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Alexa, How's My Retirement Account Doing?

In our post last week, we explored three factors we think will drive industry innovation and decision-making for individual firms in 2019. This week, we’re revisiting those themes in a different context. Last week’s post focused on each high level trend and what it means at the industry and firm level. Since 2018 was called “The Year of the Customer” across industries—and we don’t see that emphasis changing any time soon—this week’s post will explore those same trends from the perspective of the customer.

1. Increased focus on electronic communications between advisors and investors

By 2019, it’s a given that consumers will have access to their advisors and your firm via digital channels. IFS is taking this trend up a knotch and focusing on total client digital enablement with our platform. We're entering a new era where investors should be empowered to self-service but have access (electronically or otherwise) to advisors when they want it. Client digital enablement was a huge focus at IFS last year and will continue to be in 2019.

2. Use of Artificial Intelligence & Robotic Processing Automation

While viable applications of AI and RPA for the financial services industry are still being uncovered, consumers are using these technologies (sometimes unknowingly) in their day-to-day life. By 2022, the smart home market is forecasted to be valued at more than $53 million. Amazon Echo products, Google Homes, Nest thermostats, and other “smart” gadgets dominated 2018 holiday gift guides. If consumers can ask Alexa to play music, coach them through recipes, lock their front door, and change the temperature in the house, they are going to start expecting the same convenience from their financial advisors, wealth managers, brokerage firms and insurance companies. And the possibilities are endless:

Alexa, am I still on track to retire at 65?

Alexa, how much have we saved for our daughter’s wedding?

Alexa, Transfer $5000 from my investment account to my checking account…

3. Operational Efficiency

In last week's post, we deemed 2019 "the year of the back office." And while we truly believe back offices will see more efficiency, accuracy and transparency this year, it won't come without immediate benefits for your end comsumer. To that end, we also predicted that better operational efficiency will come in the form of unified digital ecosystems, where multiple products will be integrated and connected. Not only will this bring greater operational efficiency for your back office, but it will enhance efficiency and experiences for your customers.

So what?

Tides are changing. The uncertainty around market conditions, combined with greater customer expectations, is putting unprecedented pressure on financial services firms. In order to compete, firms must lower costs, increase value and modernize operations and customer experience. The good news? It's now easier than ever to achieve these objectives thanks to IFS's flexible, scalable platform. If you're wondering how your firm is going to stay competitive in 2019, get in touch with us now.

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