Christine Schmid tells Stephen Harris why additiv are part of a positive future for wealth management.
What are additiv doing to ensure that their European clients thrive in this ever-changing environment?
Even before the Covid-crisis wealth services were expected to be quick and easy, with availability from multiple access points. The pandemic created an even greater reliance on digital but receiving personal and tailored advice was no less important. In fact, initially the crisis triggered a requirement for more wealth advice particularly for high net-worth individuals. Reaching clients directly was a problem for many wealth advisors, however, at additiv we were already supporting many of our clients with our Hybrid Wealth Manager product avoiding this challenge.
A hybrid approach allows financial institutions to offer services that best suit their client’s individual needs, letting them choose how they want to be serviced. Depending on these needs, the advice and guidance available can be human or self-service. Supported by intelligent analytics, clients can be serviced personally. Rather than impeding the client relationship, it actually encourages collaboration through in-person and remote advisor/client conversations on a multitude of channels. It allows relationship managers to remain productive and focused on clients when it matters most, improving scalability for banks.
Using this model our customers who serve clients are thriving, but the benefit isn’t just limited to this segment. For example, during the initial COVID confinement period, our customer PostFinance launched their digital investment platform. As one of the largest retail banks in Switzerland, they wanted to expand their range to include wealth products to clients wishing to diversify away from low-yielding savings products. The platform offers a seamless and engaging advisory and discretionary end-to-end experience. It’s seen a massive take-up, adding around 6,000 clients and over CHF300m in assets-under-management within the first nine months, currently growing at around CHF30m a month.
What are the prospects for wealth management in the future bearing in mind a new social and economic environment ahead?
Wealth management has a bright future. It can support wealth inclusion through financial health and planning tools, via embedded finance models and hybrid wealth products. The need for such tools was highlighted recently during the Covid-crisis which demonstrated that much of the population could not sustain a three- to six-month period without an income stream. For many, survival depended on savings and investments, without these – simple wealth accumulation tools are essential. In addition, there is also a looming pension gap in the Western world so professional wealth decumulation tools are important.
Simple wealth accumulation and decumulation products can, and should, be offered by regulated financial institutions through their platforms, but it doesn’t stop there. More non-bank companies offer financial services, such as payments, and lending. These consumer-driven platforms embrace embedded finance; increasing client convenience by providing users with relevant financial services, at the time they need them, over the right channel, and tailored to their context. There are many use-cases for the wealth industry – or Wealth Management-as-a-Service (WmaaS) – but, from a financial well-being and planning perspective, others are with employee platforms, with consumer platforms, health insurance providers and also alongside pension and life insurance products.
Wealth solutions also should clearly support the ESG movement, taking into account non-financial sustainability factors. Financial institutions increasingly demand tools which enable their clients to build smarter portfolios and comply easily with ESG regulations. Wealth managers can better understand the true social and environmental impact of companies and build portfolios that better match their client’s preferences and concerns, whilst reporting to them in a simple and intuitive way.
What sets you apart from your peers and why?
Our products sit upon our cloud-native, wealth platform, Digital Financial Suite (DFS), an orchestration layer that sits between client interaction channels and systems of record. As a result, DFS enables financial institutions to simultaneously deliver multiple highly engaging experiences while data is seamlessly run on one platform. Although systems of intelligence are increasingly adopted elsewhere within other financial industries, we believe DFS is the first and only wealth platform adopting this approach.
Building upon DFS’ value, in April 2021 we launched our Embedded Finance and Banking-as-a-Service models. Like DFS, these utilise our extensive ecosystem of partners to support the growing need for Wealth Management-as-a-Service (WmaaS).
Our Embedded Finance model offers a range of wealth management products that make it easy for financial and non-financial institutions to embed investment services into their customer proposition. We offer end-toend wealth services that a brand can easily include, either tightly integrated into an existing journey, or as standalone services. At additiv we provide the orchestration platform and works with regulated finance partners to fulfil the complete customer journey.
Our Banking-as-a-Service (BaaS) model also utilises DFS. It links regulated wealth management services with the brands that wish to embed them into their offering. In practice, this means providing APIs for interaction and the intelligence to integrate services in context-relevant user-journeys.
Our conversations with FIs and consumer platforms or large employers indicate that no other vendor is supporting WmaaS fully. In fact, a Geneva-based consultancy called aperture recently rated additiv as a top ‘Transformer’, stating “In terms of business model enablement, we see additiv as best-in-class. The solution can be deployed with out-of-thebox user agents or headless, using existing or third-party customer interaction channels. This makes the solution ideally suited for wealth management-as-a-service models”.
Whom do you look to for inspiration and ideas?
One inspiring story is The Ocean Cleanup who are cleaning up our oceans and educating a global audience on what’s needed to prevent plastic pollution in the ocean. Its founder, Boyan Stat, conceptualized the idea about 10 years ago, after discovering more plastic than fish while diving in Greece at just 16 years old. This discovery led him to investigate why cleanup projects were unsuccessful, and what could be done to change that. His research uncovered a new way of ridding the ocean of plastic, through a passive system using circulating ocean currents to transport and trap ocean contaminants. This is a story about having the confidence to ‘think big’ and having the confidence to push for what you believe in.
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