Over the past decade or so, you’ve probably noticed an uptick in the use of the word “fintech” throughout your daily life. This combination of the words “financial” and “technology” has been around since 1971, but since then, it has become so ubiquitous that it was finally added to the Merriam-Webster dictionary in 2018.
What is fintech?
Defined as “products and companies that employ newly developed digital and online technologies in the banking and financial services industry,” in real-work terms, fintech companies are often considered leaders in their industry, focused on “disrupting” how business has traditionally been conducted through the use of technology.
That same technology is used to help automate, optimize and streamline the mundane and time-consuming aspects of a company’s standard processes. Which is not to be confused with robo-advisors that attempt to automate financial planning services. Framed in that context, when you hear a company proclaim that it is a fintech company, or that it leverages the use of fintech, it might come across as if it is sacrificing the more human aspects of its business – a personal relationship with clients for example – for efficiency.
But for some fintech companies, like here at Edelman Financial Engines, it results in the exact opposite outcome.
The personal side of fintech
At Edelman Financial Engines, we use simulation engines, optimization and other forms of fintech to support the work we do in retirement planning, investment management, personal financial planning and other services. This has allowed us to create a fintech ecosystem built on our internal capabilities, which, far from distancing us from our clients, actually allows us to work with them more closely.
For example, by automating and simplifying the process for onboarding a new client, we’ve reduced the time and paperwork needed to get them into our system. That frees up our advisors and gives them more time to build personal relationships with their clients, allowing them to sit down, face-to-face, and discover what their hopes, needs, goals and dreams are so that we can build a customized financial plan to help them achieve their financial goals.
Wealth planning integrated approach
Today’s modern wealth planning requires an integrated approach, one that incorporates all the different parts of your financial life into a comprehensive strategy. These include:
- Financial planning
- Estate planning
- Tax planning
- Insurance planning
- Investment management
- Retirement planning
It’s the technology behind the strategy that enables us to take a holistic view of these components and manage them for our clients in a way that helps elevate their wealth.
Taking a fintech-forward approach also allows our clients to have greater transparency and visibility regarding their investment portfolios and financial plans so they can see how they are doing in relation to their goals and objectives.
Of course, no technology – fintech or otherwise – can ever be a substitute for working with a knowledgeable, experienced financial planner. At Edelman Financial Engines we know that the core of the client/advisor relationship – and a key to its success – is just that, the relationship.
And by deploying fintech solutions, we can improve the personal connections between our planners and their clients because the efficiencies that fintech brings allows planners to switch their focus from paperwork, reporting and other time-consuming tasks toward building a deeper and more meaningful relationship with their client.