In the realm of financial products and technology, what used to be reserved for only the highest net-worth clients is now available to the masses. The secret algorithms and information that generated superior returns are now table stakes and available for balances that include only one comma, rather than the two or three they once did. Some of the “ready for the masses” in 2017 include:
- Asset Allocation Models and access to the smartest portfolios in the world in the form of intelligent accounts and super granular ETFs
- Account Aggregation and Portfolio Performance Reporting – it is now a “throw in” in many low or no cost platforms
- The ability to choose and invest in “best of breed” products all in one onboarding event/experience
- Automatic Rebalancing and Tax Harvesting – all you need to do is set a few sliders on your iPhone app and you are all set-up to take advantage of these advanced approaches to managing your assets – with no extra charge
Best of all? You don’t need to get an introduction to an exclusive club or have a pile of cash to take advantage of these investment tools. These functions are accessible with just a minimal balance.
It is all about Client and Advisor Experience
It is easier than ever for both clients and advisors to “vote with their feet” and work with the firm or the people that they like the best. The technology and open platforms are allowing movement like never before. At the same time, the open systems and availability of “best in breed” solutions from many solution providers provide clients and advisors many good reasons to stay – if a certain feature isn’t available today – just wait a little while, we can get it wired in.
Here are some things that we saw last year and will continue to see in terms of customer and advisor experience:
- Online and paperless – We’ve seen it all when it comes to the processes and documents required to transition a person from paper/physical to browser or app-based experiences. This will continue in the financial services world – IFS is working hard to push the limits of online and paperless processes, while still providing the same level of security, auditing, and compliance that exists across our broker or call-center focused processes.
- Mass customization – The cry of the client is: “I want what I want, how I want it, you should know that.” With platforms like Google Ads, Facebook, and others, there is a wealth of knowledge about the client, their products, preferences and habits. This should allow the financial solution to be much smarter, and your interactions with the client to be free of complications and complexity. IFS is in the business of building solutions that are dynamic and adapt to the client, transaction, account types, available actions, and applicable regulatory requirements, masking the great complexity that we know often still exists in reality.
- Adapt, adapt, adapt – With the ongoing consolidation, partnerships, and new entrants in financial technology, the flexibility of the underlying platform will be a make-or-break wager to stay competitive. We continue to strive to provide new opportunities to leverage your existing investment by extending the platform with APIs, frequent releases, and a robust dialog with our clients about improvements and enhancements that allow rapid and iterative improvement, because there is no other option!
Happy New Years – Power to the People!