Future generations will doubtless characterise the start of the 21st-century as the point at which the twin green and digital transitions really started to pick up the pace, permeating every aspect of our everyday lives.
Take a look around: everything is changing. Digitalisation, innovation and developments in advanced technologies are having major impacts in almost all areas of the economy. In these articles we have looked at agriculture, healthcare, urban infrastructure, transport and a whole host of other areas… and we have seen that digitalisation is driving profound change across the board. How we travel, how we spend our leisure time, how we work, the way that our work is structured and designed, the way it is regulated and protected – nothing is being spared.
This is happening at breakneck speed – a rate of change that would have been unimaginable a generation ago. And these emerging digital technologies are making mischief on the competitive landscape: market leaders are being created and then ousted faster than ever before. Kodak? Blockbuster? The Titans of yesterday faltered and some even fell because they were unable to ride the crest of the wave of disruption.
Although a roadblock does not always lead to company collapse, a staggering 70% of digital transformations fail. Knowing how crucial it is to evolve with technology and actually creating and implementing digital processes and solutions are two very different things.
General Electric famously tried to do too much without any real strategic focus. The company was simply too large and unwieldy to digitalise all of its processes in one fell swoop. Digital transformations are often most effectively implemented when there are just a handful of enthusiastic people leading the charge – not thousands of employees.
A few years ago, Ford dumped millions of US dollars into a new digital-driven segment. But it was seen as a separate entity, lacking cohesion with the rest of the company’s business units. Successful digital transformation needs to be integrated into the whole company – it shouldn’t simply be a sidestep into a new business area.
Consumer giant Procter & Gamble had lofty aims back in 2012 as the world was emerging from a global financial crisis: it wanted to become “the most digital company on the planet”. But its wide-ranging initiatives lacked purpose. With hindsight, it might have been more successful had it set its sights on smaller ambitions that were more closely aligned with its existing products and processes. And monitoring the competition could have helped as well.
A digital transformation is a challenging, dicey initiative. In a best-case scenario, it can lead to fantastic future-proof results. But mistakes can be costly and embarrassing. General Electric, Ford and P&G have all demonstrated, however, that failure need not necessarily be the end of the road, and that successful digital transformation is possible.
The relationship that people have nowadays with the financial services sector is not the same as the one that their parents had. We have little interest in being tethered to the 9-to-5 regime that governed the lives of previous generations. We don’t want to travel great distances and then queue to meet financial advisers. Instead, we want quick fixes to absolutely everything. With one powerful, hand-held device we expect to be able to work, shop, play, find love, book holidays, bank, trade and invest… and all with minimum fuss and with as little in the way of financial outlay as possible. We are increasingly in love with immediacy and getting things done quickly; being able to manage our finances is just one of those things that we don’t want to wait around for.
That’s why we have Fintech – a panoply of technologies and innovations that supplement and in some cases aim to improve and compete with traditional methods for delivering financial services. With a smartphone and a spare five minutes, people with little or no financial knowledge have an ever-expanding pool of digital platforms providing algorithm-driven investment services that will guide them toward sensible investment decisions.
But what about higher net-worth clients – people who don’t just need automated investment strategies, but instead need to engage with a human being and discuss their life, what they want to get out of it and what they are striving to achieve over the next 10, 20 or 30 years?
Asset allocation is one thing… but blue-sky thinking, planning and actually forming a meaningful relationship with a client underpinned by mutual understanding – that’s something else. Your Moneybox or Nutmeg app can build and rebalance an investment portfolio. But it can’t help you balance competing goals or deal with the financial impacts of divorce or redundancy.
That’s where Investment Quorum steps in. And that’s why we built IQ Wealth (iOS, Android). The true value of a high-level financial planner is what they do in addition to providing financial advice. It lies in helping clients answer questions about how much they need to save, how they plan to transfer their estate after their death… and the tax obligations of various investment strategies. None of that can be replaced by an algorithm. IQ Wealth helps us with that.
Wherever you are – at your desk or on the move – IQ Wealth gives you access to a beautifully streamlined overview of your finances. Everything from your investments and savings to your insurance policies and mortgages. It’s all there, together with all the associated paperwork.
The starting point is an intuitively designed dashboard – a snapshot of your entire financial life. Needless to say, you can personalise it, so it displays the information that you are most interested in.
See how your investments are doing – valuations are updated daily. Be sure you don’t forget any upcoming renewals – such as road tax or HMRC payments. Keep track of important paperwork, such as property deeds, policy documents and wills. And there is no need to log on multiple banking websites – all of your financial records are there in one place, so you can easily track your income and expenditure.
With cases of online fraud spiralling, we’ve made absolutely sure that your data is always protected. Your financial information is safeguarded using bank level security and encryption, and the mobile app is further protected with your own six-digit pin. And with our enhanced privacy controls, you get to decide who your information is shared with (your partner, your adviser…).
IQ Wealth is not innovation for innovation’s sake. It is not a means to an end. Instead, it sits nicely alongside the very human services that we deliver while we concentrate on those things that require finesse and delicacy: picking the right product for you, helping you make the right decisions about thematic investing and making sure that we understand what’s going on in your life so we can build a financial roadmap that will take you where you need to get. In short, IQ Wealth is us embracing technology with one clear aim in mind. We have designed it to make us even better at what we already excel at doing: delivering superlative financial planning services with a distinctly human touch.
Register for IQ Wealth here.