Technology: Friend or Foe?

Is technology a friend or a foe?

It is becoming obvious that the accelerating pace of technological change is the most creative – and the most “frightening” aspect in the financial services ecosystem today. The way a vast array of consumer products and services are conceived, marketed and sold to consumers has undergone a radical transformation in the digital age.

Customers have had a taste of what technological advancements can bring through other industries, and are now demanding better services, seamless experiences and more value for their money. Even data analysts have revolutionised their ability to collect and analyse information by adopting modern technologies. The pace of this radical change shows no signs of slowing down.

During the recent Financial Services Month organised by NTUC, a much-needed panel discussion, ‘Technology: Friend or Foe?’, was held to voice out the concerns on the future of jobs in the financial services sector.

The discussion started by addressing the concerns of people in the sector due to the technological advancements and moved on to discuss the need to embrace technology. We’ve picked out some of the key ideas shared by these highly established panellists.

Will technology replace humans in the financial services sector?

The fintech scene has exploded globally with capital pouring into start-ups that are innovating to make financial planning services cheaper, better and faster by harnessing technology. This may raise anxiety among practitioners to question if their jobs are indeed still relevant.

Financial planning is a space where judgement, emotion and trust play huge roles – it’s hard to imagine humans not being at the core of that. Money is emotional, and there are always intangibles to consider when deciding what to do next – this aspect of building trust and showing emotion needs to be executed by humans.

How to make yourself valuable in the digital age?

“Financial planning is an art not a science.” – Andrew Yeo

It is important to look at financial planning holistically and not merely as an opportunity to push products to clients. Upgrade your soft skills to be able to connect with clients on a deeper level. Understand their situation before jumping to sell them products and then, give them the advice they need in accordance to their financial needs.

As customers become more affluent, savvy and can better appreciate a conversation about what their money can do for them at different life stages, there is an increased need for richer advisory that focuses on such ‘purpose coaching’, something that tech alone can’t provide.

Technology does not spell the end of financial advisers but rather it means that advisers will need to reinvent themselves and adapt to the fast changes.

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