Digital Leader Summit 2019: the future of money in an ageing population

Enterprises are scrambling to embrace next-gen digital channels in the hope of improving customer experiences and gaining a competitive advantage. While there’s significant evidence to say that creating frictionless and smooth digital channels is a sure-fire way to success, this view may be a little over simplistic.

Of course, while a recent report found that consumers expect faster response times, zero error rates and easy navigation, it’s worth remembering that meeting these expectations is not, in itself, a silver bullet. And that new technology can be both an enabler and a curse, particularly in financial services where it has the potential to transform many aspects of the wealth management industry.

According to Gareth Johnson, who spoke with Information Age ahead of his keynote at the Digital Leader Summit, on 13 June 2019, in London, when talking about digital engagement in financial services, it’s vital to recognise its many facets. As well as the more tangible aspects, such as fraud prevention and creditworthiness, there are also elements of trust that are more difficult to define.

“When enterprises go about launching a digital channel and try to optimise consumer experience they tend to prioritise making it as easy and quick to use as possible. But actually, they need to think about key things in certain demographics too,” he said. “This is certainly the case in the older generations. Questions such as how to give tangibility, how to give control and how to bring a community together are fundamental.”

Gareth Johnson, head of digital channels at Brewin Dolphin, one of the largest British investment management and financial planning firms in the UK

Digital native strategies only cater to digital natives

Since education consultant Marc Prensky coined the term “digital native” in a 2001 article, the concept of digital natives vs. digital immigrants has moved well beyond the scope of education to become a common consideration in the enterprises today.

However, there’s a flaw with this ‘digital native vs. digital immigrant’ point of view, someone’s age does not necessarily dictate their technology prowess. There’s another problem, while ‘digital natives’ might seem really cool, they are not always the core market.

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With a clear aim of empowering business leaders to drive change, Information Age is delighted to announce its partnership with Purple on this brand new educational transformation conference

Of course, when fintech comes up in conversation, it not unusual to picture some sort of millennial glued to a smartphone, but financial services are pretty broad, and millennials are a pretty small segment of the market.

According to Johnson, the aim was to make a digital channel that appealed to people in their 40s, 50s and upwards. Interestingly, they value different qualities in digital channels.

“Academic research showed us that they really valued tangibility and control,” said Johnson. “Research also showed us, for example, older people tend to write ledgers detailing everything they spend and where their money is. To make digital channels appeal to these sorts of people, we knew that we needed to replicate these things digitally.”

Behavioural psychology

Another critical area that should be considered, according to Johnson, is behavioural psychology. “An end-user might be happy to transfer money if it’s £3.99 on Amazon, but if they’re if they are investing £40,000 it’s very different.

“Maybe there are times when you have to have natural friction in a process to almost recharge the brain.”

Would you trust a robot with managing your investments?

Robo ticks the accessibility box, and modern machines are in many respects a lot better than humans when it comes to managing investments too

As increasing numbers of people use digital channels to communicate and engage whenever they wish, Brewin Dolphin embedded digital solutions that increase client choice to complement its 29-strong branch network.

Brewin Dolphin also continue to offer new ways of enabling clients to communicate in the ways that suit them best, such as using Skype in its new WealthPilot proposition

On 13 June 2019, UK business leaders will have the opportunity to learn about the true power of digital transformation at the Digital Leader Summit, a one-day business conference organised by the London-based digital transformation consultancy, Purple, in partnership with Information Age. To register your interest or for more information, please visit:

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Andrew Ross

As a reporter with Information Age, Andrew Ross writes articles for technology leaders; helping them manage business critical issues both for today and in the future