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By Christina Di Nolfo, Head of Solutions at Delta Capita


More than in any other profession in financial services, wealth managers and financial brokers are heavily dependent on personal interaction with their clients. While digital transformation has been on the agenda of many individual advisors for years, the pandemic revealed the painful inefficiencies of legacy communication models.

Studies from YChart mirrored the communication gap just a year prior to the lockdown. 75% of clients want proactive communication from their wealth manager or advisor. But nearly half of clients with over $500,000 or more in AUM said they received infrequent communications, with those with less than $500,000 invested, receiving even less of their advisor’s time.

Consequently, finance professionals have been quick to try out any communication software from Zoom to Slack to WhatsApp. However, these programs were not made for financial advisors, making adhering to compliance standards more complicated than ever and raising security concerns.

Christina Di Nolfo

Let’s take Zoom as a quick example. Whilst Zoom is a great communication tool and one which many of us are all too familiar with, it is only meant for video calls and is not a comprehensive communication platform. The Federal Trade Commission discovered that Zoom’s end-to-end encrypted (E2EE) wasn’t what it appeared to be. Instead of calls being E2EE between participants, the data was only encrypted between each meeting participant and Zoom’s servers – meaning it was not truly end-to-end encrypted.

But it’s not just Zoom. Any application not built with compliance in mind is a risk for your business and your customer.

A customisable, compliant, and fully interactive client portal for the digital wealth advisor or financial broker is essential to streamline communications and maintain compliance. But what does that look like?


The Wealth Manager of the Future

Customer experience is everything, and the wealth manager of the future can already benefit from an end to end digital customer journey platform. Imagine if you could:

  1. Onboard new clients in minutes
  2. Push secure content to your client on their chosen device
  3. Record every minute of your meeting, even as you switch between video, chat, screen shares, and more
  4. Collect signatures and obtain consent instantaneously
  5. Accept PCI compliant payments directly from your portal
  6. Provide disclosures and other vital documentation for clients
  7. Collect customer documentation in real time such as ID and proof of address

All of this is possible through Klarion, our end-to-end engagement portal. Completely customisable, Klarion offers an entirely digital process designed for the optimal user experience. Clients are not required to download complex software. Instead, they only need to click on a secure link that you send to them via email or SMS.

Klarion enables you to verify identities in real-time, manage essential sensitive data, accept payments, engage in a video call and more. And you don’t need to worry about compliance. Not only does our solution log every interaction and timestamp it within an end-to-end encrypted environment, but you can also benefit from PCI-DSS Level 1 and KYC/AML compliance features.

You no longer need to go back and forth with your clients over email or other communication channels, as you attempt to resolve issues or complete tasks. And you also do not need to invest time and resources in tracking down every slip of paper. Instead, you can focus on what matters: Keeping your client informed about their assets and providing value.

Financial managers using Klarion have shifted their self-service offering from 13% to 30%, and reduced call volumes by 2.2x without sacrificing customer experience or compliance regulations.


The Future Won’t Wait

Through the proliferation of technology, more and more customers will demand a comprehensive and cohesive user experience. To create a sustainable, client-focused financial management practice today, integrating technology with human sensibilities is critical.

But waiting to reinvent your customer interaction process means that instead of focusing on growth, you may well end up running after the competition.

Klarion makes it easy to get up and running. There is no need to worry about costly, complicated, or time-consuming system consolidations, as Klarion integrates seamlessly with current infrastructure as a white label front-end solution, while ensuring your brand is front and centre. Klarion sends information directly to your CRM (or other systems), saving you from data entry duplication and is customisable to whatever workflow is required.


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Why the rise of millennials spells change for insurance companies




By Stephan Kaiser, CEO at KoverNow


Most of us, regardless of our age, use our phones to inform shopping decisions, make purchases, order deliveries and carry out even complex banking transactions. What most of us are not doing is managing our insurance policies through our mobiles. This seems odd, and for the millennials amongst us, it’s even more unfathomable. Why should so many other functions of our lives be enabled by mobile apps when accessing a simple insurance arrangement is not?

Much of it has to do with the technology underpinning the insurance value chain. Regulatory changes have put continuous pressure on the cost-income-ratio of banks for the last decade.  This has led to many innovations, including our banking apps (the first mobile banking app was only launched in 2011), but the insurance sector has not kept up, or focused in the same way on efficiency gains and consequently has invested significantly less in IT. We calculate that insurance IT spending as a percentage of revenues has been at about 50% that of banking IT spending over the last 10 years (7-8% for banking and 3-4% for insurance). As a result, we have no apps in insurance for today’s consumers who use their phones to shop around, compare prices, and only pay for what is needed.

Millennials, understandably, want to know why they can’t have more choice, why they can’t select cover just for the items they really value and quickly, without any fuss, from an app. Traditionally selective insurance in which individual items are named comes at a premium price, but not everything that any of us, particularly millennials, own needs to be insured in one job lot.


The Millennial mind

In an effort to delve into the attitudes that millennials have to their belongings and insurance, we recently ran a survey targeting 500 people aged between 25 and 39. Our cohort live and work in Singapore, but they are all well-travelled and educated.

We discovered that almost 74% of respondents to our survey already owned health insurance and a fraction below 73% also had life insurance. For this group, this type of insurance was essential. We asked them what items would cause them distress if they were lost, stolen or damaged. Unsurprisingly, given their age and circumstances, almost 80% said it would be a smartphone or tablet, while 71% said it would be their laptop. However, only 12% had taken out insurance cover on these precious belongings.

