Wealthtech Insights from In|Vest 2019

What’s going on in the world of wealthtech? The recent In|Vest 2019 Conference was largely about tech and how it’s disrupting the financial services industry. In this post, we’ve compiled some of the best conference recaps, as well as some great articles about the current state of technology for financial professionals.

In|Vest 2019 Conference Recap

A conference about wealth-technology-enabled client experience, this event really drove home the idea that “technology isn't going to replace advisors, but it will replace advisors who don't use technology.”

With industry-leading speakers, the event attracted 1,500 attendees - the most In|Vest has ever seen - with ticket holders comprising wealth managers, venture capitalists, consultants, wealthtech providers, and financial advisors alike.

Major takeaways from the conference:

  1. Client Experience: The Key to Differentiation and Premium Pricing In a world of financial tech tools, it’s important for advisors to stand out by offering a top of the line customer experience. Jason Gordo, Michael Kitces, Bernie Clark, and Chelsea Emery were among the speakers for this topic.

  2. And the winning model is....Hybrid Advice

  3. Incumbent Financial Institution / FinTech Partnering

  4. Big Data and AI Wealth Management Use Cases Are Ready For Their Close-Up

  5. RIAs Continue to Lead the Way

For photos from the conference and a detailed description of the takeaways, click here.

In|Vest 2019: Does Digital Make a Difference?

While In|Vest had a record turnout, it’s apparent that the topic of tech remains contentious, as Bernie Clark of Schwab faced backlash at the conference and a debate ensued.

Oisin Breen covers all the bases in this article, where he shares the highlights from the debate between Schwab and Edmond Walters, Barry Ritholtz, Martin Small, and Lauren Radcliffe. Small and Walters argued that digital wiring alone isn’t enough to differentiate, emphasizing the need for hybrid advice:

"[Advisors] make these things happen, we make [clients] get the wealth, we make them save the money ... [we're] the catalyst to get things done." - Walters

For the full rundown of the debate, click here.

The Future of Advice is Hybrid

CEO and founder of Betterment Jon Stein was one of the speakers at In|Vest. His talk centered around the future of investing and the role of roboadvisors, arguing that they have a long way to go. Founded in 2010, Betterment works to help an underserved market and currently manages over $16 Billion in client assets.

“Investing is not built for real people or saving for retirement. And we have an obligation because pensions are gone,” Stein says. “We’re creating real benefits for a defined benefit world.”

Andrew Welsch breaks down the discussion on hybrid advice models from the conference, stating that Stein’s market share is growing as more financial advice firms work to add a roboadvisor component to their offerings.

Voya Financial, Charles Schwab, Vanguard, and Bank of America Merrill Lynch have all introduced roboadvisors, and Barry Ritholtz has just entered into a partnership with Betterment to work on improving their digital services.

So who will write the wealth industry’s future? Find out in this article.

The Great Unbundling of Wealth Management

The financial services industry is forever changing - innovating, working to keep up with and implement new technology, and ultimately to keep its customers happy. This is where unbundling comes in to play.

[T]he financial services industry has always been entangled with product manufacturing, packaging, distribution and the resulting shared profitability in non-transparent ways. As such, investors are not always aware of what they are paying for each component — and this is why there’s been such a rallying cry recently by investor advocates and regulators for more visibility into the investment management process.

Industry service providers continue to cut down on their client offerings, providing more of the services that clients want, and removing the services that they won’t or don’t use - or at least provide them on an a la carte basis. As such, fee-based advisors are becoming increasingly popular. For more on TAMPing down and how unbundling will change the future of financial advice, read the full article here.

How Wealth Managers Are Using Technology To Understand Their Clients Better

The use of tech and AI is on the rise and the financial services sector continues to implement, adjust, and adapt.

What does AI mean for advisors? A new report from Temenos and Forbes Insights, surveying more than 300 wealth managers and more than 100 high net-worth individuals, sheds some light.

Almost half (45%) of wealth managers said that financial guidance from data analysis—and insights from the use of AI—will help them refine the advice they give to clients. And 36% said clients will be able to see their investments with greater clarity as a result of AI.

Tech is allowing wealth managers to see the big picture when it comes to clients’ accounts, enabling them to better assess clients’ individual needs. AI is also removing redundant and simple tasks from advisor task lists, freeing up their time and allowing them to focus their efforts on client service. You can read the full survey results and find out more about how technology is changing the financial services industry here.

Raghav Sharma