After attending as a delegate last year, Scott Logic sponsored the second annual Platforum D2C & Digital Conference last week. The theme this year was ‘Engaging Tomorrow’s Investor’ and two streams catered to marketing and technical audiences respectively.

channel choices

Turnout was high with more than 200 attendees from most of the big players in the asset management and platform space well represented. One client, who works in IT even told me he’d heard representatives from the business were attending and signed up to join his colleagues so he could get ahead of their requests this year!

Aside from watching Graham Odds, Scott Logic’s Head of UX, presenting his views on conversational commerce together with a rather engaging demo of what that might look like, I attended a panel discussion on ‘Talking Straight to the Customer’. This focused on which channels were most appropriate for the next generation of investor, and the principles of a good brand experience for the user, which should be encompassed across all channels. Mobile also seems to be firmly recognised as a channel that needs to improve to best serve newer, younger clients.

PEOPLE POWER

Daniel Egan from Betterment presented a highly engaging keynote address on ‘Behavioural Interventions on Digital Advice’. He spoke of the importance of making virtuous tasks, such as topping up your pension fund or savings, easy and low effort, which could, for example, be done easily by text message, as seen here. He also made a rather interesting and timely point concerning investors changing their strategy in reaction to the markets; rather than sticking to predicting the markets and being mindful of medium to long term strategy, research showed those that constantly change and react almost always lose money. How should a D2C strategy best engage and advise investors when large-scale market movement, and therefore panic, occurs? Can pro-active, personalised technology such as robo-advisors better assist clients than mass emails with little or no personalisation? Of course, the US robo-advice market is more mature than here in the UK, and the projects we have worked on with various European clients have had very different regulatory requirements. In a later session, James Dunne, Head of Investment Platform for Santander, was adamant that robo-advisors should create the online journey, but as soon as anything complex in the client’s situation is noted in that interaction, a real person must intervene.

My personal highlight, as a working person with a pension I really should pay more attention to, was a video demo of Mercer’s personalised video pension statements, which are only 90 seconds long and end with a call to action as easy as clicking a button. This kind of digital strategy illustrates perfectly how to engage with an audience with precious little enthusiasm for such a dry, yet important, subject!

The changing landscape

Aside from this, I can’t say there were any huge revelations on digital strategy or the underlying technologies, but experiences shared from the likes of Aberdeen Asset Management, Nationwide, Jupiter and Legal & General, all confirm that transformation programmes are well underway and will be integral to the success of the industry moving forwards.