• Neal Shikes

The Fintech Elevator Speech


Oftentimes, I advise various financial service participants on fintech. Sometimes, I consult with business advisory firms or other consultants representing B/Ds, RIAs, Wealth Managers, etc. I find it rather puzzling as to why, sometimes, I’m working with people who have never managed money or have been involved in the reporting process. They are astute with technology and implementation but they don’t seem to understand the workflow and functionality needs of different demographics and target markets. I spend a great deal of time educating them and, sometimes, coaching them to ask me the right questions.


Nevertheless, if fintech was a person they would desperately need an “elevator speech.”


"Fintech provides visible evidence of methodologies and behaviors.”


This description may seem like it pertains to fiduciaries but its scope is much wider. Aside from fiduciary matters, this theme always materializes and gets reinforced when I am required to reverse engineer registered representative behaviors to determine how they arrived at their suggestions and recommendations. Perhaps those in charge of resources that determine which fintech is to be deployed, should keep the “elevator speech” in back of their mind as they do so.


Like all technology, fintech morphs with the times but functionality and work-flow customization is vital and should match business requirements. Whether the concerns are CRM, Financial Planning/analytics, or Reporting, technology should induce learning and muscle memory. As mentioned previously, I have witnessed a lot of wasted time and resources because those having the skill-sets required to choose investments and create portfolios were not supervising or part of the process.


Fintech reporting is rather interdependent with the required analytics and CRM as all needs to be cohesive so it can be aggregated and produced. So, what should be in the thoughts of those who produce and interpret reports?


“Fintech provides visible evidence of methodologies and behaviors.”


Reporting records and aggregates information so behaviors and methodologies can be interpreted. This becomes particularly important with regards to the regulations that need to be fulfilled. As one who has been involved in too many fire-drill audits, cognizance of policies and procedures, where they can been found, and have they been adhered to, are motifs. It only makes sense that those who have reporting responsibilities should have an idea as to why they are populating data points and accessing reports that record behaviors. No matter what hat I’m wearing, expert, consultant, project manager, etc., it always surprises me that this is not the case when I’m working my way through the discovery process.


In reference to client relationship management, I have always wondered why the fintech is designed so the user spends more time navigating it than interacting with the client. “Robust but awkward, clumsy, and time consuming.” Not exactly an inspiring review.


For those who acknowledge that age and demographic cohorts (Baby Boomers, Generation X, Millennials, etc.) factor into the fintech equation, I’d like to revert to the fourth sentence:


“They are astute with technology and implementation but they don’t seem to understand the workflow and functionality needs of different demographics and target markets.”


Clearly this applies to those employed in the financial services industry not just to their clients.

Dashboards, visible glide paths, usability, entitlements, risk reports, and client portals. It’s all the same.

“Fintech provides visible evidence of methodologies and behaviors.”