Amar Pandit , CFA , CFP

Amar Pandit

A respected entrepreneur with 25+ years of Experience, Amar Pandit is the Founder of several companies that are making a Happy difference in the lives of people. He is currently the Founder of Happyness Factory, a world-class online investment & goal-based financial planning platform through which he aims to help every Indian family save and invest wisely. He is very passionate about spreading financial literacy and is the author of 4 bestselling books (+ 2 more to release in 2020), 8 Sketch Books, Board Game and 700 + columns.

Though the headline might be a bit surprising, you will relate to it once you see this short but powerful 41-second video.

What do you think? Did this bring a smile to your face?

I know it did.

There are many lessons in the video, whether it be on marketing, creativity, and technology. The most powerful one that stood out clearly is the power of physical paper (and the great future that paper has). 

The key takeaway is there are many things that can be digitized or addressed through technology, but there are certain things that will always require either a physical thing or a physical touch. 

What has this got to do with our industry?

Can you make the connection here? 

I have often repeated this line “Personal Finance is more about Personal than it is about Finance.” 

Yes, Finance is important, but the Personal Part of the equation can never be replaced. It is simply invaluable.

Likewise, Personal Finance Technology or Personal WealthTech is more about Personal than it is about Finance and Technology. 

  1. What do you use technology for when it comes to your clients? Is it simply for product access and transactions?
  2. How else do your clients experience your technology?

There is simply no debate about technology being a critical need of the hour for all of us. But even when it is about technology, it is still all about people. The people who build the technology. The people (if any) who teach you how to use technology. The people who use the technology. The clients who experience the technology. 

Thus, it’s super critical to get the “Future of Our Business” equation right. 

At its core, this equation has 3 key variables: You (and your team), Technology (including processes) and Clients.

Your client experience is an intersection of all these 3 variables. It’s not easy to get the intersection of all these variables right. In fact, this is where most firms commit some of the biggest mistakes and thus deliver a sub optimal client experience (while eroding the value of their firm).

As I have mentioned before, the nature of your competition today is very different. It’s no longer just banks, brokers, wealth outfits and other distributors/RIAs. There are Pure WealthTech (aka Robo guys), Hybrid WealthTech (the combination of tech and people) and rogue outfits. 

What do I mean by Rogue? Firms that have no value proposition and thus simply use not only unfair but also predatory (even illegal) means of operations. So far, they are running amok by using mutual funds as loss leaders (Read the Loss Leaders Post in case you have missed it), or by taking/stealing your client’s data from various sources and sending emails to your clients. 

A retail distributor from Maharashtra recently lost 3 clients to one such predatory firm. All the firm did was send emails along with investment specific data showing the client the savings by switching to a direct plan. 

While you can feel sad or protest about this, file a complaint with AMFI and SEBI, the real protection against these predators can only come from you being irreplaceable in the lives of your clients. You can only do this by delivering massive value and making a happy difference in the lives of your clients. This is where the power of Personal comes in. This is where the power of empathy, care, thorough diagnosis, client experience, and skill becomes invaluable. 

Coming back to Emma, paper is here to stay. So are you and the real professionals. Many of the WealthTechs will be sold or shut down. They don’t love this business or your clients like you do. They are here to make a quick buck, package and sell. Wealthfront, one of the biggest robo advisors in the US (and world), was sold last month. For all its rants about technology replacing people (and how its technology only), guess who they sold the firm to?  

To, UBS. To People.