MyPrivateBanking Blog
Daily Comments on the World of Wealth Management

Archive for May, 2014

“WhatsApp in Wealth Management? –five reasons why private banks should pay attention to messaging apps”

Monday, May 26th, 2014

Early this year WhatsApp has been acquired by Facebook for 19 bn USD - not without reason this acquisition has been well above estimated company value. Signs are good that WhatsApp will grow the current 450 million subscribers to reach 1 billion. The mobile app has been initially a mere alternative to SMS but has grown to become a blend of messenger and social media channel. Other messenger apps like WeChat (a strong contender in Asia) or Skype are also throwing their hat in the ring.

But what can private banks and wealth managers learn from WhatsApp and other messenger apps?

  • Convenience. Clients are using the WhatsApp messenger as it is convenient to follow conversations, send pictures and because they immediately get notice if someone is available. Allowing clients to contact their advisor whenever she is online is a powerful tool. Wealth managers should go and fetch it.
  • It’s not a teenager thing anymore. Social media channels in general enjoyed a reputation of being only for a young audience. This age barrier has vanished and more and more older users are being drawn into using apps, social media and messenger features.
  • WhatsApp is planning a telephone function and will in general broaden its functionality. Besides the possibility to conveniently chat or leave messages to advisor/ client soon a telephone function will be broadly available for the app - making the application more flexible than it is already today.
  • Messaging is not email. The hurdle to write an email is way higher compared to messaging, which combines the benefits of chat functions with the option to leave emails. There is no need for all flowery phrases for every message you write. Its fast, it’s fun, it’s what clients want.
  • Everybody knows it. Some wealth managers provide their own contact functions via app – that’s great and important. But WhatsApp is already known by the customer. Allow clients to stay in their comfort zone without having to learn a new technology. Most likely your relationship managers use it already, too.

Wealth managers and private banks need to think about how to leverage mobile messenger technology for their own business. It can be by using existing popular messengers like WhatsApp for some communication. Another option is the integration of similar messaging features in existing banking apps. And keep in mind: these options are not mutually exclusive.

 

3 Key-Take-Aways from the M-days in Frankfurt

Wednesday, May 14th, 2014

1. Innovative mobile payment solutions lack backing of strong trustworthy names. I just listened to an interesting panel discussion about mobile payments. There are now tons of interesting and great innovative solutions (examples are Apple’s iBeacon based and  NFC based solutions from various innovative start-ups like barcoo or netsize) but they are still lacking the backing of the big financial players. And this is the only way the consumer will accept new payment solutions. So start-ups - get the big banks and financial players involved!

2. Experience first: customers download apps for testing them - when they don’t fulfill customer’s expectations, the apps will be dropped. The implication here is simple: first, attract your clients by an excellent app description in the app store, screenshots and a strong marketing strategy and second, bind your customers through cool features, really helpful tools and a great user experience. This sounds simple - but many banks fail on it as our latest report testifies.

3. Mobile websites and responsive design gain momentum: the development of native apps is expensive and time-consuming. Testing is required as well as integrating feedback from the users. The advantages of responsive design are numerous. Besides enhancing SEO and ensuring a unified look and feel across multiple devices, there is no hurdle for potential customers to use the mobile websites of a bank since no apps need to be downloaded. It’s easy and flexible without requiring huge investments. Will browser based mobile solutions beat native apps in the short run? No, definitely not. Will it be a serious option in the longer run? Definitely yes, particularly for mobile solutions that do not require great design and all the bells & whistles of an expensive native app.

 

5 (bad) reasons why fund managers are not giving mobile apps to their clients

Friday, May 9th, 2014

For the upcoming report on Mobile Apps for Fund Management, which will be published within the next two weeks, MyPrivateBanking’s analysts evaluated 21 apps from 20 fund management companies worldwide. Surprisingly, the first difficulty came up right at the start of the evaluation process: finding a sufficient number of fund managers who provide an app for their own funds was hard. Most billion dollar fund firms don’t bother to provide mobile apps to the investors of their funds. But why is that the case?

· Fund managers feel that investors don’t need to check their funds frequently, so what’s the use of an app?

· The finance industry as a whole is not really known for its fast adaptation to digital trends – and fund managers are showing a particularly hesitant attitude.

· Fund managers believe that intermediaries are doing their jobs of promoting their funds anyway – so why bothering oneself with an ‘extra’ platform like an app?

· Fund managers think that their good ol’ websites are already sufficiently satisfying their customers’ informational needs.

· Fund managers fear that another communication channel makes their compliance situation even more complex. So why not skip the mobile channel completely?

Should these arguments and barriers be taken seriously or how strong is the case for fund managers’ mobile apps? Don’t miss our upcoming report….

 

How retailers embrace omni-channel strategies and what banks can learn from them

Monday, May 5th, 2014

When walking into a Walgreens store (a large pharmacy chain in the US) it is likely that an electronic coupon pops up on your smartphone which advertises the local goods while showing you where to find them in the store. At Macy’s, a major department store chain in the US, customers have access to free WiFi and are able to scan QR codes of products to review online product descriptions, uncensored customer reviews or see for which range it is worth coming back to the store the next week.

Those are only two examples for the brave new world of omni-channel consumer experiences. Be it from home at the desktop computer, on the go with the mobile phone or at the brick and mortar store around the corner, the tech-savvy consumers expect everything to be readily available at their fingertips. According to Google already 90% of mobile users use different devices sequentially to accomplish a task over time. And as the industry evolves toward a seamless omni-channel retailing experience, the distinctions between physical and online will vanish, turning the world into one big showroom without walls. Location based services, augmented reality and social media integration showcase that the opportunities are endless.

Banks and financial institutions however, still seem to have difficulties making first steps towards an omni-channel strategy that basically requires finding a platform that helps to keep messages consistent across different touch points and devices. This is one of the major results of our upcoming report “Mobile Apps for Banking 2014 – from Multi-Channel to Mobile First”. Only a few years ago many banks have made significant investments in Multi-Channel concepts and today they seem to be hesitant to switch quickly to a mostly mobile based strategy. But consumers demand to carry their bank branch in the pocket and therefore it seems unlikely that banks can avoid the mobile re-invention of their business.

 
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