Morgan Stanley Chief Digital Officer Naureen Hassan says the key challenge for broker-dealers and other financial firms is meeting the expectations of both advisors and clients — not competing with robo offerings. “The financial technology revolution … is a myth. It’s just another step in the continual evolution” of the business, Hassan explained recent at Hearsay Social’s annual Innovation Summit in San Francisco.
“The winning strategy is combining the best of digital with the power of our 16,000 advisors,” she told an audience of several hundred financial services and fintech professionals. Getting there, however, is not a simple or easy process, given the industry’s regulatory hurdles and legacy issues that have limited how quickly large broker-dealers adapt to change.
“We are starting from a base that is complex,” Hassan said. This means the challenge is “how to build off that and [deal with] the complexity of building on top of the history of mergers and acquisitions” at the firm.
Morgan Stanley has four focus areas for its digital goals: marketing, digitized process, next-gen products and client experience. The wirehouse is using data and technology more “to understand our clients better, so the advisors can take action,” she explains.
But it’s clear that advisors “need to be there — texting, emailing, using social media and all channels of communications,” Hassan says. Plus, the financial services industry needs to do more “to take paperwork out of system — financial services is so archaic,” she explained.
“We need to focus on next-gen products, so clients can stay with us through their [entire] lifecycle,” Hassan said. “It’s about being mobile, anytime and anywhere for [the best] client experience.”
Ahead of the summit, Hearsay Social CEO and founder Clara Shih released a book, “The Social Business Imperative: Adapting Your Business Model to the Always-Connected Customer.” In it, Shih argues that leaders must grasp the “tectonic changes arising from today’s social, always-connected customer, embrace digital at all levels of their organizations and re-architect business practices and models accordingly.”
She brings up several examples within the financial services space. For instance, executives at Raymond James have “found a way to operationalize social media from vision to practice.”