• CONNECT by Crossbridge

Ride or die – wealth managers need to embrace digitalisation or risk being left behind


The Tech Team - September 7, 2018

The digital revolution over the past 20 years has transformed just about every part of our lives, including the way we think about and manage our money. Technological advancements have created a new generation of investors, whose expectations of financial services are shaped by the way they interact with and embrace digital life.

Simply put, digitalisation is reshaping the wealth management scene, and service providers need to adapt accordingly. Gone are the days when the only way to get financial advice was to physically go to a branch or an office and be sold a product. Instead, what is taking over is an increasing need to marry new and emerging technologies with the demand for more tailored and seamless services. The typical journey of a wealth management client has changed and the people managing their money should also follow suit.

The typical journey of a wealth management client has changed and the people managing their money should also follow suit.

When we first launched CONNECT by Crossbridge, Singapore’s first and largest digital robo-advisor, we wanted to create a solution that will complement our discretionary wealth management business. In the two years since the launch of CONNECT, we have witnessed new technologies making waves across the industry, with others fading fast into obscurity. To stay relevant and meet the changing needs of investors, CONNECT too, has evolved quickly bringing a number of firsts to the Singapore market ourselves.

Taking the hassle out of onboarding

The traditional onboarding process which involves filling in a behemoth of forms is cumbersome and inconvenient for customers. This is why we developed Singapore’s first fully digital onboarding system, which includes end-to-end online application, digital signing and encryption of user documents, minimising the need for multiple face-to-face meetings to fill in paperwork.

As a next step, CONNECT will soon become the first pure-play robo-advisor in Singapore1 to integrate MyInfo, the Singapore government data repository that automatically fills out e-forms of participating digital services. This will provide CONNECT clients with an even simpler and more frictionless online experience, making the onboarding process easier than ever.

Leveraging Artificial Intelligence

A recent report from Forbes Insights and Temonos confirmed that Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies are weaving their way into the traditional world of wealth management. 41% of wealth managers believe that strong deployment of AI technologies will help them acquire mass affluent clients2. As a new emerging trend in the wealth management landscape, AI allows wealth managers and robo-advisors to effectively prioritise the needs of clients by providing more targeted information, so that investors will be better prepared in their decision-making process.

When we did our most recent enhancements on CONNECT, we integrated Southeast Asia’s very first AI-based learning models to tap on these benefits. The People Like Me function uses machine learning algorithms and advancements in big data to prepare clients for investment – it provides recommendations on goals and investing timelines based on what other clients with similar profiles are doing. The Walk of Life function, on the other hand, allows you to keep track of your investment journey by presenting your life goals visually on a timeline.

Safe and secure

But digitalisation requires vigilance. Hackers have become more daring and sophisticated in recent years. This is especially pertinent to the wealth management industry, which does millions of electronic transactions every day and holds vast amounts of financial data.

CONNECT offers a high level of data security with a combination of serverless and traditional architectures. This essentially creates a more advanced cybersecurity system that minimises the risk of data breaches from the use of only third-party application programming interfaces (APIs). All user data on CONNECT is secured by multi-level network security and encryption. Any changes and access to the database are audited, tracked and documented to ensure the highest level of transparency and privacy. The CONNECT website is also secured using industry-standard cryptography to prevent possible hacking.

On track to deliver the next level of customer journey

As we harness technology to improve our customers’ experience, we must not forget that it’s still people who matter the most.

As we harness technology to improve our customers’ experience, we must not forget that it’s still people who matter the most. A strong human touch remains an integral part of the wealth management experience, and from time to time, customers do appreciate the opportunities to speak to their wealth managers directly for financial advice.

The heart of CONNECT is a solution that integrates digitally-enabled wealth management services with personal advisory. This creates a hybrid model that truly adapts to clients’ needs, something that could prove to be extremely valuable in the future of wealth management. According to Capgemini’s Asia Pacific Wealth Report 2017, 49.6% of high net worth individuals in Asia-Pacific (excluding Japan) preferred hybrid advice for their investment plans3, and CONNECT is leading the way in this transformation.

Now more than ever, we are not resting on our laurels. We are in the midst of creating a new and improved look for the platform to further improve the customer journey, which will be with you in the next couple of weeks.

Watch this space for more.

The Tech team