Fintech Brings Humanity to Wealth Management
By Nicole Casperson
Fintech Brings Humanity to Wealth Management
One thing I love about fintech is that it’s actually the bridge that enables people to establish real human connections.
And fintech has given the world of wealth management and financial advice a serious privilege check.
An industry once exclusive to the ultra-wealthy is in the midst of an evolution – one that opens the door to more people, removes the impersonal transaction of the “adviser and client” relationship, and is hyper-focused on building real connections – person to person.
This was a big theme while I was in Miami speaking and attending Exchange: An ETF Experience.
The conference brought in top-notch speakers, and in between the conference sessions, cocktail hours, and nightcaps, I’d hear among the chatter: Humanity is the key to the industry’s success.
I believe the wide range of fintech tools available to the wealth management industry is how we get there.
Why It Matters
Fintech for wealth management (aka Wealth Tech) incorporates technology for both investment management professionals as well as individual end-users.
And Wealth Tech has evolved way beyond simple predictive analysis. For example, firms are now using data from various sources, including client behavior, to improve their services.
Digital assets, in particular, are really testing advisors’ ability to adapt to changing client needs, a huge theme during my conversation with Ric Edelman. Here’s an outline of many areas where technology is disrupting the sector.
Plus, funding is pouring into wealth tech. 2021 was a record-breaking year, with global wealth tech funding up 156% YoY at $14.6B.
With all these tools at our fingertips, advisers have the chance to automate systems so their work (and client data) operates more efficiently. That strategic shift then enables advisers to work with more clients with a diverse array of needs.
Ultimately, we have to stop treating clients like they are a transaction and start talking to them as a human. Like, a real human, one with interests, hobbies, and passions.
People want to work with someone they connect with on a personal level. If you think your clients don’t care to get to know you and that it’s a waste of time (they just care about money) you’re wrong.
A Capco survey showed 72% of customers rate personalization as “highly important” with Millennials placing the highest value on it (79%), followed by 75% of Gen Z, 74% of Gen X, and 58% of boomers.
This younger demographic is also poised to inherit $68 trillion in the greatest generational wealth transfer over the coming years.
Next-generation of investors — also known as Gen XYZ — have different expectations of their relationship with their wealth manager, and advisers that embrace digital communication, transparency, and relatability will be the ones with a competitive edge.
Real human connections with our community have gotten me through the highs and lows of content creation.
This week was the first time I attended a conference as a speaker and not as press. And ETF Trend‘s Exchange was the first IRL conference in the sector I’ve been to since I started covering it 2 years ago.
Thank you to the #FinTwit community for embracing me with open arms this week. Thank you to ETF Trends and Advisor Circle for inviting me to share the stage.
You showed me that as a young Asian American woman – my voice matters. You listened to me, took care of me, and welcomed me like family. In my professional life, I’ve never felt that before.
I’m typically seen as an outsider or had bosses say I can’t make human connections because it puts my integrity in jeopardy. (Tune in to my upcoming feature on Tina Powell’s In the Suite podcast to hear that story).
For the first time, I feel seen and valued not because a big brand is attached to me, but because I am sharing my most authentic self. I never thought that was possible.
Thanks to your support, my dream is a reality. ❤️
Stripe Teams Up With Big Tech on Carbon Removal
Stripe, the payments giant, announced a $925M fund for advanced market commitments for carbon removals.
According to Workweek friend Nick Van Osdol from Keep Cool, that’s wayyy more money than has been spent on carbon removals previously. The entire carbon offset market, of which removals are a small subset, crossed the $1B mark just late last year.
Known as the ‘The Frontier fund’, the new vehicle is a public-benefit corporation owned by Stripe. In addition to its own capital commitments, Stripe sourced capital from Google, Shopify (who also have their own fund to invest in climate and sustainability), Meta (Facebook), and the consulting giant, McKinsey.
Why It Matters
Stripe, over the course of recent years, has already built a large portfolio of investments in carbon removal technologies out there via Stripe Climate.
It makes sense to jump into climate tech and make a huge commitment. Not only is it good for the environment, but it’s also good for business.
Globally, 85% of people indicate that they have shifted their purchase behavior towards being more sustainable in the past five years.
And climate fintech is growing faster than ever before. U.S. and European startups in the category attracted $1.2 billion in 2021, three times the collective funding of the previous years, according to an analysis by German venture capital CommerzVentures.
The two largest climate fintech funding rounds last year were announced by U.S. startups: Xpansiv (a marketplace for carbon credits) raised $140M, and Persefoni (a carbon accounting platform) raised $115M.
I love the connectivity between climate, tech, and finance. I fundamentally believe if all three areas could work in concert with each other, it could change the world.
Sustainable investing is a key way for all three industries to work together. Except, there are a ton of tailwinds in the sustainable investment data space.
Enter fintech platforms like Physis. Its mission = empower investors to build more sophisticated, sustainable portfolios.
In the latest Keep Cool podcast, Nick sits down with Physis than CEO, Stefania Di Bartolomeo. Before founding Physis, she worked in sustainable finance + designed investment strategies that both optimize financial performance and impact.
Tune in to the full episode to hear her story.
Brex Makes Moves Toward Software
Fintech Brex said this week that it is betting on financial software as the next wave of its growth.
Brex launched Brex Empower: a software platform designed to help organizations use money as a strategic asset to accelerate the scale and growth of their business.
And their first client is a household name: DoorDash.
Why It Matters
With the DoorDash enterprise deal, Brex is coming out with this announcement and already has proof of concept. Brex Empower manages DoorDash’s expenses and budgets across 9,000 disparate employees.
When Brex first launched in 2018, it was centered around corporate card offerings. Today, the company is reframing its value prop as a financial software company that offers a corporate card.
That move makes sense given the corporate spend management space is already oversaturated and highly competitive.
Brex Empower is a tool suitable for enterprise deals. The software makes it pretty easy for a large corporation to set standard employee budgets on corporate spending while removing small annoyances like reducing the friction of collecting receipts.
Plus, the expansion into financial software catered for enterprise deals is a cash cow. Synergy Research, a company that monitors cloud market share, found that the enterprise SaaS market can generate over $23 billion of revenue for software vendors in just one quarter.
I wouldn’t be surprised if we see more fintech companies shift gears to SaaS. It’s a sector in high demand as workforces change. And in order to compete in the market, companies have to find ways to diversify the revenue that works for them.
- Yieldstreet launches startup investing for retail investors to invest in companies such as Flutterwave and Fetch Rewards, alongside VC powerhouse Greycroft
- Digital bank Umba raises $15M, plans to expand into three new African markets
- Fintech startup for freelancers lands $8M; electric car data platform raises $4.5M
- BNP Paribas strengthens fintech focus with Anthemis investment
- Fast-Moving fintech poses a challenge for regulators
- Codat convenes product advisory board to shape the future of finance