The majority of US consumers (83%) rate their financial health as either “excellent,” “very good,” or “good,” a stark contrast to the highest consumer debt rates and lowest savings rates on record. With a lack of consumer trust in financial services and fragmented product offerings not delivering alpha, the financial services industry is at an inflection point. According to the new EY NextWave Consumer Financial Services research report, the next five years will see a fundamental shift in the way financial institutions create and deliver consumer products and services.
The EY NextWave Consumer Financial Services research report looks at US consumers across varying wealth, age and other demographic factors to understand the preferences and behaviors that influence their personal finance decisions and engagement with financial services firms and products, as well as their willingness to purchase financial services through subscription models.
The report presents three predictions regarding the evolution of the industry over the next five years:
- Shifting trust dynamics will reshape the financial landscape and prompt the movement of $11.3 trillion in assets in the next five years.
- AI-driven financial health platforms will become consumers’ “personal financial operating systems.”
- Consumer finance will become the next subscription model, unbundling products and re-bundling personalized and holistic value propositions based on life events.
“Through our NextWave data we observe that what’s good for consumers appears to be good for the industry,” said Yang Shim, Principal and Digital Enterprise Transformation Leader at EY Financial Services Organization. “By utilizing consumer financial data to create customized financial services and shifting the value proposition to be consumer-centric, financial institutions have the opportunity to positively impact our society as a whole through a healthier economy and reduced strain on public resources.”
Trust and transparency redefine consumer expectations and experiences
The financial services industry lives in two realities: consumers don’t trust the industry overall, but do trust individual institutions, including their primary providers. This mistrust in the industry, rising largely from misuse of data and data breaches, must be addressed because creating customized financial subscriptions requires increased use of consumer data. Consumers are accustomed to sharing virtually everything about themselves in their digital lives; in fact, 60% of all consumers are comfortable sharing personal information with their financial institutions without specific assurances.
And while data sharing signals customers place trust in their financial institutions, data-sharing is not a one-way transaction; as with any value exchange, consumers expect specific value in return.
A personal financial OS for consumers, driven by AI
Even though the majority of surveyed consumers (83%) rate themselves as financially healthy, most still want to improve their financial health. Together with the fact that 50% of consumers ages 18-49 are disengaged by financial matters, there is a significant opportunity for financial institutions to close the gap between perception and reality, and deepen customer relationships.
According to the NextWave Consumer Financial Services research, new AI-driven financial health platforms have an opportunity to serve more relevant daily interactions with consumers serving as their personal financial operating system. At the core of the platform would be AI-driven advice that contextualizes suggestions and recommendations.
The boldest firms will seek to drive alpha growth and competitive differentiation by serving as consumers’ “personal financial operating system” with integrated tools, proactive advice and intuitive experiences designed to promote financial well-being and security.
Subscriptions finally hit financial services, focus on life-events
While financial services is one of the few industries yet to be disrupted by the “subscription revolution,” US consumers expressed interest in financial subscription models, with 25-34-year age group expressing the highest interest (51%). These types of models are attractive because they help consumers access the services and guidance they need, which is particularly important relative to key life events with major financial implications. In fact, several life events prompt high interest in subscription-based models including getting married (96%), having a child (90%), starting a first job (83%) and preparing to send a child to college (83%).
For consumers, making good decisions at these times will help increase overall financial wellness, security and confidence; for financial services providers, promoting financial well-being at these points will increase consumer trust and “stickiness” to individual companies.
“Our NextWave research shows that consumers across all segments want to engage, and are willing to pay for subscriptions, value bundles and benefits, including price certainty and convenient access to services,” said Nikhil Lele, Principal, Ernst & Young LLP and Digital Transformation Leader in the EY Financial Services Organization. “In the next five years, we will see both financial institutions and technology firms offering more holistic life-event based subscription bundles that will include products, advice, and dynamic financial health insights bundled together as a service. Ultimately, this will lead to the separation of services from products. In fact, the service itself will become the product.”
Conclusion: what’s good for the customer is good for the firm
Based on the research, we believe that it is critical for financial institutions to reimagine their business models and challenge the status quo to earn customer trust, generate true alpha and win market share. Because consumers across all segments place significant value in trust with the financial services industry, first-movers will gain an advantage in the market and reap the benefits of $11.3 trillion in asset movement in the next five years.
More information on the study is available here: https://bit.ly/2GuRIfW
About the research
The EY NextWave Consumer Financial Services research is based on market research, a proprietary simulator platform and a conjoint research study that measures and understands the engagement and switching behaviors of financial services consumers. The survey was conducted with 1,500 US consumers split across wealth, age, and other demographic factors using the US population sample from the most recently conducted US Census. The findings are based on statistically significant data pertaining to US consumers across the high-net-worth, mass affluent, and mass market wealth tiers, as well as across each of the primary age demographic segments: 18-24, 25-34, 35-49, 50-64, 65+. Responses from other demographics were captured, but were not the primary basis to evaluate the statistical robustness of the response set. Based on the research, the proprietary simulator platform was developed to quantify the scope and scale of opportunities for financial services providers.
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This news release has been issued by Ernst & Young LLP, a member of the global EY organization that provides services to clients in the US.