Regtech Research with Ben Charoenwong | E263
Jason talks to Professor Ben Charoenwong, an Assistant Professor in Finance at the National University of Singapore. Today Ben is going to talk about some research he has done specifically in the RegTech field. Ben explains how dealer broker firms would not have wanted to invest in all these technologies on their own, it's the fact that there are some regulations that kind of forced them to get software.
- 1.40: RegTech is short for regulatory technology or software that is designed specifically for the purpose of improving or assisting with compliance with rules and regulations.
- 6.09: At the end of the day, everything is all about liability and the only way to make companies accountable is to make them liable, says Jason.
- 9.00: When you look down the list of like the top 20 broker dealers, it's a mix of whether they are caring or not a lot of this business line of having custody.
- 11.04: There are many proprietary software solutions for document handling and storage that jumped about 30% when this rule was signed and started to be implemented and there is just a dramatic jump in the firms adopting the software solutions.
- 12.44: Ben saw an almost exact equivalent jump on the hardware side. The estimated IT budget for each company increased by about 30 to 40% and consequently the profitability of these firms increased by about five percentage points.
- 19.14: The most profitable per dollar of revenue firms that exist at this point are typically sole practitioners running at a high level of automation and it's interesting.
- 24.04: Ben talked about his research, and did he complete any form of causation like was it the elimination of bad actors or we could just attribute this to a Hawthorne effect?
- 27.35: If you think about this SEC 175-A rule it is very basic and just says, all these other financial regulations, just can you comply with them always.
3 Key Points
- The main thing about customer asset segregation is that the brokers that were not carrying or using other brokers as custodians, that was fine because that's a third party and it's very hard to steal customer assets when it's sitting with someone else, says Ben.
- Realistically companies looked at SEC rule that basically talks about banking versus investing and they must have thought immediately like we need a software solution. James explains what he saw in terms of the implementation and its efficacy of it.
- The technology component seems to have the operational effect that's almost equivalent to like having the FBI come check the firm, says Ben.
- "In the face of increasing regulations in the financial services sector, it's become fairly difficult for humans to actually make sure they are in compliance." – Ben
- "You always have all the independent parties who are making decisions as to how things are to work." - Jason
- "It's a known phenomenon that computers tend to not get scrapped, they trickle down for a long period of time until they're useless." – Jason
- "I don't think regulation is going anyway anytime soon. It's going to increase even more."- Ben
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infoSentience with Steven Wasick | E29326:26Jason talks to Steven Wasick, Founder of infoSentience, an automation company specializing in using artificial intelligence to enhance data analytics and communication in financial markets. infoSentience’s software can analyze any data set, identify key insights, and communicate them effectively, similar to a human analyst or journalist. This episode explores the innovative technology and applications that infoSentience brings to the world of finance.Episode Highlights 01:16: infoSentience’s key product extends beyond finance and into the sports industry. They provide fantasy sports reports for CBS Sports and cover sports leagues like the NBA and NFL.06:54: infoSentience’s approach leverages the power of conceptual understanding to efficiently process and communicate complex information, making it valuable not only in the sports industry but also in various other domains.08:02: Unlike template-based approaches where you simply fill predefined slots, infoSentience’s system accounts for the complexity of relationships between concepts. It doesn't rely on predefined structures, making it more adaptable and capable of handling intricate narratives.17:02: Steve discusses the different metrics and improvements that various clients have seen through their collaboration with infoSentience.25:51: Steve shares his motivation to continue pushing forward after overcoming technology challenges and reaching a point where they can showcase their work effectively.3 Key PointsinfoSentience’s system employs a rules-based approach to mimic human conceptual understanding, allowing it to process and communicate information effectively while avoiding the pitfalls of irrelevant or repetitive content.infoSentience recognizes the need for vertical-specific customization, they also aim to establish common models and approaches to address fundamental analytical inquiries that apply broadly across different clients and