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WealthTech Insights #65 with Hailin Li. How Can WealthTech Companies Stay Afloat in the Growing Market?

Technology and increased demand for features are driving change. Will you sink or swim?

Interview with Hailin Li,
CEO and Founder of Advyzon

Latest trends in wealth management

According to a recent report, the size of the wealth management software market will reach $5.80 billion by 2025. The report also highlights some interesting and somewhat unexpected points:

  • Robo advisory is anticipated to record the highest compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 16.0 percent from 2019 to 2025 as it is cost-effective and can potentially help investors by providing information about assets in real time.
  • The cloud segment is expected to emerge as the largest segment over the forecast period as cloud-based deployment helps minimize operational costs and ensures easy access to data.
  • The financial advice and management segment is anticipated to expand at the highest CAGR of 16.0 percent from 2019 to 2025 due to growing demand for tools to manage finances.
  • The trading and exchange firms segment is anticipated to reach $1.01 billion by 2025 as individuals are increasingly investing in equity and forex to augment their financial gains.

Are human advisors in danger of a robo takeover?

Hailin has worked in the industry since 1996 and has witnessed the rise of robo-advisors, yet he still believes that human advisors will remain the dominant force in providing wealth management advice and guidance. Hailin joins many of our other featured experts with this opinion; there’s no doubt that robo-advisors can help, however it seems that human advisors shouldn’t worry about losing their jobs any time soon.

User experience trumps all

Advisors are inundated with product offerings, and the growing market is exacerbating this issue. Hailin says companies that can offer long-term support for advisors and their clients with powerful solutions that deliver information the way advisors want will stay afloat and win out over competitors.

“If you look ten years back, smartphones were not prevalent. And now some of them are on par with the best desktop computers. Why? Because that’s where technology drives the market—the product will be better priced, and the user experience is going to be better. Whoever can capture that will stay in the field.”

Hailin doesn’t foresee the market becoming oversaturated in the near future. He says that the only way we will know is when consolidation happens.

Embracing Artificial Intelligence (AI)

From Hailin’s perspective, advisors use AI tools differently depending on their size. It comes down to what data the advisor need—data analytics—and what the data entail. AI can be used to configure some triggers or notifications within the advisory practice. It can also be used to automate onboarding.

“Ideally, you want to cover those features well before advisors realize they need it. That’s part of the value proposition: the focus on consumer information, making decisions.”

In addition to the above, Hailin believes AI can be used for marketing purposes to shuttle information to the right client at the right time. But it really hinges on what the advisory practice needs. WealthTech firms will have to adapt to survive, which means they will have to take a serious look at AI.

How can WealthTech firms stay ahead of the curve?

Our teachers told us we would never stop learning. They were right. No matter what profession you’re in, new information appears on a regular basis. WealthTech? Almost on a daily basis. To stay ahead, Hailin recommends staying up-to-date on all new and existing services, companies, and products.

To stay competitive, you need to put in the hours, poring over market and competitor research from the product and business sides.

What you should focus on:

  • What features are competitors offering?
  • What technologies are they using?
  • What’s the best methodology? Is it anything new?
  • Are there any new frameworks that look interesting?
  • What does the user experience look like?

“On a daily basis, I feel like there’s not enough time. That’s why I do research on weekends. I would say soak up all this information. But at the same time, you have to enjoy what you’re doing.”

Takeaways

We cannot avoid our nature. Although sometimes we may feel like vegging out, human civilization as we know it was built and continues to be built by people who amass information. This curiosity is insatiable, so we have to feed it. By following trends, we learn what will drive the market in the future. For WealthTech, robo-advisors are here to stay, and the same goes for AI and machine learning. If you want to succeed in this field, don’t just blindly follow what everyone’s saying. Do the research yourself!

About

Hailin Li received an MBA from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, a PhD in physics from the State University of New York at Stony Brook, and a BS in physics from Peking University, China. Prior to founding yHLsoft, the company that created Advyzon, Hailin served as senior vice president of advisor software at Morningstar until 2012.

Hailin Li, Advyzon

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Interviewed by Vasyl Soloshchuk, CEO and co-owner at INSART, FinTech engineering company. Vasyl is also the author of WealthTech Club, which conducts research into Fortune and Startup Robo-advisor and Wealth Management companies in terms of the technology ecosystem.

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