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Archive for December, 2013

Top 10 Tech-Trends in Mobile & Digital Banking 2014

Monday, December 23rd, 2013

Trying to stay ahead of the curve when it comes to technological development is a challenging task. In 2013 rapid movement has affected the finance industry landscape: mobile banking has established itself as a regular touch-point for customers, mobile payments have exploded and banks are wrestling big data more than ever. We have surveyed our analyst team to note down in short the most important technology trends for the banking industry in the post-PC era for 2014:

10) One interface for all channels
As digital touch points evolve, users’ tendencies to contact financial services online will grow alongside. Using a variety of different devices is one consequence. Financial providers, therefore, will have to create a uniform experience across all channels, with the same level of real-time responsiveness and personal service.

9) Financial Education goes gaming
For reaching the generation that grew up with computer games, banks will have to come up with innovative approaches. One possibility is to put the fun in finance: offering a variety of games that playfully educate not only children, but also adults.

8 ) Slimming the wallet
In the future banking technologies will mainly focus on reducing complexity and enhancing user experience. One of these gadgets will literally show how to slim your wallet: One example is the technology from start-up “Coin” based in San Francisco: the electronic card that stores multiple cards on one Bluetooth device, can merge all your credit and debit cards with the support of an adapter and a mobile app.

7) “What’s App” inspires communication channels within apps
Chat functions modeled after the popular “What’s App” will enter banking apps. Connecting with your advisor will be easier, more personal and convenient than ever. Provided banking app developers hear the call.

6) Voice command on the rise
Some banks have already come up with features that allow, for example, voice recognition for log-ins or entering simple commands. Banking apps will take this one step further and remove the need to use buttons, dials and switches completely.

5) Windows Mobile gaining market share
Of all of the leading operating systems, Windows Mobile obtained the largest year-on-year growth worldwide. A result primarily driven by the support of Nokia. Nevertheless, Windows Mobile is likely to become the 3rd most important platform next year to distribute financial apps.

4) Demand for digital advisors
Digital advisor tools will become an important part of the digital channels of bank. These include budgeting or financial planning tools, and also complex instruments for risk assessment and investment decision making are up and coming. Besides improving user experience through interactive features and personalization options, these tools create a unique overview and understanding of the user’s personal finances. Supporting customers to strengthen their own financial know-how might replace the personal advisor in some cases, but will open up valuable insights into customer behavior and increase loyalty in the long run.

3) Wearable banking
As the first banking apps for Google Glass roll out, potential customers are already excited. Wearable gadgets that allow various services through voice command or simple touch are coming to life. Although still in their infancy, these technologies will progress and soon your watch will call out when your credit card account is maxing out.

2) Digital Currencies gain Legitimacy
Although there remain serious doubts about virtual money, currencies like Bitcoin, Litecoin and co. will gain popularity and legitimacy, and not just within the virtual economy. The arena is moving from online gaming platforms to real-life goods and will gain widespread use with online retailers and potentially even with banks. Will your digital channel enable Bitcoin payments soon?

1) Big Data: generating value from app-user information
The financial technology landscape is evolving, and so is competition, complexity and the amount of data processed and generated every day. Particularly, information derived from mobile users has a high potential and will generate new insights. Banks will thereby be able to create completely new products and differentiate themselves on the market.

We wish all our clients and readers relaxing holidays and a happy, successful New Year!

 

Personalization – success factor in bank’s social media strategy

Friday, December 6th, 2013

The world was amazed when Richard Branson, CEO and founder of countless consumer ventures, started to tweet three years ago about his company, events and his personal life. Branson was one of the first CEOs who broke with the common practice that high ranking representatives of companies should stay out of social media. The legendary entrepreneur started tweeting and many were to follow.

Large banking groups and multinational wealth managers feel the challenge to give their firm a human face in age of digital ubiquity. Personal contact with clients, to build or launch relationships, is invaluable especially for wealth managers. With more people spending more time at their desktops, notebooks and mobile devices in the big 5 social networks offline personal contact becomes a scarce good. However, social media offer new opportunities to get close and personal to client. But corporate social media presences and company profiles on social media are not sufficient to foster a real personal relationship on a social network. Only individuals can offer that human touch: Why not follow my personal financial advisor via her Facebook updates? Why not talk to my wealth manager´s CEO via Twitter? Why not ask my bank’s head of the investment committee about the latest economic insights on LinkedIN?

Personalized social media refer to social media channels on either the local/regional level such as country, state or branch level and personal social media presences linked to one person such as a CEO, CIO, or a regular personal financial advisor. These presences bridge the gap between wealth manager and client.

The global wealth manager UBS allows clients to take a closer look at CEO Jürg Zeltner via his personalized blog on the website. Users get information about his career and development within the bank, can listen to his podcasts and read his regular updates.

Alan Higgins, UK CIO of the English wealth manager Coutts, is remarkably active on his Twitter channel. Besides financial market updates he also tweets about cultural events or “best movie of…” list. Moreover, Higgins pays attention to his users by responding quickly and casually to comments to his tweets. A lively Twitter account with high value for customers and a real personal touch are the results.

An outstanding example for local level presences is also German Commerzbank which serves its customers with channels on Facebook for its Hamburg and Munich branches. Customers can get information about opening times, the local team and contact options. The social media team invites users to local events to get to know the bank bridging the online-offline customer experience.

One can imagine many more ways to use social media as a tool to personalize the client experience. It’s up to the financial institutions to leverage this opportunity despite regulatory and other hurdles that might limit the specific content a bank can publish over social media channels.

Our new report on Social Media for Wealth Management 2013: The Train is Leaving


 

GooglePlus: the stepchild of private banks’ social media

Monday, December 2nd, 2013

In our recently published report on social media for wealth management, our analysts included Google+ in their evaluation of wealth managers’ activities on the ‘big 5′ of social media platforms. Launched in June 2011, Google+ not only caught up with Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube but even reached the second place in user activity after overtaking Twitter, by the mid of 2013. With 34% of all Internet users being present on Google+, only Facebook with 46% is still capable of defending its first position.

Given these developments the findings of our analysts are somewhat striking since the overall performance of the 30 evaluated private banks on Google+ is in clear contrast to its increasing importance. On average only 22% offer a Google+ presence. While the consensus still seems to be that being present on the other social media platforms is important, Google+ will gain influence rapidly. Why?

- Because the trend clearly depicts it: after 88 days Google+ had 50 million users. Facebook reached that after 3 years.

- Because it belongs to Google: presences on Google+ definitely have an advantage on Google Search results.

- Because it’s different: information is posted in real-time, without being limited to either space or channel. It gives a more professional impression than Facebook and has more interactive features than LinkedIn.

- Because of selectivity: information can be spread to the right persons through segmenting posts by ‘circles’ (note: Facebook has introduced a similar feature).

- Because of YouTube: Google’s other big social network YouTube, the most important social video platform, is strongly linked to Google+ - moreover, a Google+ account now even is required to sign in for YouTube.

- Because of smart features: Hangouts can be used not only for private chats but also for webinars, directly being posted on YouTube, or conference calls with up to 10 participants.

What is the take away for wealth managers’ social media strategy? Google+ must not be underrated. As the stepchild of social media is growing up, it should be taken seriously - underestimating its influence might carry the danger of lagging behind in the competition for the eyeballs of your clients and prospective clients.

 
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