For several years, there has been an influx of digital tools transforming the way people approach wealth management. Today’s digital and mobile financial technology enables users to receive the latest financial news, manage their budgets and investments, and even receive personalized financial advice via artificial intelligence and programmed algorithms. While financial services have been largely untouched by waves of disruption, the evolving strategies of startup wealth management companies like Mint and Betterment are shaping up to be real competitors for incumbent players, forcing traditional wealth management firms to play catchup.
But more “fin-tech” won’t necessarily bridge these gaps for the next generation of investors. Rather, financial services firms need to explore tools that are designed for an emerging customer base that expects a new kind of wealth management experience—one that is transparent, collaborative and most importantly, personalized. The new generation of investors want solutions based on their life goals and events—older millennials starting families want to know how they can save up for a house, and gen Z’ers looking at the mounting national student loan debt want to understand how they can pay for college. The next generation not only expects this personalized information, but they want it free and accessible across all digital platforms.
frog recently tapped into the personalized wealth management experience with Charlie—a personable and approachable finance chatbot that works via SMS to encourage healthier spending and saving habits. By using the thoughtfully designed “prodigy penguin” as an avatar for this kind of advice, Charlie is an example of empathetic wealth management powered by AI that appeals to a new generation of investors that want judgment-free advice and counseling on their finances. We achieved this by working closely with the startup team to define who Charlie is, how Charlie looks and feels, and how Charlie behaves, enabling users to have a cohesive and personalized wealth management experience. Relying on sentiment analysis and natural language processing rather than exact wording, frog created a ‘relationship model framework’ that defines how Charlie and users learn from each other. frog codified the depth of the relationship that Charlie can build with each user, and how helpful he is being. After just 10 months on the market, Charlie received $9 million in Series A funding led by BBVA’s Propel Venture Partners, proving that tradition financial services firms are already looking to startup models for solutions.
Charlie demonstrates the role technology can play in helping to bridge the wealth management gap. However, the next generation of investors is going to need more than fancy fin-tech and state-of-the-art UX. For financial services firms operating in today’s digital world, the stakes have never been higher for gaining customers’ trust, which will force firms to rethink their approach to entire offerings.
Along with innovation and design tools, a human touch is still imperative in breaking down barriers of trust in the digital landscape. To do this, companies need to understand their customer experience, which includes all touchpoints clients have with a company. Wealth management firms can no longer afford to view their clients as accounts and instead must view them as people with complex and emotional financial lives and ambitions. Advisors need to be present at all times and across all platforms, devices and channels.
Financial Lead and Head of Strategy, Toshi Mogi believes that the client-financial advisor relationship needs to be critically rethought and even suggests that social media could play a critical role in this transformation:
With frog’s extensive experience in helping make financial services more personal through user-centric design, we are helping our clients forge ahead to define the future of wealth management and investment with better experiences powered by smarter, more empathetic fin-tech.