Financial planning involves the careful calculation of investment goals to allocate limited resources wisely.
Planning the investments are the first step, and individuals usually consult financial advisors and portfolio managers, who are qualified and experienced in the art of fund allocation.
The investment goals of each person or household are different from the others. A middle-class family would aim for wealth maximization, while a high net worth individual may aim for wealth preservation.
Age of the investor/s also plays a role in the financial planning and fund allocation process.
The most basic function of financial planning is to understand the savings patterns, income levels and avoidable and unavoidable expenses of the individual or household.
Portfolio managers aim to understand the lifestyle, risk appetites and future goals of the investors, before advising on investment avenues and asset classes to invest in.
In today’s times, technology has also begun influencing the financial planning process of investors.
The Internet has made a huge pool of information available for investors, to improve their financial literacy and plan for future investments.
Financial planning firms have adopted technology for customer relation management, workflow automation, financial strategy selection, and planning and execution of investment decisions of customers.
Technology has impacted the way investors and broking firms interact and invest in the markets. With dematerialisation and online execution of trades, technology has a larger role to play in the overall investment environment.
A demat account for free can be opened easily by individuals interested in participation in the secondary capital markets. Here are some of the ways by which technology has played a role in improving financial planning strategies:
- CRM (Customer Relationship Management): Technology has enhanced the way financial services firms and brokers get a client base. CRM (Customer Relationship Management) is defined as the strategies, technologies and tools used to analyse and handle customer interaction. CRM is used throughout the customer life-cycle – right from the market research till the after-sales services. In financial planning, CRM is important to ensure customer satisfaction and realisation of their investment goals.
- Surveys and Market Research: Technology is also used to conduct surveys and market research on potential customers, by boutique investment firms and brokerage houses. These surveys and in-depth analysis enable them to match their product offering to the customer requirement from investments and financial planning. Customer acquisition strategies can also be aligned to market research by the firm.
- Workflow Automation: Financial planning is the primary responsibility of the investors, and they approach brokers and technical advisors to aid them in this process. Financial planning is accomplished through many stages – understanding investment goals, analyzing asset classes, rates of returns, risk appetites, and investment avenues. Technology helps in workflow automation by specialized software’s that record customer data, and analyze past trends. They also predict future profitable investment vehicles for clients. Gone are the days of traditional analysis which was sans technology.
- Personalisation of investments: Clients always look for customised solutions to the realisation of their financial goals. The goals of different clients are different as per age, income level, savings level, return requirement and risk appetite. Technologies like advanced charting tools and database management softwares enable the personalisation of financial planning and investments for clients by investment advisors.
- Predicting demand: The major job of investment planners is to predict demand for emerging asset classes such as alternate investment funds (AIFs), Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs), bonds, structured obligations (SOs), risky stocks etc. Analytics helps to predict demand for the different asset classes based on investor preferences and risk appetites.
- Chatbots and Virtual assistants: Financial services firms and investment advisors have utilized technology to create live support for their online portals. These virtual assistants/ chat-bots aid potential clients to understand their investment goals by interacting with a live chat support software, programmed for the job. Financial planning has become lucid for both brokers and investors because of chatbots.
- Value addition through analytics: The fin-tech revolution combines financial tools with technology. Artificial intelligence, analytics, social media mapping, and other allied technologies have enhanced the investment experience for investors. Predictive mapping tools and software’s aid investment planners to analyse trends and predict future demand for various stocks and bonds.
Technology has augmented the way in which investors and brokers function in their own capacities. It has expanded the vision and knowledge of investors in terms of types of assets, rates of returns available and mapping the same to their own financial planning strategies. Financial advisors have also benefited from technology by gaining new tools to enhance their business such as CRM, lifecycle management, digitised record keeping, automation in workflow management etc.
Another pivotal benefit from technology is the possibility of customized services by financial advisors to clients. Investments are a highly personal domain, and every person has different investment goals and objectives. Technology aids a higher level of customisation of services to clients, with advanced CRM and analytical tools at the disposal of advisories.