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In a 2016 report by PwC on how fintech is reshaping the banking industry, only 53% of those polled thought banks were consumer-centric, while 80 percent of respondents thought fintech companies were better at serving customers. According to Capgemini’s 2017 World Fintech Report, 50.2% of customers have already opted for at least one non-traditional financial firm. Based on those numbers, is the impact of fintech on customer expectations a threat to financial services?
At the Lhoft, we believe that the future of financial services is not so much about disruption, but more about evolution and collaboration. Traditional financial services have customer trust and incredible economies of scale, as well as knowledge and experience. On the other hand, fintech startups are intrinsically creative, customer centric and agile. The optimal business strategy for both traditional financial services and fintech companies is to work together and combine these strengths – this is the win-win scenario for all, particularly for the customer.
I) Reaching out to new clients: room for collaboration between traditional financial services and fintech start-up
Fintech startups tend to excel at customer experience, due to their customer-centric approach. They are also often able to acquire customers at significantly lower costs than traditional institutions. Both competencies can be a benefit if utilised by traditional financial services. The success story of Luxembourg’s mobile payment application Digicash (recently acquired by Payconiq International SA) is illustrative of how fintech firms can help financial institutions enhance and broaden the way they interact with their customers.
40% of people would be more inclined to stay with their bank if it offered a more personalised service.
Nasir Zubairi CEO (The Lhoft Foundation)
A TNS Ilres survey, run in 2017, revealed that 84% of the Luxembourg residents know the brand Digicash, and 18% are already active users. In the process, Digicash has concluded five partnerships with five major banks.
II) Fintech, a new way to offer personalised experience to the customer
In a 2016 Accenture Consulting Survey, 40% of people would be more inclined to stay with their bank if it offered a more personalised service. Fintech companies often provide personalisation through the analysis of detailed data sets to better understand each customer’s behaviour, delivering a more tailored experience. We live in a world where what matters is, “what you do for me” as opposed to “what you do”.
20.4 billion connected things will be in use worldwide by 2020.
Nasir Zubairi CEO (The Lhoft Foundation)
Why don’t investment managers benchmark portfolio performance to a basket of, for instance, my shopping goods? Isn’t that what retail investment is all about; enabling me to continue to buy the things I like in the future, or, to buy even more things? Birdee, a CSSF regulated robo-advisor from Gambit Financial Solutions (recently acquired by BNP Paribas), is marketed directly to retail investors in the EU. Using a combination of algorithms, Birdee creates portfolios adapted to the customer’s personal objectives and risk profile.
III) 3 trends that will reshape customer experience
I think three technologies that will have a significant impact on financial services are wearables, the internet of things (IoT) and artificial intelligence (AI). The first two, wearables and IoT, are new channels that financial institutions need to consider for transactions and other services. Gartner, Inc. forecasts that 20.4 billion connected things will be in use worldwide by 2020. AI will help significantly lower transaction costs and provide better insights for financial institutions, added value that must be shared with the customer. It amazes me that no bank performs large scale analysis on where people shop and what they buy, that, in aggregate, could provide valuable insights for their investment advisory business and their capital markets team.
“We thought we knew our customers, but fintech companies really know our customers.” That may be the case, but, in order to succeed, fintech should and must access the know-how, the specific skills, knowledge and long-trusted experience that traditional financial services have built over years with the customers. Some will falter but the brands that have been around for decades, if not centuries, will not disappear.