Is a digital investor’s greatest risk the one you can’t see coming?

Asking your team these 5 key questions can unlock valuable intel about your digital investing clients’ changing expectations – and help you pivot in real time.

Everyone knows dramatic market conditions mean new risks for digital investors. The real question is: are your financial institution’s platforms keeping pace? Offering your clients a safe, transparent and valuable digital investing experience now can set the tone for your long-term success.

Asking these five questions can help you distinguish your financial institution in a market reality riddled with unknowns:

1.  Are we offering clients the right advice for right now?

Knowing your client is one thing. Understanding their appetite for risk is the thing. Every client is going through something different right now. Their appetite for risk, investing preferences and long-term goals may have changed along the way. What was enough before might not be enough now, so revisit your plans and consider:

  • How often are we refreshing clients’ risk criteria?
  • Do client documents and forms need to be updated?
  • What new controls do we need to ensure machines and platforms are navigating risk and providing suitable advice in a market that’s evolving so quickly?

2.  Are new conflicts of interest bubbling up?

Conflict isn’t new. But like everything, it’s changing, too. The wealth of evolving government relief programs your clients may be considering represents new conflicts to navigate. What your robo-advisor doesn’t know can hurt them. Building in new capabilities to ensure your platform maintains a holistic view and delivers meaningful advice in this new environment is a business imperative. Dive deep to ask your team:

  • Are our automated advisors giving the right advice in light of current relief programs available?
  • Do our algorithms account for new factors – like the timing of relief loan repayments or changed employment status? 

3.  Do our assumptions still add up?

What worked in January likely will not work today, let alone tomorrow. The equivalent of a 100-year event like COVID-19 could have a very real impact on your models. Analysis you once ran every year or two may now require monthly reviews to ensure models are standing up to real-time factors. Anything less can open the door to greater risk you – and your clients – simply don’t need. Open up internal lines of communication to assess questions like:

  • Are the assumptions we’re working from still valid in this transformed economic climate? 
  • Will we need different testing or due diligence going forward?

4.  Could our tools be engaging clients better?

Asking questions can sometimes feel more natural with a human advisor who’s invested in the process. Building similar kinds of connections between human investors and automated advisors isn’t a new challenge. Even so, adding in the complexities of an increasingly complex market like this makes client engagement an even greater priority.

Working with – not only for – clients in turbulent times is a good way to build lasting relationships. Some 85% of marketers are reporting an uptick in customer openness to digital offerings right now. That makes this a golden opportunity to strengthen client connections through new tools and technologies. Explore the possibilities by thinking through questions such as:

  • Are we fostering opportunities for ongoing, two-way dialogue with clients?
  • How can we leverage useful content, thought leadership and fresh insight to deepen client relationships and build brand equity?

5.  How can our business stand out from the pack?

Automation is the great equalizer. Artificial intelligence and smart algorithms can help you maintain key standards and service levels across the board. Augmented reality can enable clients to digest trends and financial insight, helping them better understand the market. But the same powerful tools are enabling your competition to offer a similarly compelling experience. Where are the opportunities to set your platform apart?

Reducing friction points can help you redefine the category. Staying away from generic approaches, and looking hard at what your clients need in this particular environment, can be a good way to show the unique value that drives longevity. Take time out to ask:

  • How do we differentiate ourselves in a world of automated digital investors?
  • How can we make our communications more distinctive?
  • What else do our clients need right now, and how can we proactively bridge those gaps?

What does success look like tomorrow, and the day after that?

Offering truly distinctive digital investing services that make their mark in a crowded marketplace comes down to how well you understand your clients. Financial institutions that dive deep to comprehend the ways market changes are impacting clients (and evolve offerings accordingly) stand the greatest chance of building long-term success. Now’s the time to ask better questions, validate the customer journey, reduce client pain points and revamp the back-end processes that support seamless user experiences. Doing so can make all the difference between meeting your competition on the playing field, and totally redefining the game.


Asking your own internal stakeholders these five key questions now can help you deepen client relationships, build brand and drive bottom line results in a market where digital investors’ risks have likely changed.

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