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Guided by Voices: Planning via Voice-Activated Apps

Financial planning in real time.

We asked several industry leaders to speculate on what the wealth management industry will look like in the year 2037. This one is from Ed O’Brien, CEO of eMoney Advisor.

In 20 years, I think the biggest change will be how advisors provide advice and interact with their clients to develop a financial plan. As it stands now, advisors typically work with their clients in stages. They meet to learn more about their clients and understand their goals. The advisor works on the financial plan then they meet again to discuss the plan.

While FinTech has certainly transformed financial planning from a process to an experience and has enabled advisors and their clients to interact, communicate and collaborate more than ever, it’s still executed sequentially for the most part.

In the future, I can see this evolving into a more simultaneous experience based on the emergence of voice technology. Keyboards will be long gone, and rather than having separate steps to communicate with clients, gather data, input data, develop financial plans and then share them, everything will be captured by voice technology and automatically entered into a financial planning system in real time. With some help from AI, feedback and guidance will be provided instantly. This will make the wealth management experience faster and more convenient for both advisors and their clients.

Look at the growth of Amazon Echo. Since it was launched in 2014, approximately 5 million have been sold. With Google Home now on the market as a direct competitor, sales will rise along with the ever increasing expectations of the consumer. Voice technology is becoming a part of the home and how people live, and Alexa is in the process of earning her seat at the dinner table.

Amazon also manages the Alexa Fund, which “provides up to $100 million in venture capital to fuel voice technology innovation.” Needless to say, this is just the beginning of voice tech. I’d guess that in less than 20 years, when you ask Alexa or Siri or Google if you’re prepared for retirement, you’ll likely get an answer supported by real time financial data and a dynamic, advisor-designed financial plan.

Those of us who work in FinTech embrace change, so I’m excited to see what’s next and eagerly await the technology my future grandchildren will be using. Who knows, in 20 years, my financial advisor could be based on Mars.


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