industries.Steve highlights the challenges associated with data analysis, data synthesis, and integrating data from different sources, suggesting that these are complex areas where their technology can shine.Tweetable Quotes“When reading poorly written or robotic content, readers often encounter irrelevant or confusing information that forces their brains to pause and question its significance. This disrupts the flow of understanding and can be frustrating.” - Steven Wasick“infoSentience’s future could involve integrating their technology into larger organizations to enhance data-related capabilities.” - Steven Wasick“Having a clearer understanding of data and its nuances from the beginning would be beneficial for infoSentience and similar companies that rely on data for their services.” - Steven WasickResources Mentioned:Facebook – Jason Pereira's FacebookLinkedIn – Jason Pereira's LinkedInWoodgate.com – SponsorLinkedIn – Jason Pereira's LinkedInPodcast Editing
292. New Retirement Wealth with Stephen Chen | E29228:05Jason talks to Stephen Chen, founder, and CEO of New Retirement. It is an online platform that facilitates financial institutions in offering DIY financial planning experiences to their existing or potential customers. The platform is designed to enhance and complement their existing financial services. Stephen describes New Retirement as essentially creating a "TurboTax for financial planning." Initially, the company began as a consumer-facing platform before transitioning into its current role of supporting financial institutions in providing comprehensive financial planning solutions.Episode Highlights 03:25: Jason acknowledges that Stephen Chen's approach with New Retirement is a much better approach compared to some other concepts he has encountered.04:07: Stephen talks about the evolution of New Retirement's business model. Initially, the company was bootstrapped and started as a subscription service for consumers. However, it became evident that this model wasn't inherently scalable for venture capital investment.05:36: This strategic shift from a consumer-centric model to enterprise partnerships has allowed New Retirement to scale and generate more revenue.11:08: Stephen emphasizes the importance of providing tools and education to help people gain a sense of financial control and visibility into their future financial security.18:08: Stephen highlights the importance of design in the software's success, making it user-friendly and accessible to a broad audience.3 Key PointsStephen shares individuals today are more educated and informed about their financial situations due to the internet. This increased knowledge enables them to have richer and more efficient conversations with financial advisors or coaches.Just as travel agents still exist but coexist with online travel booking tools like Kayak, Stephen believes that financial advisors will continue to play a vital role. However, he emphasizes the need for more advisors and lower-cost options to make financial planning accessible to a broader audience.Stephen discusses the importance of design in New Retirement's software, emphasizing that it needs to be intuitive and user-friendly, like the success of the iPhone with its consumer-grade design. He mentions that they are continually improving their software and focusing on data and AI to enhance the user experience.Tweetable Quotes“New Retirement collaborates with various players in the financial ecosystem to streamline and improve the efficiency of services offered to their target demographic.” – Stephen“Behavioral coaching also plays a significant role in helping individuals avoid major financial mistakes and execute their financial decisions effectively.” – Stephen“Large companies, including Fortune 100 firms, have now begun to appreciate the value of financial planning.” – StephenResources Mentioned:Facebook – Jason Pereira's FacebookLinkedIn – Jason Pereira's LinkedInWoodgate.com – SponsorNew Retirement Website Podcast Editing
291. Adviice with Owen Winkelmolen | E29134:24Jason talks to Owen Winkelmolen, Founder/CEO of Adviice, a financial planning tool in Canada. It is a client-facing financial planning platform designed to support fee-for-service advisors and all advisors in general. It enables clients and advisors to collaborate in building a financial plan. The origin of Adviice, can be traced back to Owen's financial planning practice, Plan Easy, which he founded in 2018. The discussion touches upon the challenges faced by those in the financial planning space, especially when it comes to handling payments, subscriptions, and client retention.Episode Highlights 0.41: Adviice is a platform that manages the entire client engagement process, including onboarding, payment processing, discovery, document uploads, planning, recommendations, implementation, and tracking, all within a single platform.6.25: Owen explains that the onboarding process in Advice is designed to be user-friendly and efficient, with yes-no questions and multiple-choice questions that are easy for clients to answer.7.20: What sets Adviice apart is its client-facing