Let’s Get Digital, Digital – what I said at PIMFA’s Annual Summit

Yesterday, I spoke at a flagship event in the world of wealth management and financial advice – the PIMFA Annual summit.

PIMFA – which stands for the Personal Investment Management and Financial Advice association – invited me to speak on a panel about digital investing: what will it look like in the future, who will benefit the most and how could the industry as whole relate to a younger, more tech-savvy generation?

I spoke firmly about how the people in the room need to offer a “compelling story” as to why young people should use their services today.

Describing millennials as “Generation Confused”, I went on to argue that young consumers do not have enough targeted information about their finances that is relevant to modern 21st century trigger points, like moving jobs or moving in with a new partner. I added:

It’s all too easy to dismiss my generation as too broke, apathetic or uneducated to be a viable customer base but that would be wrong and unfair. Clever technology, sympathetic products/services and better representation within the industry can be the catalyst for more financial inclusion and better relationships with the consumers (and investors) of tomorrow.

I described the huge inheritance boom coming out way (£5.5 trillion, according to official estimates) and the fact that very few financial advisers have any meaningful relationship with younger people who might not be able to afford their services today – even though they be valuable customers further down the track.

I spoke about the need for millennials to feel coached, helped and mentored rather than advised – and we certainly don’t want the immediate hard sell on products that is (unfortunately) still par for the course in financial services. I also spoke about the dangers of leaning too heavily on technology, citing research from the Money Advice Service that shows many vulnerable young people can feel overwhelmed by money management tools and often need face-to-face help in order to get the most out of “fintech”.

My messages was in keeping with earlier sessions at the summit featuring the likes Dr. Eliza Filby, Visiting Lecturer at King’s College and Historian of Contemporary Values, Gavin Oldham, Chairman of the Share Centre and Tony Stenning, Member of the Implementation Taskforce for social impact investing. Common themes included the need for the industry to be more honest and trustworthy, invest in younger talent and focus far more heavily on financial education.

ITV News Presenter Nina Hossain hosted the panel discussion, which also featured Alberto Cuccu, CEO of Objectway, and Maarten Heukshorst, chief relationship officer at Pershing.

I’ll be reporting on some of my recent work with financial advisers very soon – so watch this space.

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