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How We Are Adviser Inspired

3 min read

Everything we do is inspired by the adviser; from our seamless onboarding experience to the technology we use. Advisers inspire the way we work and how we communicate.

By listening to advisers and what they need we have built our technology from the ground up. Their insights ensure our solution is simple, transparent and easy to use.

Our inner tribe
We don’t take our inspiration from just any adviser; we partner with wealth managers who have a digital-first mindset and who provide holistic and goal-based financial advice. It’s through this partnership with ‘wealth managers of the future’ that we work together to change the way investments are done. We call them ‘our inner tribe’ and they really are at the heart of everything we do.

INN8 Connect
Being adviser led, it is imperative that we engage and interact with our target market during the initialdevelopment and continuous iteration of our purpose-built investment platform.

We do this by getting advisers in a room (or on a Zoom call) with us. In this way, we encourage advisers to think deeply about their businesses and how to better serve their clients, which enables us to create the best design and interaction with our platform based off these insights.

We actively listen so that we can understand the challenges and opportunities facing our inner tribe. This gives us a clearer view of where our development priorities should lie, and we can then make high conviction decisions about where we should focus first.

Opening up to the improbable
As Head of Innovation, my role is to find the signal in the noise when designing our innovation roadmap that is intended to ‘change the way investments are done’.

It’s akin to exploring an unchartered jungle, machete in hand, trying to create a path that will guide your tribe who will later be journeying down it. You may make a wrong turn –and that’s okay provided you have not bet the whole expedition on a single decision, so you are able learn and correct your path. You need to look, listen, smell, and sense your surroundings in order to know you are heading in the right direction. You need to be intimately aware of your own biases in your decision making. You need to be open to the improbable and even the impossible as you never know what you will find.

Difficult decisions are required in order to develop the best products. It is possible to decrease the risk of making an incorrect decision when your deliberations are backed by evidence. Making evidence-based product decisions is difficult. The stakes are invariably high, time and resources constrained, and everything is important. In the words of famed Harvard Business School Professor, Michael Porter, ‘The essence of strategy is choosing what not to do.’

Research and development
How does one focus on the important over the urgent? By engaging with your most important stakeholder of all –your customer, of course. In our case, it’s our tribe of advisers.

Often, we get requests for product features along the lines of ‘It would be really cool if you could just build widget XYZ for me.’ A feature request such as this is in fact a problem disguised as an existing solution. We want to understand what that root cause of the problem is. Through exploring ‘why’ a tool is used and ‘how’ it is used, we can better define the pain point that theadviser needs alleviated.

Interestingly, the ‘how something is done’ can vary significantly from adviser to adviser. Each adviser has their own ‘secret sauce’ built into their own personal value proposition –even within a larger advice firm. Their processes are fine tuned to specifically create value for their client and result in extra special client experiences and superior outcomes.

An investment platform’s role is not to change that ‘secret sauce’ but to enable it. How can we do that? By fitting into the adviser’s way of working.

The ‘why’ part of the equation yields interesting insights. Motivations at the core of the ‘why’ are shared by most advisers. Many of these motivations are not just functional in nature but are also emotive. They include: ‘Help me delight my client’, ‘Help me articulate the value of financial advice’, and ‘Help me tell their story of success through decisions I co-created with them’.

By combining the ‘how’ and the ‘why’, we can move away from merely building widgets, which are invariably a faster horse, to finding proper and lasting solutions; to prioritizing an innovation roadmap based on real needs and evidence, to discovering the unknown path in the jungle to El Dorado.

To finding the signal in the noise.

A true partnership
It’s when advisers notice their feedback being incorporated into the features, functionality, and design of the platform, that the goodwill built becomes a powerful USP.

In September 2019, we received conditional approval for a pilot phase whereby a handful of advisers test the system with real client moneyin the production environment, affording us the opportunity to let our inner tribe of advisers be a part of our progress. As our project and business evolves, so too will our interactionswith our source of inspiration: the advisers for whom we are building this platform.

Written by

Aleks Andjelopolj

Aleks Andjelopolj

Aleks Andjelopolj holds an MBA (cum laude) from UCT and Kellogg School of Management (Chicago), as well as a Bachelor of Business Science Finance Honours from UCT. He has worked in financial services for the last 10 years, including equity capital markets, wealth, investment and financial technology. Aleks has a passion for using technology to help people and businesses solve real problems and achieve the exceptional.

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