approach. Clients actively participate in the discovery process by providing information and uploading documents, and the platform's tailored design turns this into a streamlined and personalized "fill in the blank" exercise.12:05: Regarding white labeling, the Adviice platform allows advisors and companies to fully brand the platform as their own.16:23: The Adviice platform incorporates a range of visual tools and features to enhance the financial planning experience and provide valuable insights to clients.3 Key PointsWhat sets Adviice apart from many other financial planning software platforms is its emphasis on workflow and planning tools.The platform's client-facing nature, combined with the ability to mark completed actions and interact with the plan regularly, fosters ongoing engagement and collaboration between clients and advisors. This approach ensures that financial planning becomes an ongoing, dynamic process rather than a one-time event, ultimately leading to better financial outcomes for clients.The discussion emphasizes the importance of shifting from a one-time financial planning model to an ongoing and collaborative planning experience. It's recognized that the real value in financial planning lies in the continuous planning process, which takes into account the changing circumstances and goals of clients over time.Tweetable Quotes"Planning software may start with the planning tool itself, and the front-end (client acquisition, payments, etc.) and back-end (modeling) are secondary considerations." - Owen Winkelmolen"The use of visual tools like the Sankey diagram and the contextualization of financial data are essential for helping clients truly understand their financial situation and the impact of various scenarios." - Owen Winkelmolen"The ability to white-label and customize the platform for different niches and client segments is a testament to its flexibility and usability" -Jason. Resources Mentioned:Facebook – Jason Pereira's FacebookLinkedIn – Jason Pereira's LinkedInWoodgate.com – Sponsorhttps://www.planeasy.ca/owen-winkelmolen/Podcast Editing
290. interVal Revisted with Trevor Greenway | E29029:20In this episode of Fintech Impact, host Jason welcomes back repeat guest Trevor Greenway, the founder of interVal. Trevor discusses how interVal's software platform assists financial advisors, accountants, and other professionals in valuing businesses. The platform provides estimates of business value, guides clients in the right direction, and helps them optimize their largest asset.Episode Highlights 02:36: Jason inquires about the process of business valuation for financial advisors and others who want to help clients determine their business's worth.03:57: The conversation highlights the crucial aspects of raising awareness among business owners, enabling advisors to add value, and ultimately working together to create a well-planned and cohesive future. interVal's automated discovery process plays a pivotal role in achieving these goals.04:19: Jason emphasizes that conveying the value of something is one aspect, but explaining the reasons behind its value and providing strategies for improvement is even more significant.06:02: The discussion delves into the nuances of enterprise value growth and highlights the importance of understanding and optimizing value drivers beyond simple top-line revenue increases.14:15: Trevor highlighted the importance of focusing on optimizing business health and informed decision-making for business owners.20:49: interVal is actively navigating the dynamic landscape of technological adoption and increasing business owner expectations. 3 Key PointsJason and Trevor's conversation highlights the power of understanding "why" and "how" in addition to the value of data-driven insights. It also underscores the critical role advisors play in leveraging these insights to guide business owners toward growth and improvement.The discussion emphasizes interVal's flexibility in valuation frequency and data integration, highlighting the platform's ability to accommodate partners' preferences while delivering valuable insights for making informed decisions.Trevor highlighted the complexity of business valuations and how various factors can influence the perceived value of a business.Tweetable Quotes"While valuation is a methodology, the true focus is on enhancing visibility into the business's health and performance." - Trevor Greenway"Understanding the value drivers behind the valuation is more crucial than the valuation itself." - Trevor Greenway"The frequency of valuation updates doesn't necessarily lead to dramatic changes in valuation results." - Trevor Greenway"By automating certain aspects of discovery, advisors can focus on delivering true value to business owners, helping them hit milestones, achieve goals, and mitigate risks." - Trevor GreenwayResources Mentioned:Facebook – Jason Pereira's FacebookLinkedIn – Jason Pereira's LinkedInWoodgate.com – SponsorLinkedIn – Jason Pereira's LinkedInPodcast Editing
