And what about the revolution on our hands?

May 29, 2017

The implications of the digital revolution for the financial services sector, according to Generali Global Head of Digital Transformation Moshe Tamir. 

 

As head of all things digital for the world’s third largest insurance firm and a member of the Global Vitality Network, Tamir knows what he's talking about. He took time out of the cufrently ongoing process of rolling out Vitality in Europe to speak to some two thousand attendees at today's Discovery Financial Planning Summit.

 

“Social media surpasses any other internet activity. In South Africa, there are 80 million mobile subscribers and the average user spends three hours per day on his / her device. On average, in America, a person spends six hours per day on web, mobile and social. In Asia, the numbers are even higher,” said Tamir.

 

This digital migration, Tamir noted, is driving exponential growth in innovation globally. Previously, world-shifting developments like the printing press and the telephone might happen every hundred years or so. Today, new technologies are released on an almost weekly basis. "Technology has fundamentally shifted the way we live, from our communications to entertainment and how we do business, and it’s reinventing financial services," said Tamir, who quoted former Google CEO Larry Page's words: 'We are no longer living in a mobile-first world, we are in a mobile-only world'.

 

Tamir cited a company as a case in point that has put the power of technology – specifically social media – to use. eToro, a social trading and multi asset brokerage company, with 4.5 million users in more than 170 countries worldwide. All of this points to the fact that there is a massive shift where “people want a mobile experience," Tamir says.

 

Yet, despite disrupting innovators like Lemonade and eToro, Tamir believes financial services are generally lagging behind in meeting these expectations, due to factors like regulation and legacy systems. There is a gap between where customers are spending time and where financial services businesses are focusing their value proposition. Tamir says the sector needs to move from an adviser-led, linear sales process to a customer-led, digital one.

 

Perhaps most insightfully, Tamir noted that "firms need to adapt by building tools for advisers to interact with clients across digital channels. Many have created ways for clients to communicate with the company, but many are still missing the ability for clients and advisors to communicate."

 

While Tamir says that trust is a critical element of financial services’ value proposition, humans can’t compete with algorithms when it comes to capturing information. He suggests leaving support functions to humans, where trust is required, and to leverage technology for the advantages that it can offer elsewhere. If done correctly, this actually ensures that personal interactions become even more valuable.

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