Yet very few can claim to have achieved their strategic goal of a cost-effective scaled business.
Connectivity is still missing-in-action within the financial services industry and remains one of the single biggest problems for licensees and advisers wanting to achieve this goal.
Providers of technology servicing the financial services industry need to prioritise integration and be willing to work with other providers. If not, then we will see more and more advice businesses fail in their quest to be operationally scalable.
It is no doubt that fintechs have made a significantly positive difference to the process of delivering advice.
However, we believe it is incumbent upon all fintechs to operate with the greater purpose of working with peers.
Coming together as a fintech community in the interests of industry and enterprise and not solely for its own commercial reasons.
We need to create a community that collaborates, a community that is accessible to advisers and licensees, and a community that enables data to be shared, pushed and pulled. Until this happens, then we will keep struggling to solve the connectivity issue.
A siloed fintech world cannot effect change like the collective power of a community.
Who needs to adapt?
The solution does not lie with any one technology provider, but within the wider fintech community and the willingness and ability of that community to work together, share data, integrate and in the process develop a fintech ecosystem.
The ecosystem acts as the home and different solutions within it can be used for different needs by advisers, without them having to repeat unnecessary processes.
This is true open architecture and enables advisers to take control of the way data is used to deliver advice and engage clients.
Agility: Why it’s important
Agility is the ability of an advice business to cope effectively with growth and respond to change. The more agile a business, the more efficient it becomes and in this, technology is the obvious and great enabler.
To be agile, advice businesses need the 3 Cs: Choice, Control and Confidence.
- The choice to select a provider from a diverse collection of fintech providers that share data
- The confidence that information shared hangs efficiently together in one ecosystem
- The control around designing their own ecosystems that lead to more efficient and scalable solutions
As a fintech enabler, we are seeing positive steps being taken in this direction.
Fintechs are slowly shifting away from protectionist policies and prioritising integration, but there is still lots of work to be done.
For example, there are advice practices out there which are still compelled to copy-and-paste data into numerous siloed programs after any change to a client’s data.
The contributing reason is that systems deployed within the businesses don’t talk to each other.
Sometimes this is about the design of each solution and sometimes it is about the unwillingness of a provider to open up its architecture to other providers.
But whatever the reason, it’s inefficient, there’s a big margin for human error and it’s the antithesis of agility.
Owning your own piece of the technology patch is fine, but working together with other providers to offer connected solutions is going to be the way forward.
We believe that the willingness and ability of a fintech provider to integrate with other providers is as important as the problem the provider is solving.
New entrants to the market should be able to demonstrate both their willingness and their ability to be part of a fintech ecosystem. If they can’t, they risk becoming another bolt-on to the adviser’s operating model and efficiency and scalability will fall by the wayside.
Connectivity in practice
The movement towards collaboration is growing and there are examples of where fintech providers have joined together to solve advice problems.
An example was the recent launch of the of the AstuteWheel Insurance Planner.
The solution reduces the time is takes to prepare risk advice from three hours to one hour, all made possible through Seido, an integration hub created by YTML.
Omnilife and Astute wheel capabilities were integrated within Seido to deliver this innovative solution.
The solution works seamlessly together and also helps with compliance and enhances transparency.
The future can be bright
More pressure needs to be placed upon those fintechs that refuse to work for the greater good of the industry.
We need more examples like the one above to ensure we reduce the time it takes to deliver advice.
The draconian, siloed fintech world must transform to become a community that works together to ensure that connectivity is at the core of everything we do.
Kevin Liao is the chief executive of YTML.