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India's leading Wealth Management Company Feels the Time Is Right For the Industry to Embrace Technology The industry is poised for both growth and technological disruption. But what is the way forward?

By Vanita D'souza

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

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A couple years back, banks resisted technology. Many of them believed fintech companies would eat into their market share. With time, banks changed their outlook. Fintech firms are banks best friends. Almost every bank out there is going through a technology-led revolution to improve their customer experience.

Today, the wealth management industry stands just exactly where banks were almost five years ago. For the longest time, the industry isolated itself from technology.

The industry is poised for both growth and technological disruption. But what is the way forward? Is the industry equipped to rise through disruption?

In an exclusive conversation with Entrepreneur India, Sandeep Jethwani, Managing Partner and Head of Advisory at IIFL Investment Managers shares his outlook on the industry.

The Upward Strike

In the last decade, wealth management as an industry has witnessed excellent growth and presently, from clients to process and systems the industry is rapidly maturing. While on the other side, the industry has generally been very negligent on not paying enough attention to the technological advancement.

Having said that Jethwani believes that technology is not just going to contribute to the entire client experience, but also how wealth managers operate.

He shares, "You no longer will be able to deliver any wealth management solutions to the client without technology. For IIFL, technology is a huge focus area in terms that how we are working with clients - both in terms of how we report information and analyses information."

Additionally, he is also seeing an interesting change in how clients behave. For instance, five-six years ago, a client would ask the wealth manager for the best their product ideas and would then invest. Today, they seek solutions around their portfolio and want to understand how the portfolio manager can meet their expectation.

Jethwani opines, "It is no longer about whether this product is good or that product is good, but what is the right approach for the portfolio for the consumers. Clients have started to mature and this will lead the wealth managers to also change their approach."

Either / OR

What blockchain is to bank, artificial intelligence is to the wealth management industry. With the rise of robo-advisory services, investment has been bought down from a lengthy process to a few clicks. In other words, ease of investing is an actual expression.

However, Jethwani thinks for an industry like wealth management there is a strong human element that is required to interpret the client's needs. But at the same time, the entire backend – be it choosing the right product for the client, checking if the portfolio is well structured, knowing what the cost of the structure is - can be technology-enabled."

The wealth management company, today, realizes that the right approach in involving technology is through having a human tech interface in front of the client. IIFL had this realization almost two years back, which is why six months back the company acquired a technology company - Altiore.

Talking about technology adoption, he says, "It is a very rare kind of thing to see a wealth management firm to acquire a technology company. The key is that we want to embrace technology before it becomes an imposition on us. We are working very fast to renovate the processes, the advisory framework and the way we engage with clients and technology plays a key role here."

On the other hand, as far as the industry is concerned, Jethwani thinks it is a question for the individual players to answer, but the realization has finally begun to sink in.

Collaborating with the New Breed

Apart from adopting the technology, to embrace Industry 4.0, corporates have to work directly or indirectly with startups and IIFL is not immune to this thought line.

"We are seeing a lot of innovation happening in the startup space. I think as IIFL, we need to have a sort of engagement with the community as a lot of new changes might come from that side," he pointed out while sharing, "We are open to working with them either as their clients or through acquisitions. I don't think it is an option anymore. We have to be engaged to that ecosystem."

Vanita D'souza

Former Senior Correspondent, Entrepreneur India

I am a Mumbai-based journalist and have worked with media companies like The Dollar Business Magazine, Business Standard, etc.While on the other side, I am an avid reader who is a travel freak and has accepted foodism as my religion.

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