As data technology takes its place at the heart of advisory firms, a critical question is: “Are we working with the right clearing firm?”
The year is 2045. Everything that can be automated has been. It’s a one-click world.
Fully connected between functions, with underlying data integrated between applications, the 25 separate apps that resided on my phone in 2020 are now a distant memory. Through their smart devices, people’s needs have converged, making life easier and reshaping how we think about delivering products and services across the board.
In 2045, the financial services industry is automated and technologically connected, with the nexus of the client experience in the hands of clients where it belongs.
Digital wealth management isn’t even a thing anymore; it’s a given. Legacy platforms and high-friction processes have long since faded into obsolescence.
How do I know all of this? I’ve spent the last two decades on the front lines of the digital revolution where I’ve been implementing the disruptive technological architecture of the future, instigating a real-time revolution in financial services.
I’ve seen firsthand that consumers, attuned to the benefits of speed, customization and convenience regardless of age or net worth, want service on demand. And not just to handle day-to-day finances but also to open new avenues for investment — providing access to a world that might otherwise seem too complex and time consuming.
Convergence has made some important advances, with signs of more to come. Tech-savvy providers are using digital technology to make siloed products more interoperable, creating intuitive and ergonomic customer experiences.
For example, a checking account may hold excess cash that can be automatically swept to an investment account based on rules established by the customer. Likewise, a paycheck can be divided between accounts and routine bill pay can be fully automated.
The demand for one-click, real-time solutions will only intensify over the next 25 years. The implications for financial services are huge and should influence how we think about priorities today.
Getting Real About Real-Time
Let’s start by distinguishing between real real-time and faux real-time.
Faux: What we’re told is “real time” is typically nothing more than an approximation; client data cleverly designed to appear real-time on the screen. What is it really? It’s real time, give or take.
By contrast, real real-time is relentlessly, reliably now. Its data is instantaneous; timed to anticipate an event, or coincide with it, and pulled the moment relevance fades.
For this reason, real-time processes are immune to the friction that typically hampers client management especially at the start, where a fitful approach to account opening can sour a new relationship before it begins.
And “fitful” is apt: In legacy settings, time is sluggish and paperwork plays a part. There is a role for yellow “stickies,” FedEx makes an appearance, and money must be wired to fund the account.