The September installment of the Anthemis #hackingfinance Breakfast Series brought together a carefully curated group of senior financial services executives and startup founders to discuss Financial Wellness. The event was jointly hosted by our partners, MMI Exponential Ventures.
One of the many reasons we decided to devote September’s breakfast to this topic was to explore, and perhaps create some specificity, around the phrase “Financial Wellness.” Though the words increasingly find themselves in the media and on the agenda of financial services companies, we were interested in how members of the Anthemis Ecosystem defined the phrase.
After a brief introduction from Gavin Holland, our Head of Ecosystem Development, the roundtable discussions circled around topics including the role of government and institutions on promoting wellness for all, leveraging new business models to enable financial wellness and assessing how customer needs define financial wellness. The morning closed with a ‘state of the nation’ presentation from Jaco Oosthuizen, Head of Disruptive Innovation Strategy and Dan Smith, Managing Partner for Global Investments at MMI, who put together an excellent takeaways summary which you can view at the bottom of this post. We’ve added a few of our own here:
- Financial Wellness is not a market or a sector. It is also not a particular product or service. It is first and foremost a customer-centric value proposition – one that focuses on life goals, outcomes and continual user engagement as key principles.
- Physical and mental health are strongly correlated to Financial Wellness. People in financial stress show symptoms associated to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Achieving Financial Wellness requires a more holistic approach to wellness and behaviour change to be impactful.
- It is currently very difficult to get the holistic view of an individual’s finances. Data availability and access is poor, but this appears to be changing as Payment Services Directive 2 regulation (the European Commission’s initiative to make cross-border payments easy, efficient and secure) opens up banks, and numerous startups are unlocking value from smartphone or wearable data.
- Trust is both a constant challenge and opportunity: Both large institutions and startups need to work on earning and maintaining the trust of current and potential customers. The next economic downturn – whenever it happens — will result in some fintech failures, and this is likely to disproportionately ‘scare’ the market, impacting people’s financial stress levels and risk appetite.
If you are interested in participating in a future #hackingfinance Breakfast or to find out more information about the series, we invite you to sign up for our #hackingfinance mailing list.