Curating, Philosophizing

Between Sessions: Fintech and the un-banking of America

Between Sessions is a recurring discussion of the impact of digital technology on business models in financial services. The format is simple: a conversation between Blane Warrene and myself, during which we explore a wide variety of topics – technology, communications, public relations, branding, marketing, compliance, security, privacy and more – in this evolving, new digital era.

The name refers to those often most valuable conversations among participants at a conference or event that occur “between sessions”.

Rundown from March 6, 2015

Affluent & High Net Worth Investor Use of Social Media

We kicked off our discussion with a Cognizant infographic discovered by way of Pat Allen last week. It studies the use of social media by mass affluent and high net worth investors. In our view – a couple insights from this.

YouTube tops the list of most used social channels for interacting with or research financial advisors by those investors. Blane’s theory is it is the one social network you can do a deep dive into an individual or firm’s content, opinions and overall brand without connecting and being visible to them.

That theory reinforces two of my tenets about social media – that sales has been extended from the sales force and traditional sales content to anyone representing you and your brand online., i.e. you likely never know when your making the first impression. It also supports the need to be fully aware of your reputation online. Look at yourself and what your audience sees so you know what they are consuming.

In looking at obstacles to using social media – compliance is a weakening argument for not getting into the channel as the rules are less a mystery from a regulatory perspective. That sounds more like an excuse now.

The biggest barrier to entry was reported as time – meaning advisors don’t have enough of it to allocate for digital communications and marketing. Our take is: make time. This is a shift in how business is done and that also means changing your rhythm and itinerary for your working weeks.

What is Fintech?

Next we shifted to one of our favorite voices on the evolution of financial services – Chris Skinner. Chris regularly focuses on the challenges of legacy organizations to join the 21st century and meet consumer demands for mobility and digital services in banking.

Recently, Chris published a piece called What is Fintech? In the article, Chris points to an important distinction between emergent (disruptive) and traditional (facilitating) financial technology. Emergent and disruptive fintech actually creates new markets, whereas traditional fintech simply helps existing markets do better.

You can explore Fintech on Twitter via the hashtag #fintech.

Unbanking of America

This conversation segued into some thoughts on complete disruption of our common protocols for banking, lending, investing and more, via discussion of Rebecca Lynn’s article Start-Ups and the Un-Banking of America.

Lynn’s article discusses some of the emergent and truly disruptive technologies. For example, crowdfunding doesn’t just mean there’s a new lender in the market; it means there is a new model for lending (peer-to-peer) without the balance sheet risk of traditional lending. And what about a digital tech giant, like Amazon or Google or Facebook – when they start selling financial products, are they just a new financial services vendor or a completely new category?

You can view this episode on Youtube or embedded above. We’d love to hear what you think.

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