The State of the Financial Services Industry in the Wake of COVID-19
Even though we’re a year into the COVID-19 pandemic, the financial services industry continues to adapt and transform. Ever-changing social distancing protocols and market trends require companies like those in high finance to adjust quickly and often.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed and don’t know which strategies your company should focus on, keep reading. Below are the biggest ways high finance has adapted to the pandemic. We’ll also discuss the strategies that are here to stay and will make you more competitive in the future.
How High Finance Has Adapted to the Pandemic
The world of high finance, with its need for cybersecurity and constant communication, faced challenges with remote work that other industries didn’t. Meanwhile, market volatility increased customer dependency on financial advisors. Companies successfully responded to these and other obstacles with these strategies:
Like many industries, the majority of the financial services sector shifted so employees could work from home. However, financial companies had to adjust in ways other businesses didn’t.
While the rest of the world uses software like Slack and Zoom to keep teams connected, those tools aren’t secure enough for finance. Alternatives like Symphony and Webex adhere to financial companies’ high security standards while keeping employees at home.
In addition, organizations needed to come up with quick fixes for unique challenges. For example, Lulalend, a fintech startup in South Africa, had to keep employees in touch even as the country experienced challenges with the electricity supply. Their solution was to provide team members with USP battery backups to use during outages.
Overall, working virtually has gone well. PwC’s Remote Work Survey found that 69% of financial firm executives believe their employees are as productive working from home or even more so than they were pre-pandemic. However, the same survey noted that companies often struggle with bandwidth constraints and limitations with remote coaching.
High finance transactions involve sums that require a deep level of trust between parties. That trust is usually nurtured through face to face interactions over time.
Remote work has encouraged many companies to get creative about how they build those bonds. Some methods include:
- Increased content marketing – Write emails or blogs that answer your ideal customers’ most relevant financial questions.
- Participating in webinars – 72% of customers would rather learn through video.
- Hosting virtual meet-ups – Give potential customers the one-on-one experience while social distancing.
Financial advisors have also exploded onto social media, sharing tips on LinkedIn and engaging with potential customers on Twitter. However, financial brands should be mindful about how they handle these platforms.
In an op-ed for CNBC, Blair DuQuesnay, an investment advisor and financial planner at Ritholtz Wealth Management, notes, “Brand accounts do not garner as much attention, engagement or trust as individual accounts do. Firms that fail to recognize the power of the individual brand, or those whose cultures oppose the promotion of personal brands, will lose momentum on social media.”
Remember, prospects favor online interactions that feel genuine. This is easier when engaging with another person on social media instead of a faceless financial brand.
For more on how you can optimize financial advisor prospecting during the pandemic, check out this guide.
Increased Digital Communications Channels
In such uncertain times, people want guidance and help on demand. This has led to a transformation in how companies and customers communicate virtually.
According to a survey of 2,500 enterprise decision makers conducted by Twilio, 60% of financial services companies responded to the pandemic by expanding their digital communications. This includes adding chatbots, live chat, and in-app chatting. The same survey found that on average, digital communication strategy schedules accelerated by almost six years.
Interestingly, the pandemic may have saved some financial businesses in the long run. Fintech companies were ahead of the curve when it came to adopting digital communications. Meanwhile, 69% of U.S. banking brands had average or below average digital performance. Lockdowns forced those institutions to pivot their digital strategy, bringing them up to speed with Fintech.
Data analytics have always been crucial for financial companies. The pandemic merely illuminated that. Changing circumstances have accelerated certain transactions, like selling stock, inheritances, and business sales.
Raj Khera, former Executive Vice President of WealthEngine, explains during this live Q&A that the best time to find new customers is before their major liquidity event, not after. This puts you in the position to advise them on tax breaks or other areas that will make their transaction smoother. Data analytics makes it possible to find those customers before they even realize they need your services.
With prospect research software like WealthEngine, you can screen a database of potential customers and look for certain characteristics. For example, Khera notes that in the next decade, millennials will increase their wealth by a factor of five as 20 trillion dollars in assets will be transferred to them. Data analytics software makes it possible to find those future customers and start building a relationship with them today.
The Future of the Financial Services Industry
Even as vaccines roll out, remote employees and online chatting are here to stay. 99% of financial companies in the Twilio survey agree that future opportunities for virtual work are possible. Meanwhile, 94% of respondents say they’ll keep expanding virtual communication channels even if the pandemic subsides.
That being said, customers expect authentic connection with businesses despite communication moving to digital channels. Used well, technology facilitates those human moments.
Video conferencing and webinars are only the beginning. Data analytics tools, such as WealthEngine’s WE Analyze tool, lets you zero in on prospects who are the best fit for your services.
This saves you time searching for potential customers so you can spend more of your day in one-on-one virtual meetings. Plus, you can find the prospects with the highest capacity, propensity, and intent to work with you.
WealthEngine makes this possible. Get in touch today for a free demo and see how WealthEngine can help you reach your goals during any financial climate.