289. Milemarker & Mammoth with Jud Mackrill | E28932:14Jason talks to Jud Mackrill, co-founder of Milemarker & Mammoth, who has been on the show before. The discussion centers around the challenges related to data and data management in the industry. For the past 15 years, many conferences have complained about the quality of data, its location, and how it's often siloed. Jud is working on a solution to address these issues.Episode Highlights 0:56: The company's main goal is to address issues related to connectivity, integration, and operational efficiency for firms that may not have the resources to specialize in these areas due to their focus on taking care of their clients' needs.01:40: Jason and Jud discuss the challenges faced by average RAs (Risk Analysis) depending on their size.06:27: Jud emphasizes that Milemarker's goal is not to compete with internal teams but to assist and augment their efforts.08:30: Milemarker helps integrate data and information so that when the Home Office receives requests from the field, they are intelligent and specific to the unique office or role making the request.16:37: Mammoth is an opportunity to modernize and streamline the process of handling alternative investments.19:54: Mammoth offers a single pane of glass solution that integrates with various technologies used by wealth management firms. The platform helps advisors manage alternative investments more efficiently and addresses the complexities involved in handling such investments for clients.21:45: The guest emphasizes the importance of having professional-grade software and processes to support technology and compliance efforts, especially as more firms transcend into becoming media and technology companies alongside their core service offerings.24:19: Being data-driven and having a clear point of view can provide a significant advantage to companies in the long run.3 Key PointsJud describes their approach to the consulting process, which involves writing a plan and designing how the data management and integration should work.Jud explains some of the quick wins and secondary wins that their consulting services provide to their clients.While technology can support the advisor-client relationship, the human element of personalized service will always be essential and cannot be fully scaled.Tweetable Quotes"As for the benefits of the consulting process, once the data challenges are identified and understood, the firms can leverage the solutions provided by Milemarker to improve data connectivity, integration, and operational efficiency." – Jud"It's very common for technology teams to be consumed with daily operational tasks and support, leaving little time for strategic planning and comprehensive data management." – Jud"A study by Fidelity, which found that many firms are acquiring other companies with clients that don't generate profits for the acquiring firm." - JudResources Mentioned:Facebook – Jason Pereira's FacebookLinkedIn – Jason Pereira's LinkedInWoodgate.com – SponsorPodcast Editing
288. Bento Engine with Philipp Hecker | E28828:59Jason talks to Philipp Hecker, CEO of Bento Engine. It is a cutting-edge content and conversation system designed for financial advisors. The system's primary goal is to assist financial advisors in cultivating stronger client relationships and expanding their businesses.Episode Highlights 0.49: Bento Engine aims to help advisors focus on crucial moments in their clients' and prospects' lives. It operates as a B2B SaaS solution, integrating with widely used CRM systems through APIs.2.05: During his time at JP Morgan's Wealth Planning and Advice unit, Phil witnessed the power of comprehensive advice in action. This unit included various financial planning teams across JP Morgan's private bank, broker-dealer business, and TRACE network.5:30: As per Jason, some advisors opt to limit the number of households, they serve to provide high-level service, which may restrict their income potential. This approach often leaves the bottom end of their client base underserved.13.41: Bento Engine triggers opportunities for gifting and personalization, and it often leads to fulfilment needs and product opportunities. Bento Engine is delighted to see the various directions that clients take in utilizing the platform's opportunities for the benefit of all involved parties.15.06: By avoiding the need for a separate login or app, Bento Engine becomes a background system that enhances the CRM experience and provides advisors with timely opportunities and materials. 