complex as new startups emerge and financial institutions come up with own innovations or collaborations with FinTech companies. Yesterday, I came across the latest deal – Goldman Sachs just bought retirement-saving company Honest Dollar that claims to enable employers to sign up in just 90 seconds while offering retirement benefit plans for competitive prices. The process is quick and easy - after having responded to some questions, employees are recommended one of six different portfolios consisting of Vanguard ETFs. Goldman Sachs aim to serve more people with more efficient retirement planning services by partnering with Honest Dollar and, hence, adding to their growing digital offerings. Currently, the finance giant claims, 45 million Americans are not offered retirement plans by their employers, which is mainly due to the high costs.

How important is it for people that they can sign in to such tools quickly and easily? Do they think their financial advisor can make faster and better decisions when using such tools? This and a lot more questions covering affluent people’s attitudes towards robo-advisory services are being answered by our upcoming panel study. Stay tuned! http://bit.ly/1pGGYQt

 

Why wealth managers should consider to add Pinterest and Instagram to their digital portfolio

Wednesday, February 10th, 2016

In our latest research report “Social Media for Wealth Management – Learning from the Best”, we analyzed the social media presences and their popularity of more than 200 wealth managers from around the globe. Our intention was to find out who is the most popular wealth manager on the main networks (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube) and to identify major success factors that led to high numbers of likes, followers, and subscribers. Additionally, we took a closer look at Pinterest and Instagram to analyze how wealth managers handle the visual social networks’ specific features, user base, and conventions. While most wealth managers nowadays have an account on Facebook and Twitter, only very few are active on Pinterest and/or Instagram. However, there are clear benefits derived from the industry best practices, they should not ignore:

(Potential) clients see their ‘human face’. Showing the staff, vernissages, branch openings, and sport events visually brings you closer to your clients – and those users who might be clients in the future. Online users like to get the full picture and look behind the scenes and photo and video sharing networks are great platforms that allow wealth managers to offer that.

Great customer support. We’ve seen terrific examples that offered helpful infographics on their Pinterest board, containing FAQs or information on mobile and online offerings. That way, customer support is expanded and presented in an easy-to-understand and engaging way.

Company updates. Posting news and upcoming events helps to keep clients informed about what is going on and makes sure that they don’t miss anything. Especially for HNW clients in might be highly interesting to meet with peers on their wealth managers’ events. Knowledge exchange and networking are additional advantages that help to strengthen your brand and reputation.

Actually, we found few but great examples of well-performing wealth management presences on Pinterest and Instagram. While Instagram is clearly U.S. dominated, wealth managers on Pinterest show a more mixed picture. You can find the case studies for the most impressing wealth management presences on Instagram and Pinterest in our latest report.

 
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