If you and your business are in a profession that charges a fee or a commission for exchange of knowledge, then one of the gorillas is coming after you.
Technology behemoths are disrupting the financial services sector and it’s only a matter of time before a lack of preparation puts advisers in serious trouble.
Facebook, Amazon, Alibaba, Alphabet aka FAAA…k.
Never in our history have we had such massive, powerful, global business units. Never have such businesses been run as these are, more or less, like dictatorships. These companies are still all run (for better or worse) by their founders. If one of these founders/owners wants blue to be black then black it goes. Board room meetings? Yes – but everyone would know who is in charge (normally the one that owns the most voting stock/shares).
Total market cap of combined $1.9 TRILLION+ $$$
Cash on hand $320 BILLION+ $$$
Borrowing capacity $BILLIONS+
Why they are coming after you? EASY MONEY!
Accountants, financial advisers, mortgage aggregators, brokers all charge too much for knowledge that is readily available for (in a lot of instances) free on the popular WWW. Fact.
These tech behemoths can give knowledge to your clients/customers for free. Not only that, they can correlate that knowledge specifically targeted for the individual. They can give detailed, accurate information based on real live data to place your clients in a better position than you generally can, all in the blink of an eye.
Don’t worry about these companies not being able to monetise this free knowledge either – they will and can. Their ability to scale a micro payment into hugely profitable business is mind blowing.
My pick of the top 4 and why
- Alibaba. When a company is going to change itself into an economy you know it’s big and growing. Subsidiary Ant Financial is a monster acquiring or eating up cash flow finance business and making new business models in insurance and mortgages and payments with better outcomes for customers and services. The Ant is already in Australia thanks to the Commonwealth Bank – maybe a case of the Commonwealth Bank keeping friends close but enemy’s closer. Alibaba is hungry, very hungry.
- Amazon. The boss of an ex hedge fund manager knows money and how to make it work. A business that used to sell just books, then a few years later forked out billions to buy Wholefoods Ltd (like Coles/Woolworths only bigger) to do food better than any one else. Amazon now has the power to bully people out of the market and Amazon can do this in financial services with the possible buy out of Capital One – the third largest credit card provider in the US. The CEO stated that they have the ability to systemise and digitise and better service clients than current companies and give possible better rates to customers.
- Alphabet. Google knows where your client gets their advice and who gives that advice. Google knows more about your client and their habits and needs than you do. Will Google get into payments insurance offerings lending? I bet if they don’t, the data they have will be sold to one of their friends.
- Facebook. Facebook has already moved into payments P2P via messenger. Within the Facebook ecosystem lies most of your clients. Think about it – how quickly could Facebook offer robo-advice on the simple transactions and advice you give at a micro payment compared to what you charge. People trust their favourite social brands over you. Facebook can censor and control what flows into your clients worlds. If Facebook says that financial advisers charge too much (via clever advertising) your business is in big trouble. A person will delete their adviser before their Facebook account.
Why are these cloud-based service machines not after your clients today?
It comes down to a lack of people and time. They are all after the biggest fish first, they have the capacity to go big first.
They also do not have enough coders and programmers – which are jobs experiencing a global shortage.
However, this will change over the next 5-10 years and as the big playes get gobbled up, the smaller businesses and individuals become a better target.
What to do
The only point of difference we have is ourselves, face and personality.
A chat bot may mirror a personality type best suited to you so you feel comfortable, however a real face and person will always be best.
Future proof your business. Within the next period look at the technology package that gives you the ability to have efficacy when you need it.
Find communication and work tools that allow benefits to you and your clients in saving time and travel.
Don’t wait until that day comes where a client says “I can get that service much cheaper online”. At that point it will be too late.
Tech is your friend not your foe.
Troy Penney is the digital engagement consultant at Suitebox Solutions