The next evolution in fintech is going to lead to a lot of things; embedded finance is one of them. If you follow me on Twitter, LinkedIn, this blog, or the conference circuit, this won’t surprise you. I believe that embedded finance is how we’ll shake up the traditional investing and banking models, offering both access and opportunity.
Embedded finance creates opportunity for the end user
Embedded finance puts the opportunity to make a smart financial decision right where the consumer is already spending their time – and importantly – right where they’re already interacting with their money. Often today that means on a mobile device or at the point of sale in an online purchase.
Imagine returning an item to Amazon (or Walmart). Rather than being asked if the refund should be put back on your credit card or in your Amazon account, customers may be able to choose to put that money directly into an investing account. A simple retail return becomes an opportunity to make a wise financial decision.
Professionally managed portfolios, lending opportunities, financial planning tools, and more were once only available to consumers at a certain income level. Embedded finance helps those tools become democratized for all. Even those who have been denied access to a financial advisor are suddenly able to consider options that can positively impact their futures. As this technological evolution takes place, we begin to address one of the root causes of wealth inequality – access.
Today, a little less than one third of Americans have investments outside of their retirement accounts. But even fewer actively invest – over half of all brokerage clients make between zero and three trades per year.1 But as consumers benefit from increasingly streamlined financial interactions and opportunities to put their money to work, the more they’ll learn about managing finances. And the more they build their skills, the more ready they’ll be to take advantage of opportunities to grow wealth. Better technology will lead to more opportunities and more wealth.
Embedded finance creates opportunity for the financial services industry
The entire financial services industry should look at embedded finance and think, “Wow, this gives way more people the opportunity to grow wealth and ultimately work with me.”
To put it in perspective, where traditional U.S.-based financial advisors, like Merrill or Wells Fargo, have 20 million clients, companies like Cash App and Walmart have 225 million consumers.2 Take a look at trade magazines targeting financial advisors from even a year ago and you’ll see article after article about how to garner client referrals through traditional networking, partnerships, and community involvement. Instead, five years from now, it’s very possible that financial advisors will receive more client referrals from PayPal than through golf outings.
Why? Because it doesn’t matter how you grow wealth – through traditional means or through new, technology-powered solutions. At the end of the day, creating the Intelligent Financial Life™ is complex, and an advisor will be required. Where traditional networking techniques helped financial advisors find potential clients ready to work with an advisor now, embedded finance actually helps to create more potential clients who will be ready to work with an advisor tomorrow. A larger pool of potential clients equals more opportunity to grow your business.
Technology and opportunity lead to an Intelligent Financial Life™
Embedded finance is creating a new world where financial services are woven into the micro movements of a consumer’s financial life. In order to help people make good financial decisions, we have to be closer to the place and time where the decision is being made. Embedded finance does that. I believe this technological evolution creates the opportunity for both the end user and for the financial services professional to grow.
Envestnet has long been focused on how our technology can help advisors deliver better outcomes for their clients; how it can help advisors become heroes for their clients as they strive to make financial wellness a reality. This is what we mean when we talk about the Intelligent Financial Life™– the interconnected ecosystem of tools and always-on analysis that enables better financial decisions.
Interested in a deeper dive into embedded finance? Check out my presentation from Advisor Summit On-Demand 2021. To connect with our Embedded Finance team, reach out to Envestnet today at EmbeddedFinance@envestnet.com.
- Lyle Daly, Online Brokerage Statistics for 2020, June 19, 2020 https://www.fool.com/the-ascent/research/online-brokerage-statistics/
- Maria Elm, “The Embedded Finance Explainer,” Insider Intelligence from eMarketer.com, January 14, 2021 https://www.emarketer.com/content/embedded-finance-explainer
The information, analysis and opinions expressed herein are for informational purposes only and do not necessarily reflect the views of Envestnet. These views reflect the judgment of the author as of the date of writing and are subject to change at any time without notice. Nothing contained in this piece is intended to constitute legal, tax, accounting, securities, or investment advice, nor an opinion regarding the appropriateness of any investment, nor a solicitation of any type.