Digital transformation in the financial services: where to start

At last year’s Fintech conference in Edinburgh there was a focus on innovation, changing client expectations, and reinventing the traditional view of financial services.
Between challenges in the current climate, new regulations – MiFID II, KYC, GDPR, and their ilk – and the always advancing charge of technological progress, the financial services are experiencing a whirlwind of change.
With the costs of acquiring new customers and retaining customers higher than ever before, not to mention shifting demands from the current generation of clients, it’s clear that adapting and embracing new digital and online tools is imperative. So where to start?

1. Customer-driven innovation

Customers’ expectations are now largely concerned with three major things: convenience, transparency, and value for money. So it’s no surprise that they are embracing online and mobile fintech as an increasingly viable alternative to traditional wealth management firms and financial advisors.
Between 2004 and 2014, the percentage of Brits managing their personal finances by visiting physical branches dropped from 75% to 54%, and this is expected to fall to just 35% by 2019. Conversely, those who used the internet rose dramatically from 29% to 74%, and use of smartphone apps rose from 0% to 14% (Statistics from
In order to engage with this new generation, there are a few key technologies to embrace to ensure maximum accessibility:
●Mobile technology, including apps
●Self-serve digital tools
●Social tools and automated communications
For those with concerns that going digital in their communications will have a negative effect: 77% of financial advisors who conduct their business with digital and social tools see improved client retention (Accenture Generation D Research).
That’s because digital doesn’t have to mean impersonal – your communications with clients can still be personalised, with the added benefit of being faster, more convenient, and more effective. According to the
Future of Finance report published 2015 in collaboration with Deloitte, the World Economic Forum found personal and low-cost communication methods to be the key characteristics of the future of wealth management.

Customers value their time as much as firms do, so delivering on efficient communications is a valuable plus point for clients.

2. Efficiency in internal processes

In the face of the demands of MiFID II and KYC regulations, automation is no longer an optional nice-to-have – it’s essential for any firm to continue to thrive. The sheer breadth of the requirements would be all but impossible to achieve in any cost- and time-effective way were it not for the power of technology to automate processes such as onboarding and communication tracking.

Automating essential communications allows you to effortlessly maintain contact with clients, which means you can spend less time sending emails and more time working to give clients your best advice. It also makes it easier to stay compliant as tools such as Appointedd’s CRM suite automatically records all communications around appointments between firms and clients for an easy digital paper trail.

3. Security and data

When you help clients with their money, you need to know their sensitive data is safe with you, and embracing automated tools doesn’t have to mean more risk for your firm or your clients. Source tools with excellent security credentials, that are compliant with Cyber Essentials standards, and which have a proven track record of robust data security. This will put both your and your clients’ minds at ease and improve the appeal of your services.

The deadline of GDPR in May 2018 means that capturing, storing, and monitoring customer data is more important than ever. Although these new requirements bring additional challenges, with the data-driven revolution well under way it can also provide valuable opportunities.
A large part of the process of digital transformation focuses on the effective use of customer data to deliver a highly personalised service, as well as extremely relevant and targeted marketing and communications. 57% of businesses will be heavily investing in customer journey analytics over the next three years, and 66% of these will implement cross-channel data integration as a journey analytics tactic (The Four Elements of Digital Maturity, Adobe Digital Marketing Blog Europe). So complying with the new regulations around data can actually provide the perfect excuse to really hone your data-processing methods and make them work for you.
The future of financial services is bound to bring exciting changes, and taking steps now towards digital transformation will safeguard your business and help ensure growth and a thriving industry in years to come.
This article was written by Appointedd, a software provider. In the spirit of transparency we want to assure you that no financial contribution was received in exchange for publishing this content. We simply think the content can be of value to our readers.