When we asked further questions, we found that our respondents were willing to purchase insurance for their items, and in fact, just under 80% would pay a monthly amount to secure their electrical goods. The same is true for fashion items such as jewellery, luxury watches and luxury handbags. While they would be less distressed to lose them than their smartphones and laptops, they would still be willing to insure these items.

And how do they seek out suitable financial products or services? Around 45% said they used online search engines and word of mouth recommendations, but 40% said that online reviews, articles and/or videos informed their purchasing decisions.

As expected, most of this young cohort is open to using a mobile app to purchase insurance. When we asked them what the top four most common insurance products they would consider buying through an app were, they said: health, mobile device, life and travel insurance.

This attitude to sourcing services through mobile apps is to be expected. Millennials are a generation that have entered a digitalised workplace and they lead digitalised lives. They expect the services they are offered to be personalised and adaptable, and if they own only a few items that they consider to be precious, why should they have to pay a standard amount for a standard policy? To this cohort, the concept of a mobile insurance app is regarded as convenient, easy to use and user-friendly.


Keep up, or lose out

These findings throw out a challenge to the insurance industry to change. What is more, the clock is ticking. While millennials have paved the way for digital transformation, it is the Gen Z generation of digital natives snapping at their heels that will reject anything not available as an app or as part of the digital ecosystem.

So what can insurance companies do to compete? Developing apps is not the difficult part; building them to provide a holistic service that meets the lifestyles of young customers is trickier. When asked what the most important attributes were that would impact their experience when they were using a mobile app, price advantages topped the list, then a hassle-free claims process and easy to use interface, and the responsiveness of the support team.

Millennials are looking for speed and efficiency without compromising their security, which is why banking mobile apps have found such favour. They are also receptive to brand influence, and strategic co-operation with well-regarded brands would be a good step for insurers to take if they want to reach this audience.

Agility, however, is what insurers really need to develop. Standardised policies that cannot be researched, selected, purchased and managed through an app will struggle to find favour with young consumers. But if the policy also lacks flexibility, is too expensive or too complex to provide cover for a handful of precious items, they will reject it outright.

To millennials the apps on their smartphones are the doors to all the services they need and want. If insurance policies cannot be accessed through apps, they are unlikely to be found, let alone used. Insurance companies must change to take advantage of this growing sector of the market, and they need to do it now.


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Are we there yet? The journey of consumer spending habits is not over




Dr. Alexandra Dobra-Kiel, Head of Behavioural Research and Insight, Behave


One of the upheavals in our lives over the past two years has been the way we do our shopping. Going in and out of lockdowns with ever evolving measures to keep us safe has changed consumer behaviour – people have been forced to make their purchases online, cook at home, and think domestically when booking their next holiday. As we enter 2022 we will create yet another “new normal” from the habits we adopted to navigate the latest government advice. Whether these habits will stick with us in the long-term will determine whether or not consumer spending reverts to its pre-March 2020 behaviour.


Online vs in-store

As the retail sector has seen throughout the pandemic, consumers are spending more and more online. The ease of shopping from one’s home has been growing in appeal with the percentage of internet sales of total retail sales climbing steeply since the first lockdown in March 2020. Each successive lockdown brought with it spikes in online shopping that raised the floor of online retail sales.

Some consumers are maintaining the shopping habits they’ve developed, and the decline in in-store shopping will continue. Convenience and choice have won out over consumers getting what they want slightly faster, as many retailers and marketplaces offer expedited or even same day delivery on products.


In-store shopping at risk

The negative outlook for in-store shopping is not just about consumers wanting to mitigate risks of contracting the latest variant, it’s about how aspects of the shopping experience have changed as a whole.

Pleasant social interactions is the top reason for which consumers choose to shop in-store, something that compulsory mask wearing impacts.The mouth is paramount for the nonverbal communication of emotional states, and covering one with a mask impacts an individual’s capacity to recognise and interpret these emotions. Studies show that this is particularly true when it comes to recognising happy emotional states. In-store customer facing employees will need to think about how to use their body language and verbal communication to restore effective and pleasant social interactions.

Another way compulsory mask wearing makes in-store shopping less appealing for consumers is that masks are a psychological marker for danger (i.e. disease) and can trigger anxiety-related associations that, in turn, reduce consumers’ appetite for in-store shopping. So while mask wearing is meant to protect those who do choose to shop in-store, in an unintended way it acts as a deterrent for people as well.


Services uncertainty

Spending on services such as dining out and travelling is likely to remain stagnant, as consumers grapple with uncertainty around restrictions.

In the lead up to Christmas, UK pubs and restaurants are usually bustling with people out celebrating with friends. However, with the arrival of the Omicron variant and the government advising people to work from home and avoid socialising, the hospitality industry took a big hit at peak holiday time – a period essential for optimising takings and remaining a viable enterprise throughout the rest of the winter months. People didn’t want to get caught in a scenario where they would be forced to isolate, particularly if they had had all their vaccinations, and weren’t exhibiting any symptoms ahead of their Christmas plans.

The travel industry experienced a similar scenario and, for the second year in a row, couldn’t capitalise on the peak time for Brits to go abroad during the Christmas break. Questions surrounding testing and quarantine requirements to leave and enter the UK created barriers that many were either unable or unwilling to work around.


What does the future hold?

Even as rules and restrictions are loosened, it will be difficult to determine whether the spending habits consumers have developed over the past two years will stick around in the long-term. That is, will these habits outlast the pandemic, as we’ve been living this way for so long?


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