19.40: AI language is an inefficient form of communication, and understanding clients' needs and concerns requires empathy and expertise.3 Key PointsBento Engine serves as a tax solution that integrates with popular CRM systems, making it the central hub of client-centric technology for advisors. By mining and leveraging client data, advisors can shine during crucial moments that matter in their clients' lives. Jason envisions that users of Bento Engine can use the triggered events to initiate other workflows, allowing for customized touchpoints with clients.It's crucial to strike the right balance between AI-driven automation and the personalized human touch to ensure a successful and ethical implementation of AI technology in the financial advisory space.Tweetable Quotes"Many financial advisors talk about providing holistic advice but may not consistently deliver it across their entire client base. Bento Engine aims to address this opportunity by providing a technology-driven solution that allows advisors to offer comprehensive advice consistently and efficiently to all their clients and prospects." - Philipp"Bento Engine sees the potential for artificial intelligence (AI) and large language models to unlock valuable insights from unstructured data within CRM systems." - Philipp"AI will not replace financial advisors; instead, it will make them more efficient, effective, and capable of serving more clients." - PhilippResources Mentioned:Facebook – Jason Pereira's FacebookLinkedIn – Jason Pereira's LinkedInWoodgate.com – SponsorLinkedIn – Jason Pereira's LinkedInPodcast Editing
287. Sikka.ai with Jacob McGraw | E28724:26Jason talks to Jacob McGraw from Sikka.ai, a fintech company specializing in API platform services for dental support organizations (DSOs). DSOs are large firms that operate numerous dental practices. Jacob discusses Sikka.ai’s innovative underwriting methodology for insurance companies and explains the company's value proposition. Episode Highlights 01:00: Jacob explains the operations of Sikka.ai The company collects data from dental practices to underwrite life insurance applicants. 03:13: The company's API platform integrates with over 92% of the practice management systems used by these dental clinics, making it easier for DSOs to manage their operations.04:45: Jacob highlights the power of taking data from oral health practitioners since oral health often serves as an indicator of other medical issues.07:12: The current reliance on self-reported information in traditional underwriting can lead to inaccuracies and misclassifications. With Sikka.ai’s dental data integration, these issues can be addressed, leading to a more accurate assessment of risks, especially related to smoking habits.08:56: Jason and Jacob discuss how the fear of rejection has created a negative stigma around insurance applications.10:50: Jacob provides a practical example of how the risk model is used to differentiate risk within different preexisting conditions.17:10: The real-time data sources and API platform provided by the company are relatively new and novel to insurance companies, which are typically not accustomed to real-time processes.3 Key PointsJason and Jacob discuss the novelty of using dental data for insurance underwriting and acknowledges the value of alternative data sources in the insurance industry.The significance of dental data in insurance underwriting lies in its ability to offer valuable insights throughout an individual's life, regardless of their age or prior oral health practices.Jacob explains how their focus is on improving the underwriting process by reducing the need for additional tests and enhancing the speed and accuracy of risk assessment.Tweetable Quotes“Sikka.ai utilize two main products for this purpose. The first product includes indicators for pre-existing conditions like tobacco use, kidney disease, hypertension, hyperlipidemia, etc. Among these, the tobacco indicator is the most crucial, providing significant protective value per hit from exam one. The second product is mortality risk scores for life insurance underwriting, powered by procedure codes and the frequency of dental procedures performed per calendar year. These procedures help assess and understand mortality risks for potential life insurance applicants.” – Jacob“Data can be viewed as Swiss cheese, with holes representing missing or incomplete information.” – Jacob“Starting from a certain point in technology often influences a country's willingness to embrace new advancements.” - JasonResources Mentioned:Facebook – Jason Pereira's FacebookLinkedIn – Jason Pereira's LinkedInWoodgate.com – Sponsorhttps://sikka.ai/Podcast Editing
286. TaxTemplates with Jay Goodis | E28632:06Jason talks to Jay Goodis, the CEO of Tax Template Sync, a software designed to help advisors in Canada assess different tax scenarios for their clients. The software allows users to analyze current tax situations, run test scenarios, and optimize tax strategies.Episode Highlights01:57: Jay explains that the genesis of the company was driven by the need to save time and improve efficiency.02:23: While working in public practice, Jay constantly sought ways to be more efficient and identified opportunities to develop software solutions for the complex challenges faced by professionals in the wealth management industry.03:40: Jay explains that when assessing tax outcomes, it can be done from both a corporate and personal perspective. From a personal perspective, individuals can download tax tables from their websites to determine their marginal tax rate.05:52: Jason explains that individuals at the lower end of the income spectrum may face high marginal tax rates due to clawbacks, such as the guaranteed income supplement, which effectively results in close to 70% taxation.11:14: Taxes can