Since the inception of the digital era, accessing anything and everything has become easier compared to the good old days of manual intervention. Digitisation has touched upon various aspects of our lives. It all started with digitising our social networks, purchasing goods online and enhancing lifestyle and finances.
A few years ago, an investor residing in a small town could not imagine having access to a wealth adviser. He would typically have his money in a savings bank account or in fixed deposit. Digitisation has changed it. Now, companies can utilise their digital strengths to tap the customer segment which was difficult to reach earlier. Technology can help one achieve high geographic reach, providing relevant and unbiased advisory and customer delight—all at the same time.
The government, too, has played a significant role in digitisation through extensive efforts towards financial inclusion—spreading financial awareness to the remotest parts of the country and bridging the geographical difference. Demonetisation gave the much-needed push to those who were sitting on the fence about whether to go digital or stay offline.
Digitisation has been transforming the investment landscape in the following ways:
Information revolution: The internet is replete with information and educative articles highlighting the importance of investing and financial planning. A new investor, who is indecisive about where to invest, can get a lot of guidance.
Simple is the new smart: The biggest difference in the life of new investors is the simplification that digitisation has introduced. Turnaround-time has reduced dramatically, processes are made paperless and advisory is devoid of any error or bias.
The world is now mobile first: In today’s digital world, smartphones have become our most important gadget—they can do literally everything for us; help us invest anytime and from anywhere. Various mobile applications are available for making easy payments, from monthly bills to bank transactions, or for investing in financial instruments like mutual funds, Equity Linked Saving Schemes, fixed deposits or even pension plans.
E-wallets: Linking your bank details to the e-wallets makes it easier to transfer the money from one bank account to another. Also, the monthly bills can be paid by just one swipe on your mobile phone. Trading and investing in stocks and bonds has become much easier through robust mobile applications and easier money transfer support.
Artificial intelligence and robo-advisory: The most recent innovation in the world of investing is ‘robo advisory’, which is aimed at automating the entire investment advisory process by replacing human intervention. Transparency and error-free, unbiased advisory are the hallmark of robo investing. An ideal robo advisor not only calculates the amount you need to invest for a financial goal, but also decides on asset allocation and investment products. Further, it also guides on entering or exiting particular stock or fund at the appropriate time, unaffected by emotions attached with investment decision-making.
I strongly believe wealth creation and investments cannot happen in isolation. It is a journey in which the service providers and investors are equal partners. Companies who are investing in digitisation are doing so with two-fold benefits—that of empowering their employees to deliver better solutions to customers, and more importantly, empowering the customers to take informed decisions with ease.
Jain is head, Edelweiss Personal Wealth Advisory.