A New Brand of Financial Adviser

The Globe and Mail ran a story today called “A new brand of financial adviser” that featured a Canadian Fintech startup, Tridus Wealth Management, and its plans to offer a more cost-effective solution to investors through its use of technology. Tridus is foregoing office space and traditional overhead expenses, emphasizing digital communication over paper and relying on mobile technologies and tools for its advisers to service investors. This is in sharp contrast to the big six banks, many of whom are trying now to innovate in this area, but who struggle to overhaul legacy systems, conventional thinking and processes. Where they are slower to innovate, however, they remain very protective of their consumer base.

The challenge for these new Canadian Fintech firms will be to overcome the Canadian banks’ market dominance, brand awareness and trust amongst consumers. Twenty years ago, I worked for a small Internet pioneer named Communicopia and after launching a successful product for mutual fund companies called The Fund Library, we turned our attention to the financial adviser by introducing “f/A Connect, the Internet workplace for financial advisors”. I’d like to think it was a little ahead of its time and as I now look at a new breed of Fintech players, I’m reminded that while some disruptive new entrants are able to transform entire verticals overnight (witness Uber’s impact on the taxi industry), there are some sectors such as the financial services that are more resistant to change. Technology is changing the financial services industry, but changing the status quo takes time.