Innovations in Wealth Management Technology: Best Asian non-bank for innovation

The firm has a simple plug’n’play application that can save banks time and money in the race to go digital.

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DragonWealth



"Technology, client behaviour and regulation are changing the wealth management industry in Asia," says Bert-Jan van Essen, co-founder of DragonWealth. "If banks and wealth managers are going to close the gap between themselves and their clients, they need easy-to-use and installable services, good product suggestions and consolidated portfolio views."

Van Essen’s firm, which started taking on clients this year, has built an app to allow private banks and independent small and large wealth managers to close that gap without having to build new platforms and systems.

The application can easily be plugged in and customized. Using social networks and the bank’s own data, the application can group clients based by profile and behaviour, as well as show what a client’s peer group is investing in or interested in.

"This way relationship managers know what their clients are doing before even picking up the phone. For the end user, they can see what their peer group is investing in and interested in – which often can encourage them to invest alongside their peer group or allow them to share information, news and other recommendations to their peer group," says van Essen. The result is that end users receive relevant information, and the wealth managers can increase sales to existing clients by honing in on what they truly want and need.

Bert-Jan van Essen
Bert-Jan van Essen, co-founder of DragonWealth

DragonWealth has access to the wealth managers’ products and fund lists and information from fund rater Morningstar so that clients can see relevant products and information in an almost shop-like environment. The firm also plans to team up with a large ETF house to add in exchange-traded funds.

"We are expecting ETFs to take off in Asia, and several of our wealth management clients asked if we could source ETFs for them to select for their clients," says van Essen.

Van Essen says most of the inspiration came from the clients themselves. "The brainstorming really began by asking clients what they were missing in their current relationships with banks. They said they wanted everything in one place and not to feel like they were being sold the product of the day, but rather something helpful to them."

Other inspiration came from the website Shopify. "Customization with zero integration will be the next frontier for wealth management," says van Essen.

TripAdvisor and its ability to show peer reviews and interact with peers was also another source of ideas. DragonWealth works with Amazing Web Services, using their data and technology, as well as Indian programming company 8K Miles Software Services, which is an investor in DragonWealth.

Says van Essen: "Banks know they have to address technology, but they need to understand also it does not need to be a hugely expensive effort, nor does it require a massive IT overhaul. There are solutions and companies out there that you can plug in or partner with so you can move fast and keep up."

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