Tech opens niche markets for financial planners
Financial institutions are experiencing a vibrant new windfall as technological tools and the latest innovations are introducing their services to emerging markets, or inspiring existing ones to re-engage and increase their investments.
Some of these online instruments could be as basic or as foundational as the company website. However, as Ryan Wibberley of CIC Wealth found out, that new community of customers that he wanted to reach out to could be drawn in by a simple but significant change in the design or logo. As reported by Investor’s Business Daily, Wibberley effected the change in the company he founded in 1999 thirteen years later when he noticed one trend in the industry that ultimately turned out to be his next big opportunity.
\Increasingly many of the customers coming to him for financial advice were single women—these were ladies who were professionally successful and had a significant amount of savings and were either divorced, separated, widowed, or never been married. Growing this niche market meant making changes beyond the cosmetic: Wibberley created an all-women advisory board, who gave his company the guidance and credibility it needed to draw in more single ladies looking to make the right investments.
Millennials with the drive, energy, and interest to make money, have long been eyed by wealth management companies. Ironically, at least in Canada, it is the robo-advisors or automated financial advisors who are getting their confidence and their hard-earned cash. As reported by The Globe and Mail, “automated portfolio managers” are enjoying a rise in their retirement savings policies, thanks to twenty-five-to-forty somethings who want to build a lucrative safety net this early in their careers.
Wealthsimple, one of Canada’s most prominent “robo-advisers”, saw its retirement-related investments increase five times in January of this year. Perhaps it is the immediacy that the technology provides that has made it attractive to millennials. Clients who obtain online loans from banks are directed to Wealthsimple, which then makes a digital assessment of their financial resources as well as their personal and professional lifestyle. Afterward, the robo-adviser makes an online recommendation which the client can either accept or decline.
Nestwealth, another wealth management consulting company that uses robo-advisers, has expanded its reach from its original hometown of Ontario to Manitoba and Alberta.
Another compelling reason that draws customers to robo-advisers is the access to specialized service regardless of location. Behind that digital platform are experienced and intelligent financial consultants who otherwise would not have been available or accessible because of their distant location. That hurdle has since been removed by technology, freeing customers to seek out qualified consultants who may be more apt or “fit” to service them, instead of just settling for the nearest investor in the neighborhood.
These virtual financial consultants aka robo-advisers can also develop their own niche market who will gravitate to them because of their expertise in certain areas. Financial Planning describes the success of an Alaskan-based financial advisor who developed a lucrative clientele composed of employees working in the foreign service departments of various countries. Another success story is a wealth management expert living in the American Midwest who cultivated his own rare niche of high-paying bass fishermen.
Michael Kitces, partner and director of wealth management for Pinnacle Advisory Group, explains how technology has helped shape the niche market: “You can go incredibly focused because you’re not constrained by geography anymore. The technology is actually the enabler that makes it feasible to do niches the way you couldn’t before.”
M16 Limited’s Dom Einhorn created his own niche market of news-hungry investors, businessmen, investors, and entrepreneurs when he established the news app Born2Invest. Among their core members are Gen-Xers who are always looking for the most financially robust, credible, and promising companies where they can make an investment. The more astute moneyed players click on the app to check on current stock movements. Entrepreneurial millennials and innovative venture capitalists have also found a common ground in the 80,000-and-still-growing-strong community who daily read and digest the international news and business reports filed by Born2Invest’s team of content curators and journalists spread in various parts of the world.
“Wealth increases and is grown when you make the right investments,” says Einhorn, “And you can make the right investments only when you are properly informed. Technology gives you that information and delivers it to you regardless of your location. You can also encounter like minds and kindred spirits who are walking the same path. Together, you can create a mutually beneficial partnership that will provide value to both of you in the long term.”
From websites, news apps, virtual consultants, and robo-advisor platforms, technology will continue to open new avenues for wealth creation by creating and fostering niche markets.