In this episode, Ned speaks with Wealth Management Director at Javelin Strategy and Research, William Trout. Ned and William have seen the wealth tech industry transform throughout the years, especially in comparison to when they had just started out in the early days. William considers the variety and flexibility of technology to be unprecedented. Whether it’s API integrations or biometrics for onboarding and risk profiling, there’s a smorgasbord of different tools available to enhance financial advisory. API libraries are on the rise, and the emergence goes beyond API connectivity to more tightly knitted propositions that offer tiered solutions. The obstacles lie in the implementation and accessibility of the APIs. William observes that advisors should undertake more responsibility for their client’s financial wellness and that transactionally focused relationships with clients are unfavorable. Nonetheless, new regulations are starting to be erect and financial institutions are increasingly responsible for empowering their clients to make informed financial decisions.
Speaking of the advice gap, William expresses that despite a larger number of players in the US providing digital advice solutions with fantastic customer experiences, they merely offer boilerplate asset allocation and generic risk profiling. At the end of the day, the industry is built with conflicting interests and sometimes, solutions may not be in the best interest of the clients. William encourages firms to look at emerging techs, like biometrics and marrying enterprise tools to continue to disrupt the advisor sector. Ned and William also mention that direct indexing tools and ESG funds allow clients to customize their preferences, which is attractive in the US because of the advent of commission-free trades. William notes that these strategies will undeniably allow differentiation in a commoditized investment management market. When asked about his thoughts on the future of the wealth tech industry, William bets on virtual and augmented reality as the rising technology that will integrate wealth management seamlessly into our everyday lives.