As the digital world moves to a more adaptive environment, harnessing disruptive trends in finance is becoming pivotal to success. In the very near future – as soon as yesterday – these trends have the ability to shape the industry. We had the opportunity to completely redevelop and rethink a well established Swiss Investment firm, LB Swiss Investments. The goal was to harness new disruptive technologies and bring them worlds ahead of the curve.
Why Disruptive Innovation Matters
Disruptive innovation is generally caused by the creative use and introduction of new technologies into various industries. These technologies enable new products or services or change the way we interact with them. This change is often permanent, considering that most these disruptions provide greater simplicity, accuracy, ease of access, and customization…all while driving down costs . New benchmarks are set every time a new tool disrupts the industry.
This process has happened countless times in every market, for as long as there has been a market to speak of. But disruptive technologies have grown exponentially in recent years. Just 10 years ago, smartphones were a mere blip on the radar. Today, they drive connection and market decisions in almost every industry. Apps, mobile browsing, social media tech – all similar examples.
Disruptive innovation does not level the playing field – it changes the field altogether. The key is to capitalize and lead these innovations towards the future you’d like to see.
The wealth management industry is ripe for change
The wealth management industry finds itself near the perfect point for disruption. Regulatory burdens are increasing, which is creating new challenges for investors and advisors to navigate to get the returns they expect.
Robo advisors and big data are entering the scene, and can truly shape how wealth is managed in the years to come. Advisors are also retiring, leaving a gap in the industry that adds another variable to the mix. Watching how new advisors harness available information and technologies is going to be a big indicator of their success.
One of the largest factors to consider here is that wealth is changing hands. The older generations of investors had a particular mindset, and many of the industry trends were based on how to manage relationships and portfolios with a specific clientele. As the shift happens, more and more money is being put in the hands of the younger generation – a very different breed of (self directed) investors.
The new investor
They may wear a similar suit as the old investor, but their reality is worlds away.
The new investor is shaped by change. They know financial crisis, bursting bubbles, a huge recession, and uncertain markets well. This may be why they are also wary of financial advice. This may also make them see risk as a downside instead of simply a volatility, making prevention a huge part of talks with them.
The new investor thinks differently about financial advice than older generations, and will certainly change the game in the coming years. The new investor wants holistic advice. They don’t have singular goals; they have multiple goals, spanning generations at times. Longevity is on their mind. They are not worried about retirement; they want to know what the plan is 50 years after retirement.
The new investor no longer wants to be treated as a “color by numbers painting” based on generic portfolio options. They want a unique experience, shaped exactly to what they need as an individual. And the company that gives them that is in the lead.
Likewise, the new investor wants to be in the driver’s seat. Nothing says security like being in control of your own financial future, and they know it. The new investor is highly researched, educated, and ready to bite off as much as they can handle when it comes to taking a vested interest in their own portfolio.
They are skeptical of authority figures, believing more in group thought and the wisdom of a peer group. They will likely seek out multiple opinions from industry leaders, other financial advisors, and internet sources before making any step forward.
Mobile shapes the new investor. A decade of access to the smartphone and attachment to the wealth of knowledge in the internet means the new investor expects to be able to access their information at any time from the palm of their hand, and with a rich, unencumbered experience.
The new investor is controlling an increasing share of assets day after day, and they are shaping the new standard in the finance industry. Many advisors have been slow to adopt the tools that will give them the edge, or have neglected these tools altogether – and suffering client relationships are often their reward.
So the question remains: how are you catering to their future?
Firms will naturally be changing their approach to these new investors. The focus is shifting away from singular investors with a focus on retirement and their more immediate needs. The new firm looks towards creating and building multi-generational relationships with their clients and families to establish themselves firmly in the industry’s tomorrow.
Adaptation is the other important concept for firms to master. The new investors and their interests are fluid, and firms should adapt to meet the changing expectations of this shifting mentality.
The 2008 crisis is a decade behind us, but its full impact on the industry is still being revealed. The regulatory environment is getting more complex, and firms must also keep themselves and their customers aware of the impact these changes will have on their activity. Proper digital redesign plants a firm firmly in the needs of their clients while still keeping both the firms and regulatory agencies in mind.
The role of the regulator is to be sure firms are in compliance and keeping a proper structure in place to keep it that way. Digital can help a business meet these expectations with ease, increasing ease of access for regulators and simplifying the transitions to keep the company in compliance as new changes occur. Regulators will also ensure that any outsourced activity is in compliance.
Cybersecurity is another concern digital can help with. Seemingly constant digital attacks keep the industry wary of the issue. Agencies want to make sure controls are well thought out and comply with the latest safety regulations. Digital redesign with this in mind increases transparency to both protect businesses and make their security obvious to regulators.
Bottom line: A redesign focused on user experience that keeps both firm interaction and regulations in mind will plant you firmly in the future of wealth management.
Putting it into practice; Redesigning the LB Swiss Investments site
When LB Swiss came to us with the need to re-identify themselves in an industry on the brink of disruption, we knew exactly what had to be done.
The website took a clean minimalist approach, with a heavy focus on user experience. The front page immediately puts faces to the names clients will interact with. The intuitive navigation path gives the user the easiest direction to their chosen content.
One of the key features of the site is a fully customizable private dashboard. This takes all of a fund managers investments and puts them in one easily recognized and organized location. The fund information is broken down into simple slides which are perfect for scanning, each slide based on one core concept. This provides an intuitive way to arrange information for different needs and receive crucial investment alerts.
Of course, this was a mobile first strategy. Our approach incorporated the latest mobile technology that synergizes perfectly with dashboard and browser. The app boasts the same intuitive interface, and takes a fluid approach to interaction. While a few choice menu options stay locked on the screen at all times, the user moves effortlessly between different aspects of the app such as messaging, dashboard info, and alerts.
The end result is an entirely new and innovative mark on the industry. From the clean, simplistic appearance on the outside to the multi-layered, deep content within, the site offers both investors and partners a single point of access into the expansive potential of one of the foremost alternative investment managers.
Why do redesigns like this matter?
As even the most stubborn of thinkers will now admit – mobile is the force shaping the future. Yet somehow, there are many modern companies still treating mobile as a second rate medium.
On top of this, many companies are having identity crises. New companies come out of the mill seemingly every day, and standing out in a saturated market is a pain at best. Yet standing out is key to success.
Accessibility is a big factor in the market now as well. Where past generations and websites in some fields like finance were able to get away with cumbersome websites due to a largely patient user, the human brain is hardwired for the simple. Intuitive and accessible are the names of the game.
To adapt to the waves of change shaping the industry, websites should look to approach changes holistically. Focus on the simplistic which appeals to all; while still offering the depth of the sites full potential. Giving the user an intuitive experience makes it feel as if the site is a familiar part of them, rather than a cumbersome new tool to navigate.
Focusing on getting in the minds of the new investor should be priority number one in the finance industry. The disruptive trends in investor services are hinged upon the new generation moving the industry forward.
At the end of the day, you decide if your company will be a part of the future. Capitalizing on disruptive innovation in investor services can seem complicated I know, however, it will push companies to new heights, invigorate staff and clients and move your goals forward.
Need a place to start? Contact me for a free consult.