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Editorial - April 2017

Paul StanfieldPaul Stanfield
Chief Executive at FEIFA / FECIF Secretary General

Are you really ready for the future?

“The other day Ray was having a conversation with his 13 year old son and they ended up on a topic / issue that they needed more info on – his response was to “Google” it, his son chose to “YouTube” it. He realised at that point that they had different ways of looking for information, learning answers, and engaging with the internet.”

I recently read this in a newsletter by TomorrowToday – a company that specialises in assisting other firms adapt and be prepared for the future working environment. Added to other information that I have recently been exposed to, it made me think long and hard.

For instance, in an excellent presentation recently given by Richard Turner at Henderson, he explained that millennials look at their phone, on average, 150 times each day. That is an incredible fact – and may encapsulate the only thing that I do that makes me appear young! He also reminded us that Steve Jobs once indicated that kids now live their lives in one of two states, asleep or online. Food for thought indeed.

A recent survey by Temenos, a UK financial services software supplier, found that only 10% of millennials are likely to use the same wealth manager as their parents. Yes, only 10%!

In other words, we as an industry (and the advisory sector specifically, from my perspective) needs to get itself digitalised far more effectively and extensively, to attract clients from younger generations and - at the very least - move at the same pace as older ones. The same survey found that 57% of those aged 55 and over in the UK already used mobile banking facilities – so we had better get ready quickly as well because, taking that figure, it would seem that (to use a cliché) the future is now!

The Henderson presentation referred to above was one of a number at the recent series of FEIFA Masterclass seminars, which, in my role as CEO of that trade body, I chaired. At the same seminars, financial technology company Praemium pointed out that another survey had found that 70% of millennials would consider gaining financial advice or guidance from Google. As I say, we better be prepared as our future competition may come from quite different sources.

The speed of digital change is exponential and some would argue that we have reached or even passed the “breaking point” where developments spiral, almost out of control. (See the YouTube link below for an explanation of this and why we are, according to that video, already on the “second half of the chessboard”).

If you are not familiar with Moore’s Law you almost certainly need to be – and the video at that link will explain it very clearly. Anyone who can say something in 1965, as Intel’s Gordon Moore did, that has been proved right ever since is worth knowing about I’d suggest.

As a sector, financial advisers and intermediaries need to take heed and embrace technology. It can make their jobs easier, and make them more efficient and successful. Perhaps even more importantly, it can make them operate in a manner that their clients, and prospective clients, want.

If they don’t then they will find the future very tricky indeed…..

References/acknowledgements:
http://www.tomorrowtodayglobal.com/

Henderson presentation: “64 moves on the chessboard”
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IxRDRMWyYhE&sns=em

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