Updated: Jan 29, 2020
What is WealthTech and why is it becoming increasingly relevant for investors, entrepreneurs, and financial institutions alike?
WealthTech, a portmanteau of wealth technology and subset of Fintech, refers generally to technology that aims to make wealth management and investment services and their delivery more efficient and automated. This definition, however, still leaves the term overly broad and potentially hard to understand; it may help to start at the term’s origin.
WealthTech was first used as a term in the early 21st century and generally applied to technology designed to help both personal and professional institutions. Since its creation, its role has shifted towards improving consumer-oriented services. WealthTech has had tremendous implications in the business world already. The ever-developing realm of technology has helped countless companies, consumers, and business owners better manage their financial operations in ways that traditional institutions do not offer.
WealthTech includes specialized software and algorithms available on computers and smartphones that streamline wealth management, but also a host of other applications. Companies are exploring WealthTech as a potential avenue for multiple other business operations including money transfers, investment management, and robo-advising, which utilizes algorithms and machine learning to offer personalized investment advice and management.
It is no surprise, then, that investment in WealthTech has increased from $930 million in 2014 to over $3 billion in 2018. WealthTech’s ability to provide an edge to any and all of its users has solidified its position in the business world; established financial institutions need to become increasingly wary of the ability for WealthTech firms to become legitimate competitors.
Many WealthTech startups have already threatened and even usurped traditional wealth management service provides by filling in the gaps in service. Consumers, especially millennials, have become accustomed to technological innovation in other aspects of their lives and increasingly demand it in their wealth management as well. Users want management on the go, data-driven demands, and increased personalization and customization. They have become used to accessing data and information everywhere and so it’s natural for them to expect the same from their investment portfolios as well.
These WealthTech firms provide small investors who would have normally been excluded by large financial institutions the opportunity to develop an increased role in the financial world. A vast array of different firms promotes more efficient products and services and increases the number of transactions made on an international scale.
WealthTech has not only expedited existing business services but has allowed for greater democratization of services in the wealth management and investment sector.
I am CPO and Co-Founder of Cred. Cred is a disruptive WealthTech startup aimed at enabling financial advisors and institutions to truly personalize each of their retail clients' portfolios, based on their unique backgrounds, financial situations and preferences. This is the way investing will work in our generation, and we’re excited to be pioneers on this journey.
A special thanks to Isabella Soffer, Miranda Wolford, David Minn and Jessica Edelman for preparing this article!