HOW LONG WILL CONSUMERS OF FINANCIAL SERVICES WAIT?
Mathieu Ghanem, Global Head of Sales and Marketing for ADSS.
Through 2018 there was a lot of talk about the role technology will have in financial services. When cryptocurrencies were increasing in value the cry was for the faster implementation of tech, but as soon as digital assets lost value the ‘bears’ appeared to tell us that any changes would damage the industry.
What these opposing views failed to understand is that consumers, the financial services clients of the future, are embracing technology and they are the drivers for change. This audience has quickly and easily assimilated technology into all parts of their lives, and will do the same with investments and trading products. The new customers have completely different digital expectations.
Whether they are taking an Uber, ordering from Amazon or watching content via Netflix, the consumers have adopted new ways of accessing products and services. Blockchain, AI and algorithms are making the same changes to the world of finance. There are still a few people in the industry who stand at the side of the road and wait for a taxi, go into town to shop, or rush home so they do not miss their favourite TV programme, but they are not the people who will take the financial services sector forward.
The customers you are working with want and expect technology to provide them with an improved experience. They expect to be able to share data with you and for this to be used to provide the service they want. Failing to offer this will damage your business. In simple terms you will be left behind.
At ADSS we understand that the implementation and use of new technology is absolutely essential to the future of investment and trading. For eight years, from the formation of the company, we have been investing in technology and know that this is the way forward. We have always been customer-centric and now, more than ever, this means that clients expect us to be able to capture appropriate sets of data and apply sophisticated analytics to obtain the best insights to guide their trading.
The issue for our industry is that no-one is one hundred per cent certain which technology will succeed. We all know that change is going to happen but the final form this will take is still unknown. In a recent survey Fujitsu suggested that the levels of uncertainty around future technology means that business leaders around the world favour a co-ordinated, global approach led by intergovernmental bodies and governments. This is the message we are hearing from the large global retail and investment banks. They understand the amazing levels of change the new technology gives, but want to invest in the right systems.
The call for governments to be involved is obvious as they would be responsible for developing the regulations which control the use of the technology and through this standardise the systems, or the way systems interact. Across all of our operations we have always advocated strong regulation to create a level playing field for firms, and can see the advantages of having national involvement in defining how new fintech should be introduced. However, we also know that we cannot wait for this to happen, consumers need us to keep investing in our systems.
For us we have looked at the introduction of technology based on our own requirements and criteria. Next generation technology has to provide four interlinked deliverables – security, access, transparency and advantage. The tech has to do everything we expect today and a lot more. It has to be informed, fast and safe giving genuine trading benefits to the people who use it and, because this is a very competitive market, it has to be able to reward loyalty.
Cryptocurrencies have changed peoples’ approach to investments. They are now trading digital assets, and want the same access, control and visibility applied to traditional markets. This means that technology has to change the products and services they are buying.
Trading will always be very personal but the new breed of investors want AI and algorithm-based intelligent platforms. They trust these to provide them with the investment options they want. They require fast and easy access to markets from intelligent apps, with access to the latest assets. Social marketing and information is 24/7 and firms need to provide services which meet the demands of these new clients who understand how to make technology part of their decision-making process.
This approach is leading to the democratisation of trading. Many new investors have the required skills and want to trade direct to the market, they do not want to go through an intermediary. If they cannot directly handle the trade themselves they want to know that, through the latest technology, they still have the best options to place an order. This new audience will not sit around waiting for a broker to call them back. They will trade when they want, where they want. And, they will need to be rewarded for their loyalty.
Putting in the necessary regulation for AI through to blockchain may be the preferred option and the way we would all like to see this sector develop. However, the new audience which is trading today and in the future will not sit around waiting for the relevant authorities to decide what is best. They are already online, accessing the information in the way that they want, and looking for firms to provide the assets and services they require.