Distribution is a question and concern on every life insurance and annuities company’s mind. What new channels should we experiment in? What should our distribution strategy look like? What types of consumers are most important to our strategy, and how do we reach them? What type of products are most important to our strategy, and what consumers are they fit for? All of these questions are being pondered today in an effort to define the distribution strategies of tomorrow.
Just two years ago, “robo” models on the market included over a dozen direct-to-client models (e.g., Wealthfront, Betterment, Personal Capital). Despite the enthusiasm surrounding robos by wealth managers and even a small pocket of clients, they were lacking the institutional buy-in needed to achieve scale. That changed in October 2014. Fidelity broke new ground when it formed a partnership with Betterment Institutional that would give the more than 3,000 advisors on its platform the ability to service the mass-affluent through digital advice. Fidelity ultimately dissolved the partnership in favor of internalizing its digital effort. Still, the endorsement was a needed catalyst for digital.
After many uneventful years and diligent care of my data, I got hit with a card fraud, and a rather big one. One of my cards I use primarily for travel—it helps me keep expenses in one place and easily track them. Due to the limited use, I typically just pay the balance without much thought. Yes, I know I should be reviewing the transactions, especially as it is primarily a travel card, but we don’t all follow our own advice.
Summer doldrums give analysts inspiration to reflect on what’s hot—no pun intended—in the wealth management marketplace. FinovateSpring 2016 took place May 10th and 11th and certainly provided fodder and put some firms on the map and—since then—was the catalyst for a deeper dive into what wealth management startups and incumbents are up to these days. Yes, the robo-advisor trend continues to attract a few new entrants. The robo-advisor debutantes tout variations of the standard robo-models, with one robo-firm (WorthFM) catering to the needs of women, and one (MeetInvest) offering investor portfolios built using stocks—not ETFs—and the investing rationale of famous investors—not preset algorithms that tend to be generic after accounting for risk preferences.
On June 28, SWIFT issued a press release and announced that “SWIFT’s global payments innovation initiative will transform cross-border payments.” This initiative could be a big game changer in B2B payments. I think SWIFT has found a winner with this project, and it looks like one that won’t languish waiting for participants to sign up and use it.
SWIFT has 73 banks committed to the initiative. It enlisted the largest and most global banks as well as many other large banks and has a good spread of countries represented. Both of those circumstances bode well for the initiative.