be perceived as both simple and complex, depending on individuals' level of understanding and experience.11.38: Jason raises a concern about the perception of taxes being simple or complex. He mentions two categories of people: those who believe taxes are simple because they use tax software without fully understanding the complexities and those who recognize the complexity.18:22: The software developed is primarily used for personal tax planning and corporate tax planning with shareholders, says Jay.19:38: The lack of software dedicated to anything outside of financial planning and investment in this industry is horrible.29:43: Jay discusses the importance of simplifying the tax code and the challenges faced in finding professionals with expertise in tax and programming. 3 Key PointsJason and Jay discuss the impact of government benefits and income testing on tax calculations. Jason mentions that in the US, these are referred to as phase-outs, where entitlements are based on income and may result in different calculations.Jason shares his perspective on the challenges faced by business owners who often have surprise tax bills at the end of the year.Jason and Jay discuss the use cases and value of software in the financial planning industry, particularly in the areas of personal tax planning and corporate tax planning with shareholders. Tweetable Quotes“Many advisors focus on corporate tax and personal tax, so that's where most users begin. They work with their clients to assess their tax situations and determine what deductions, credits, or planning strategies are available to optimize their tax outcomes.” – Jason“The software aims to address both the total tax amount and the cash flow implications for clients.” - Jay“There is a lot of time spent by me and my colleagues reading tax legislation, putting that tax legislation into an interface that's easier for others to understand and to keep it current.” - JayResources Mentioned:Facebook – Jason Pereira's FacebookLinkedIn – Jason Pereira's LinkedInWoodgate.com – SponsorPodcast Editing
285. Couplr with Derek Notman | E28537:14Jason talks to Derek Notman, the founder and CEO of Couplr. It is a fintech company that provides a platform for people to find the right financial advisor for their needs. Jason mentions that he often gets pitched similar ideas, but he finds Derek's approach unique and effective. Derek explains that Couplr is focused on fixing lead generation in the financial advisory industry. He highlights that lead generation has been a personal frustration for him, and Couplr aims to address this issue. Episode Highlights01:08: Couplr is a platform that combines the concepts of eHarmony and Bumble. It focuses on facilitating connections between financial advisors and consumers based on the human elements and dimensions of the relationship.03:07: Early in his career, Derek joined New York Life and encountered the traditional methods of lead generation, such as cold calling, door knocking, and attending networking events like BNI meetings.12:02: Derek introduces the concept of warm inbound traffic, which refers to the existing pool of people actively searching for financial guidance.14:06: Derek further explains that Couplr empowers consumers by allowing them to research and get matched with an advisor when they are ready.17:21: Derek highlights the importance of providing valuable information and building trust with consumers before they even contact the advisor.34:20: Through the work at Couplr, Derek aims to break down the friction and barriers in the financial industry, enabling more advisors to help more clients.36:20: Derek shared his passion for fixing the issues surrounding money and improving financial outcomes for individuals and advisors. The conversation highlighted the complex nature of financial relationships and the significance of addressing them effectively.3 Key PointsDerek explains how Couplr's approach to lead generation is different from the traditional methods like SEO and paid ads. Derek explains the "bumble aspect" of Couplr, where consumers can explore the matches, read buyer reviews, visit websites, and check broker checks to gather more information about the advisors.By leveraging machine learning and AI, Couplr aims to continually improve its models and gather valuable data insights.Tweetable Quotes"The current process of finding a financial advisor is broken, as it fails to create a positive experience for both clients and advisors." – Derek"Couplr aims to help consumers find the best advisor based on shared human dimensions, commonalities, experiences, and philosophies." – Derek"By focusing on connecting consumers and advisors on a human level, Couplr offers a more targeted and effective solution." – Derek"Minimizing friction is crucial for adoption and user satisfaction." – Jason"Money is a powerful tool that people have access to, yet there is a lack of education and guidance in managing it effectively." - DerekResources Mentioned:Facebook – Jason Pereira's FacebookLinkedIn – Jason Pereira's LinkedInWoodgate.com – Sponsorhttps://www.couplr.ai/about-couplr/Podcast Editing