Beware, Be Deliberate, Be aware: reporting from the top Digital investing event

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As an advisor working with Fintechs on their business development, one of the initial inquiries is which events to attend every year.  Whether in hype “sectors” like Blockchain or more traditional areas like wealth management, there is a dazzling choice but highly questionable ROI.

RoBO Investing Europe has made my list of top choice in a niche theme and will not leave because the founder, Anthony Christodoulou, has a mission and proven record of executing. His secret sauce is his unique approach to thought leadership inquiry. He spends time asking the open questions that are relevant to the stakeholders in the niche area. He captures all angles: startups, incumbents, policy makers, end users, software providers, and consultants. During the drinks-networking session at the end of the event, it was clear that we all had a thought-provoking experience.

Beware, RoBO Investing is by no means a boring segment.

The end customer continues to evolve. The tech enablers continue to open up more possibilities for improved use cases in specific segments. The regulatory and policy initiatives, MIFIDII, PSD2 and Open Banking, are truly transformational.

Joe Parkin from Blackrock while in conversation with Ella Rabener (Scalable Capital) and Will Trout (Celent) captured the potential in one image:

Be Deliberate, RoBO Investing offers abundant choices.

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And Paul Resnik, co-founder of Finametrica (now part of PlanPlus Global[1]) confessed that this graph has taken him years to develop (consistent with the timeless statement; if I had more time, I would have written a shorter letter)

Be aware, RoBO Investing has three main dimensions

(x) portfolio personalization level (y) client engagement level (z) LT planning level – legal, tax, insurance, estate, pension

 

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Three innovation picks from the event

 The hybrid RoBO Investing model is becoming the norm.

PensionBee is an online manager for all your pension plans that sit like closed boxes do in your garage. Pension consolidation and management, for all ages. Romi Savova, the founder of PensionBee, is the inspiration behind the concept of Beekeepers. These are community members that are not necessarily financial advisors but are points of contact so that every PensionBee customer gets a Beekeeper but the average Beekeeper has several customers to be there for them.

Datasine is a startup that won the international hackathon at BNP Paribas 3yrs ago and uses AI to improve customer conversion through highly personalized images and messages. They use data science to create a psychometric profile and develop messages or images that resonate with customers. Already working with Hello Bank, BNP Paribas and Bank of Astana. James Gin, shared their concepts which is a highly scientific and proprietary way to continuously engage with prospects and clients.

Abaka is a financial wellness startup out of the Anthemis group. With Abaka, the standard notion of employers benefits are extended to the financial well-being of employees. The Abaka app is a broad service from an employer to the employees that educates, advises, and offers solutions that reduce financial stress and improve financial life from savings to investments. Employer benefits can be more than a gym and a cafeteria.

Three readings from RoBO Investing Europe

The conference brochure is worthwhile reading because it is full of articles from various stakeholders and confirms that RoBO Investing is by no means a boring segment and that you should be making an effort to keep up with the developments in services and business models. You can download a digital copy here.

The hot off the press book MiFID II: Value-Generation for Investors from Paolo Sironi and Maurizio Ravvezi, was showcased at the event.

The soon to be published crowd-sourced WealthTech book, by J. Wiley (edited by S. Chishti and T. Puschmann) was also showcased with the May official launch event already planned (I am also an author in the book).

 

[1] PlanPlus, a Toronto, Canada-based provider of financial and investment planning software, and FinaMetrica of Sydney, Australia, which offers risk-tolerance measurement tools, have merged to create PlanPlus Global.

Efi Pylarinou is a Fintech thought-leader, consultant and investor. 

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