Bridging the gap between asset managers and potential investors is getting more complicated. Gone are the days when wholesalers took advisors to high-net-worth clients golfing or out for steak dinners to drum up business. Relationships now are based on information and education, and that’s a far trickier process to get right.
Stepping in to the dislocation is Peter Hans with Harvest Exchange, a social-network style platform intended to bridge that gap between asset managers and high net worth clients.
Harvest Exchange essentially creates a two-sided marketplace, with high net worth individuals and family offices on one side, and the investment managers who want to reach them on the other, linked by a content platform. Investment managers post their market outlooks, educational materials and whitepapers freely, and potential clients can take advantage of a wide array of filtering options in order to find the type of investments or education they are looking for. Similar to certain dating apps, investment managers can’t communicate with potential clients unless the client contacts them first.
“We want to help providers share and syndicate the value proposition that they provide so that the most relevant audience can access that information and start to build a relationship.” Says Hans.
The dating app parallels don’t end there; for Hans, “relationships” are at the center of his philosophy not just for harvest exchange, but the future of all fintech.
“Using technology to empower and build human relationships is the future. There was a lot of concern in the past over technology displacing the human component, but this will always be an industry where human interaction is at the center of the business. The real opportunity is leveraging technology to help build relationships and partnerships.”
Prior to Harvest, Hans was a founding member of DC-based Investment Advisor, Height Analytics, LLC, where he oversaw its Macro, Policy and Event-Driven research team as well as its institutional sales. There, he learned the best way to facilitate a relationship with potential clients was through collecting copious amounts of user data, which managers can access based on the nature of their connection to who they are inquiring about (the social network aspect).
“The way I think about this is just like Amazon knows more about my family than maybe I do, then there’s no reason that that can’t be used in a beneficial manner to align the interests of advisors and potential clients. Ultimately if you can offer something that serves relevant information without all the noise, you make a better use of everyone’s time and resources.”
It turns out advisors are using the platform not just to prospect for new business but to communicate with existing clients. “The power of the data … empowers them to understand current clients better.”
In the coming year Harvest Exchange is looking to expand their platform to better serve the needs of smaller, independent advisors.
“I always looked at it very publically,” Says Hans, “a market to connect with those you otherwise wouldn’t have. But I’m surprised at the real interest in white labeling the platform to allow it to power private communications and communities. It’s a really exciting opportunity and growth avenue for us.”