Knowledgeable observers understand the potential for transforming their industry through the application of advanced technologies.
As with any change, there will be those who embrace innovation and those who will hold onto the old way of doing things, only to see their business models struggling to remain relevant.
Over the past decade, we’ve seen a number of dramatic changes in industries familiar to us all. Disruptive forces, mostly originating from advancements in technology, swiftly changed the landscape and swept away all who failed to evolve and adapt. Some textbook examples include:
- Bookstores – what happened to the traditional bookstore when Amazon arrived?
- Music Industry – Apple changed the game as the ‘digital lifestyle’ was delivered through the powerful combination of the iPod and iTunes.
- Newspapers – ordinary folks with their blogs, smartphones, Twitter accounts, and Facebook pages have forced huge media empires to scramble and digitise their content, while at the same time their newspapers grow smaller and smaller.
- Encyclopaedias – Those expensive, leather-bound sets have been relegated to the top of the bookshelf, a charming relic of the past, as digitised knowledge resources such as Wikipedia have arisen from seemingly nowhere.
- Photographic Film – Eh? What’s that? Kodak, once the unquestioned champion of the photographic film industry, was forced into bankruptcy and has been forced to drastically restructure its business model, which was all but destroyed by the advent of the digital age.
The travel industry is a particularly interesting case. Not that long ago, prospective travellers would approach a travel agent who would give advice, recommend destinations, build an itinerary, and then execute the plan by booking flights and hotels. The process was often time-consuming and costly, not to mention the risk involved in making travel decisions without adequate information.
Fast-forward to today, and what do we see in the travel industry? The old business model of travel agents has all but disappeared. DIY travel is so simple now for booking hotels and flights through one of the many available ‘deal aggregators’ and for finding all the information one could ever need about a destination on websites such as.
What is especially important to note is that this information is crowdsourced; i.e., provided by travellers for travellers. The conflict of interest inherent in a travel agent getting a commission for selling a holiday package has been removed, and advice regarding destinations has an authenticity which hasn’t been available until recently.
Investing, as we see it now, is strikingly-similar to the travel industry of twenty years ago. An investor approaches a financial planner who forms a plan, recommends options for investment, and then places the investor’s money into particular financial products.
Does the experience from the travel industry provide any insight into the future for the investment industry? Quite likely, according to a recent KPMG report:
“Seismic shifts in demographics, technology, the environment, social values and behaviours are set to re-draw the corporate landscape. Investment management will not escape this overhaul.”
The trends are already forming. Their direction is clear. Direct investing is on the rise. Online share trading is easier and cheaper than ever before.
Naturally, it’s not hard to notice the absence of the social component in available direct investment service offerings. Where are the “TripAdvisers” of investment world?
There is a growing understanding in the investment management industry that change is on the agenda, but not many initiatives are yet visible. Perhaps OneVue CEO Connie Mckeage was right in stating:
“We know intellectually what we should be doing, but it is hard emotionally to make the change.”
We think that’s about to change.
Originally published on www.synqvest.com