Forward-thinking dealer groups are the new wave of fintech clients, as they look for more efficient and effective ways to provide advisers with the services they need.
It is an exciting development in our industry where innovation is flourishing and traditional structures look to different delivery models to enable them to maintain their advantage.
Over the past two years, we have been a fintech working in this dealer service provider space, yet in the marketplace this is not so transparent. At a recent adviser forum, advisers told me they hadn’t heard of this kind of service provider before. That is, a fintech business that provides dealer services.
They also said they found it strange that dealer groups no longer provided them with the comprehensive services they had before and, given this, it was great that there was a service provider to help them with their burden.
Regulation and compliance has made it difficult for dealer groups to offer all the services advisers need and want. It has made sense from a balance sheet perspective to look for other models that enable them to maintain the adviser relationship, but outsource particular parts of the service.
At YTML, we are a dealer service provider that's technology focused. We work with advisers and licensees and use diagnostics to gather requirements, which is then solution designed by our advice team and implemented by our technology team with or without our software.
The position we take between dealer groups and advisers gives us a unique view point on innovation in our industry.
Hands down, smaller firms are more willing to take up new innovations. Larger institutions also want to innovate but they are often held back by legacy corporate policies such as privacy and security, which makes it difficult for them to change.
So yes, if you are small you have an advantage!
The most common type of innovation we are seeing in the advice industry is fintech collaboration. Open architecture is what everyone wants. All businesses are unique at what they do and what they offer. One size fits all is no longer what people want in this over-regulated industry where consumer rules.
Further, advisers want more control and to contribute to the process and modelling. And this is a truly great feature of the advice industry, because I believe a true partnership between advisers and technology gives rise to making magic.
In our space, we are not looking to replace the major providers. Rather we take all the manual components that sit outside of the major providers (what we called "limitations") and automate the manual components and put them back together in a more efficient way.
We are, however, excited that major providers in the future will be more open to the open architecture model, as we believe it is the great sharer of ideas, capability, flexibility and customer satisfaction.
That said, technology does have its limitations and we certainly don’t see it as the panacea to solve all our challenges.
It’s probably interesting coming from a tech guy, but I do believe technology is cold. I believe it will be very difficult for me to pull out a million dollars for an online website to manage. A trust factor has to be there. The human factor. Some warmth.
Being a new parent, I've notice trends where there's a constant push back of technology access for kids. This is because its been acknowledged that we want our kids to be more human and want to build relationships with others, rather than only communicating through technology.
Anyway, I don't believe it's a threat, but it's something advisers can use in advantage to service clients with lower engagement requirement.
Kevin Liao is CEO of YTML
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