The Genie in Asia

Financial institutions seeking to scale in Asia may find the magic in the Asian values for the family and community. 360F explains how an institution can achieve cost-effective and naturally scalable client acquisition in Asia through its wealth advisory platform “Multi- Generation Investment Genie”.

For Jon’s 6th Birthday, Grandpa Jack wants to give some “red packet money”. He wishes that the money is put to meaningful use for Jon. Jack’s wish is fulfilled on a platform known as the “Multi-Generation Investment Genie”. The Genie platform offers community-and family-based accounts with individual app access. Jack gets Jon’s mother to invite him as an ad-hoc sponsor towards Jon’s education investment fund. Whenever he sends money to the fund, both Jon and his mother are notified on the app and prompted to respond in-app to Jack. He receives not just smiley emoticons and phone calls but also in-app updates, the level of detail controlled by Jon’s mother, about his grandson’s goal progress. On the same platform, Jack owns an investment portfolio account tailored to see him through retirement. His eldest and unmarried daughter working in London sends funds to this account every month with a video message. She has a soft spot for her nephew, Jon who wisely sends her a blinking love emoticon regularly to remind her to get him the premier e-stickers with her in-app credits.

The Asian Family as a natural Group Unit

Jack’s family interaction and support for one another is typical of a modern Asian family. In Asia, the family is the society’s basic unit. The Singapore’s White Paper “Shared Values” tabled in 1991 describes the family’s role in nurturing the child, passing on wisdom and experience and caring for the elderly. Almost three decades later, as the society evolves, so has the family structure and form but the importance of family continues to endure. In particular, the financial conversations extend beyond the traditional nuclear unit to include the extended family and even cross-border.

When the financial conversations are captured on a single platform, family members gravitate towards that platform. In other words, the Asian family unit is a natural group unit that kickstarts the referral network effect. In the digital world of distribution that do not have the benefit of human interaction to nurture relationships, a referral network is key to a cost-effective client acquisition strategy – a critical component that has eluded the robo-solutions copied from the West and constrained by the Asian market readiness.

360F introduces Multi-Generation Investment Genie for Asia

The Multi-Generation Investment Genie is a wealth advisory platform made for Asia. It embodies the Asian idiosyncrasies – strong family values, inexpressive love language and digitally engaged lifestyles. It supports the sensitive financial conversations within the family network, from educating the young to appreciate the money efforts for them to giving the adults personalized guidance to resolve trade-off dilemmas such as how savings can be optimally allocated between insurance and investment, or between the child’s education and own retirement bucket.

Families aside, the Genie platform also tackles the advisory model conundrum in Asia. While consumers acknowledge the importance of advisory, take-up rate and satisfaction levels are low. In Asia, human relationships are emphasized but it takes time to build the trust before genuine data is disclosed and sizable sale cases closed. Wealth advisory in the purest and traditional form in Asia is therefore an inefficient business model for the mass and even emerging affluent segments.

However advisory has shown to increase retirement savings by up to 50%. To preclude specific customer segments from advisory services directly or indirectly would be short-sighted. Genie enables hybrid advisory in the context of behavioral finance and blockchain technology. A combination of individual-calibrated gamified profiling and utility optimization functions automate parts of the advisory process that are prone to bias and competency failures. Zero knowledge protocol runs on blockchain to enable selective disclosure of verified data, thus giving the Asian consumers (and likewise the providers) absolute trust that the advisory relationship would not be taken advantage of.

An open architecture platform is in the works to provide new revenue streams to service and product providers, an integrated experience for end clients and enriched data analytics to support product development. The Asian values endure the test of time. A recent 360F supported study on millennials’ investment attitudes illustrates the generation’s inclination to put families before self. Financial institutions will find that positioning themselves in Asia takes more than taglines and clever advertising. The institution that builds its wealth management business on the Asian concept of family and community will be a heartbeat away from becoming the Netflix of financial services.