News and views from fintechs, challengers and established wealth brands in our ongoing discussion show
After a discussion of the recently released Kalifa Report and the changing fintech landscape in the UK, in April, we spoke with industry leaders changing the industry right now. Areed Siddiqui, Founder and CEO at Kestrl spoke about the launch of the Kestrl app. Facilitated by open banking, the app provides Islamic finance tools to help the UK’s 2.6m Muslims to plan a budget, save and invest in ways that align with their values and religious convictions. The fascinating discussion highlighted the similarities with the growth of ESG and wider values-based investing and was an excellent example of a challenger arising to meet the requirements of an under-served market.
Solving problems for customers
One of the interesting points that Siddiqui raised showed how the success of the solution relied on a close alignment with the priorities of their target market. While an online banking app is on the roadmap for Kestrl, the team recognised that following the pandemic, budgeting and saving has come to the fore. The app has become a digital front end for the main Islamic banks and is linked with TrueLayer Open Banking to launch an invaluable budgeting tool.
This focus on customer requirements was also a key theme in the discussion with Johannes Röhrenbach, Group Head of Product Lines at CREALOGIX. He noted a widening gap between the digital user experience of incumbent firms and challengers, with the established industry lagging behind. As digital retail banking services become more sophisticated, investors’ expectations are being raised and not all traditional wealth management firms are keeping pace with those expectations.
UX meets regulatory compliance
As Johannes Röhrenbach highlighted, wealth management is growing and there is a shift towards younger generations. The democratization of investing through digital-only challenger apps has accelerated innovation in this area, but it’s vital that the digital foundation for growth is closely aligned with consumer protection. Our conversation with the Chief Product Officer at NorthRow, Anton Zdziebczok, highlighted how fintech can be used to ensure both regulatory compliance and smooth user journeys.
While compliance processes are often viewed as red tape, the aim of the rules is to ensure that investors and their data are protected. Data-driven process automation can speed up compliance processes and ensure that digital-first processes such as onboarding combine this protection with a swift and satisfactory user experience. The reduction of friction can boost client satisfaction and commercial growth, demonstrating that digital tools can add significant value to established wealth management firms.
Values are an integral part of digital brands
Colin Bennett, Head of Digital Distribution at GAM Investments reflected on a recent rebranding project and highlighted that digital identity should blend the best in customer experience with the established values of the brand. Bennett also spoke with enthusiasm about the importance of continual learning following his completion of a Diploma in Digital Leadership at Warwick Business School. His example highlights the importance for the wealth management industry to keep learning. The industry is undergoing significant changes, and those firms that embrace the opportunities ahead by learning about vital issues such as ethics in AI and digital trust will be poised for success. Fintech partners like CREALOGIX can help to bridge the knowledge gap by working with firms to share knowledge and digital innovation that is aligned to the firm’s culture and commercial requirements.
The Fintech Break on Clubhouse held 11 sessions so far where our host Andrew Gough discussed the latest news and views with experts from the industry.