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2022 Envestnet Asset Manager Awards

Envestnet's Dani Fava: Embedded Investing Solution Coming This Year

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What You Need to Know

  • Through embedding, financial services can be offered through consumer apps and websites of nonfinancial firms.
  • Personal finance offerings will soon be ubiquitous, Fava says.
  • Advisors have an opportunity to replace impulsive consumer behaviors with more positive ones.

After laying the groundwork for more than a year, Envestnet expects to launch an embedded investment solution for advisors before the end of 2022, Dani Fava, head of strategic development at the company, said Thursday at the Envestnet Advisor Summit in Charlotte, North Carolina, during a session called “Connected: The Future of Personal Finance.”

“We’re very close to launching the embedded investment solution,” she said, in response to a question from ThinkAdvisor. “We think that’ll be ready some time before the end of the year. Let’s call it third quarter.”

Through embedding, financial services can be offered through the consumer apps and websites of nonfinancial firms such as Apple.

Fava likened embedded finance to stores placing items near the checkout counter. The same practice is used in apps and on websites, she pointed out.

There is a huge opportunity for financial services firms who find a way to change impulse behaviors to more positive things like saving money and investing, she said.

That can be accomplished by embedding financial services inside loyalty apps, game apps and anywhere else consumers are spending money, she said.

Embedded lending, for example, can be used to help investors decide whether it’s more expensive to take out a loan or liquidate a portfolio to access money you need, she said.

Personal Finance Everywhere

The focus of Fava’s presentation at the company’s first in-person Advisor Summit since 2019 was on the potential impact that embedded finance and other disruptive technology stands to have on the future of wealth management.

“Personal finance is about to become ubiquitous. It’s going to be in everything we do,” she predicted. “Every decision that we make. Every app that we open. We’re going to be so connected. Everything will be embedded.”

While the digital revolution has increased efficiency, it’s also “caused a lot of confusion,” she said.

Pointing to recent data, she said the average person has more than 80 apps installed on their smartphones and it seems like the younger you are, the more apps you have.

In 2021, people spent a collective 3.8 trillion hours using apps on their mobile phones and there are 2.9 million apps on the Google Play Store alone, she said.

“We are drowning,” she said. “There is so much, so many disconnected pieces clamoring for our attention,” she said.

Super App

And what comes next? She predicted more consolidation in the fintech sector and overall financial services industry. But despite the consolidation that’s already happened, there remain separate apps for credit cards, investments and lending, she noted.

But “those days are behind us,” she said, predicting: “We’re about to enter into an era of the super app. We’re going to see apps where we can do literally everything, including all of our financial services decisions in one place.”

CONTINUE READING BELOW ▼

The winner of the super app race remains to be seen, she noted, pointing to a list of the top 20 brands in the U.S. including Amazon, Apple and Google.

Many nonfinancial firms have already started embedding finance solutions in their apps and websites or plan to, she said, pointing to data showing 73% of brands plan to launch embedded financial services, which stands to generate $844 billion in additional revenue by 2026, she said.

The application programming interface revolution that happened over the last couple of years has provided this capability, she told attendees.

Envestnet is looking to be a major player in the coming battle by offering embedded financing solutions to advisory firms and other companies.

‘Good News for Advisors’

The investments that Envestnet has been making in embedded finance stand to help not only the company and investors, but advisors as well, Fava said during last year’s Envestnet Advisor Summit, which was held virtually for the second-straight year in 2021 due to the pandemic.

Amazon, Apple and Facebook could “finally get into our space and really disrupt it” through embedded financing, she said at the time.

“But this is not bad news for advisors. I believe it’s good news for advisors,” she said at the time. That is because “all of these experiences” that embedded finance stands to create by merging the retail ecosystem, gaming, fintechs/payment platforms, and small and medium banks “will incubate future advisor clients,” who she said “will be growing their wealth in different places which are more convenient for them” as a result of this new financial services category.

“Then companies like Envestnet will power the embedded finance ecosystem [and] create the funnel of tomorrow’s advisor clients,” she added.

Envestnet’s Embedded Investments

Ahead of the 2021 summit, Envestnet announced several embedded finance-related initiatives.

For example, Envestnet | Yodlee launched an enhanced developer portal that it said provides an “enriched developer experience” and “builds off” Yodlee’s platform to “advance the embedded finance ecosystem by accelerating the ability for developers to create hyper-personalized and actionable financial wellness experiences.”

Also, while announcing its acquisition of fintech firm Harvest Savings & Wealth Technologies last year, Envestnet said the transaction optimized its API-based financial wellness ecosystem and helped “strengthen our foothold to enable embedded finance, which we see as a key driver of the future of financial services.”

Envestnet was already well-positioned to power embedded finance, according to Fava. “We’re already there,” she said last year. “We’ve got so many capabilities that are being used by advisors and other financial institutions today that really put us at the very end of this path toward embedded finance.”

That is because Envestnet’s API network includes MyBlocks modules for financial planning and budgeting; data aggregation and insights; automated savings; thematic data-driven investing; thematic and value-based reporting; conversational artificial intelligence for customer support; access to experienced professionals with its advisor network; and module marketplace exchanges, according to Fava.

Envestnet’s APIs can potentially be used to create apps taking advantage of embedded finance capabilities. The company’s goal is to be able to provide one central view of an investor’s “financial life,” create financial wellness for those investors and “incubate” them until they’re ready to speak with advisors, and then share that central view with advisors, Fava explained.

(Pictured: Dani Fava of Envestnet; Photo by Jeff Berman)