Every few decades there comes a product, idea, or system that completely changes the prevailing landscape. Think Apple, Wi-fi, Amazon, and you will understand what I am talking about. One of the biggest precipitators of change, in recent times, has been the Unified Payments Interface or UPI. Launched 5 years back, it has transformed India’s digital payment ecosystem and fostered immense innovation in India’s digital economy.
Bill Gates said, “We always overestimate the change that will occur in the next two years and underestimate the change that will occur in the next ten. Don’t let yourself be lulled into inaction”. And currently, the action is happening in the wealth and investment management ecosystem which might well be on its way to its own UPI moment. Just like UPI enabled the creation of a seamless payment ecosystem, a Unified Wealth Interface or UWI can transform the investment and wealth management ecosystem and engender an internet investing economy. In such an economy, different types of service providers will be able to seamlessly offer wealth and investment solutions to customers in the most personalized and contextual manner.
Let’s see how this can add value to various ecosystem players and elevate user experience.
Scenario 1: You are a content app or website or research provider that writes about the stock markets, mutual funds, ETFs, and trading and investment ideas. You have decent enough traffic but your audience often complains that they are not able to act on the ideas on the spot. They either need to log in to their broker website or a transaction platform to buy or sell the investment. This can prove to be a tedious process.
A great value addition for you would be to offer your audience the ability to read the content and action the ideas immediately. For example, Sheena is reading an article on the pharma sector being bullish in the next few years. She now wants to purchase a highly recommended pharma stock or, better still, invest in WealthBasketof carefully selected pharma stocks. In the current ecosystem, she will have to open her stockbroker’s app or website, log in and then make the purchase.
However, in the UWI powered ecosystem, Sheena can simply purchase the selected stock or the pharma WealthBasket in just a few seamless steps. Let’s see how this happens. When Sheena clicks on the investment, she is asked to share some relevant details by a wealth gateway which is similar to a payment gateway. The gateway takes care of authentication and order execution with the broker of her choice, thereby enabling her to seamlessly purchase the stock or WealthBasket portfolio. Now that Sheena is able to transact on your site, she has become even more inclined to consume the content that you share which adds value to her investment journey. She has also recommended your app to many of her friends. With this, your value proposition becomes more holistic, thereby exponentially increasing the traffic on your site / app downloads. From the perspective of the broking platforms, this takes away the friction of a user having to login to an app/site, then search for a company or a WealthBasket, and eventually trade. Everything happens seamlessly and quickly so users are likely to do more transactions. A clear win-win situation for all the stakeholders in this equation, i.e., the consumer, the broker, and the content or research provider.
Similar benefits will also accrue to a research portal that is providing in-depth research reports to its customers. The portal will enable customers to consume investment research and also start their investment journey by making the right investment choices. The best part is that the customer can do all this seamlessly just through a few mouse clicks or phone taps.
Scenario 2: You are an investment advisory platform that performs portfolio analytics and then provides investment advisory to its clients. Currently, most platforms do this through a fairly manual process. The relevant customer portfolio details are entered manually into an excel sheet and then the analytics are performed. For even those platforms that do leverage some element of technology, the end-to-end process is not automated. However, with a wealth gateway, this entire process can become seamless and automated, thereby enabling you, i.e., the advisory platform, to offer customers highly customised services. Since the gateway is envisaged to be broker agnostic, it can pull the relevant details about an individual’s portfolio, authenticate it, and utilise a portfolio optimiser solution to suggest recommendations to buy and sell investments or optimally rebalance the portfolio. The optimiser tool can help you track the client’s portfolio, create a watch-list, and even trigger transactions with a broker of the client’s choice. This will help you deliver holistic solutions to your client in an efficient manner, thereby enhancing your relationship with your customers and providing you with an opportunity to expand your business. Again, the customer is happy because she can access superior portfolio analytics services, the broker can expect more transactions, and you get an opportunity to grow your business. Another value accretive situation for all the stakeholders in this equation, i.e., the customer, the broker, and the advisory platform.
In terms of building solutions on top of the wealth gateway, we are merely beginning to scratch the service. UWI can potentially change the entire wealth ecosystem, building robust bridges across ecosystem stakeholders, enabling the creation of innovative products and solutions, and ensuring that customers can seamlessly leverage these solutions in a contextually more informed way. This will herald a new era of investing in India, where India invests in the most empowered way over the internet. UWI on top of Broking/Transaction platforms will pave the way for internet scale Wealth Management.
Views expressed in this article are the personal opinion of Ujjwal Jain, CEO, WealthDesk.