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For many Financial Services firms, investing in the future means investing in digital. Here's why.

The last twelve months have seen a tremendous amount of innovation within the Financial Services sector. Jobs are being created at an unprecedented rate, the market is changing and the expectations of the clients; to which the way many financial advice firms offer their services are changing too. 

The reason behind this revolution is due to the digital economy. Recent years have transformed the way in which many people do business due to the development in technology; financial advice firms have taken advantage of its potential to provide ever quicker, cheaper and more efficient services to their customers. 

At the same time, new opportunities have opened up for innovation within the Financial Services sector, which are starting to disrupt the way in which older, more established firms operate. In a technology-driven market, newer companies are making the most of the opportunities offered by new software to offer a streamlined online service to customers, especially in investment. Though high net worth clients, with millions to invest, will traditionally speak with Financial Advisers when it comes to investing their money, many people are investing large sums of money- up to £250,000- online. Investing money online gives clients the chance to track their investments in real time, with instant access when they want it, and constant updates on what’s happening to their money- it’s no wonder that online investment has become hugely popular over the last few years. 

To capture this market, many financial firms are scrambling to put together technological services to advise and help this new customer base, but they face stiff competition. With hundreds of regulated digital investment apps on the market, from Nutmeg, which gets you started within a couple of clicks, to Money farm; traditional companies are seeing a sea change in the market: for ease of access, efficiency, and a better client service, customers are starting to turn to these newer companies for investment. 

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This development has consequences. Today, up to22% of businessesthat deal in insurance, asset management and wealth management are predicted to be at risk from market disruption, and for many companies the answer to staying competitive in the market, amid a flurry of new startups, is revolutionising the way in which they approach digitally engaging their customers.

To stay competitive and better target these new investors, many have started to work on their digital offering, setting up portals that allow clients to easily access online services, and working on expanding their digital marketing to capitalise on the third of the global population that regularly uses social networks, driving traffic to their new services as a result. Today, 24/7 accessibility, an intuitive product design and a fast service is key to retaining clients, and to attract new business many companies have also started to exclusively target lower-income investors in the hopes of engaging them online and encouraging investment. 

Given how integral Fintech is set to become within the Financial Services market- with ,77% of global financial firms expecting to increasetheir internal innovation efforts in this area over the next five years- job opportunities are also starting to spring up around the digital market. A huge demand has sprung up for people specialising in online proposition, especially for companies establishing new software platforms. Product specialists will also likely become sought after, especially given that a large part of their job involves staying ahead of trends in the fast-moving marketplace to ensure that their product remains competitive; similarly, given the burgeoning popularity of digital marketing, an effort should be made to expand traditional marketing efforts for an online audience. 

Companies who are making the shift to a more digital-savvy business strategy should also consider making technology-focused hires, such as, Strategy Consultants, who put together the product and are responsible for targeting the right people to ensure its success, are a vital part of any online team, as are the Software Engineers and Technical Analysts that make sure everything is going smoothly behind the scenes.

When it comes to going forwards in this new marketplace, companies need to incorporate digital strategy and know-how into the way that their business operates. Many of our clients at IDEX are starting to really embrace digital, and this has been reflected in their hiring process. Senior staff should have a strong understanding of what digital technology can offer their clients, and incorporate it into their business planning, otherwise it will hinder the company in the future and limit the flexibility of the firm. After all, to thrive in a fast-paced digital environment companies and employees alike need to maintain an open mind and use these digital opportunities to engage new business. 

At IDEX, we’re excited that the industry is moving forwards and adapting. There’s a lot of positive change happening in Financial Services, and suddenly new job opportunities - many of which haven’t existed before - are making their way into the market. For companies who are looking to the future, it’s time to embrace what digital offers, whether it’s by changing your digital strategy or looking for new ways to engage clients.

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