Christine Schmid, Head of Strategy, Additiv

additiv: The Right Technology Partner for your Digital Wealth and Investment Management

In the last decade, digitalization has infiltrated every aspect of our lives. From how we create to how we consume, this new paradigm is transforming industries and shaping the future.

The ripples of this digitalization have washed ashore new possibilities for the financial sector as well. The evolution from brick-and-mortar financial institutions to online wealth management platforms reflects these changes and the ways in which financial operations are conducted today.

The emergence of digital wealth management will have a significant impact on consumer behaviour and the future of finance. Wealth management firms are eager to embrace this shift because they know that catering to an increasingly mobile workforce with diverse needs requires a different type of service delivery model than the traditional offerings.

Fortunately, there a few companies who are rising to the challenge pertaining to this emerging need, and one prominent name among such companies is additiv.

In the following interview, Christine Schmid, the Head of Strategy, shares a few insights into the company’s position in FinTech space. She also talks about the aspects that make additiv stand out from the crowd, and what more the company has in store for its clients.

Please brief our audience about additiv, its USPs, and how it is currently positioned as a leading player in the financial services space.

Established in 1998, additiv partners with leading financial institutions (FIs) across the world to help them capitalize on the possibilities of digital wealth and investment management.

Headquartered in Switzerland, with regional offices in Singapore, UAE, Germany, and Kenya, additiv is supported by a global ecosystem of partners.

What makes us different is that our products sit upon our cloud-native, wealth platform; Digital Financial Suite (DFS). This is an orchestration layer that sits between client interaction channels and systems of record.

As a result, DFS enables FIs to simultaneously deliver multiple highly engaging experiences, while data is seamlessly run on one platform.

Although, systems of intelligence are increasingly adopted elsewhere within other financial industries, we believe DFS is the first and only to adopt this approach as a wealth platform.

Our solutions have been designed by keeping agility and efficiency in mind, enabling our customers to realise the value of digitalization quickly.

On average, we are able to ensure that we can roll out a new IT platform to our customers within 6 months (from scratch). A digital wealth management platform is fundamental to realise the benefits of digitalization and the speed of delivery is the key to it.

Our clients realise benefits including, on average an NPS registered 26-point improvement in disparity between promoters and distractors, a 25% new customer acquisition rate.

What other products do you offer, and how are these making an impact on the industry and your clients?

We offer a range of products including three established solutions: Hybrid Wealth Manager, Wealth Robo Advisor, and more recently our Wealth Solution Builder.

Our Hybrid Wealth Manager is a set of digital applications for managing investments and client relationships – Workbench, Mobile Advisor, and an advanced Client Cockpit with all the interaction possibilities with advisors. It allows financial institutions to offer the best solution for their needs, only automating the menial elements previously undertaken by a relationship manager.

Our (assisted) Wealth Robo Advisor is a set of digital applications that offer self-service, remote chat with an advisor or via call-centre, screen sharing, and phone-in from anywhere, at any time (24/7). It allows financial institutions to offer the same superior quality service as traditional advice with efficiency of a completely automated approach.

Our Wealth Solution Builder is an established IT foundation platform and extensive range of API tools and functionality for FIs to build their own, end-to-end digital wealth offerings and client journeys. With the support of additiv technical staff, IT developers can create and control every element of their system including configuration, avoiding the lengthy and costly process of building the foundational elements of a system.

Building upon DFS’s value, we’ve recently launched our Embedded Wealth and Banking-as-a-Service (BaaS) models. Like DFS, these utilise our extensive ecosystem of partners to support the growing need of wealth management solutions to be embedded into platforms as part of context relevant user journeys.

Our Embedded Wealth model offers a range of wealth management products that makes it easy for financial and non-financial institutions to embed investment services into their customer proposition. We offer end-to-end wealth services that a brand can easily include, either tightly integrated into an existing journey, or as a standalone service. additiv provides the orchestration platform and works with regulated finance partners to fulfil the complete customer journey.

Our Banking-as-a-Service (BaaS) model also utilises DFS. It links regulated wealth management services with the brands that wishes to embed the services into their offering. In practice, this means providing APIs for interaction and the intelligence to integrate services in context-relevant user-journeys.

Our conversations with FIs and consumer platforms or large employers indicates that no other vendor is supporting embedded wealth fully. In fact, a Geneva-based consultancy called Aperture recently published a methodology, assessing wealth management software vendors.

Their report (Digital Age Wealth Management) rated additiv as a top ‘Transformer’ stating, “In terms of business model enablement, we see additiv as best-in-class. The solution can be deployed with out-of-the-box user agents or headless, using existing or third-party customer interaction channels. This makes the solution ideally suited for wealth management-as-a-service models.”

Taking into consideration the current pandemic, what initial challenges did you face and how did you drive your company to sustain operations while ensuring safety of your employees at the same time?

As an agile IT company, we were already set up for working from home. The impact has therefore, been minimal to us internally. In terms of the impact on our customers and market needs, we were also very well prepared. Even before the covid-crisis, wealth services were expected to be quick and easy, with availability from multiple access points.

The pandemic created an even greater reliance on digital but receiving personal and tailored advice was no less important. In fact, initially the crisis triggered a requirement for more wealth advice particularly for high net-worth individuals (HNWIs).

Reaching clients directly was a problem for many wealth advisors, however, at additiv we were already supporting many of our clients with our Hybrid Wealth Manager product to avoid this challenge.

A hybrid approach allows financial institutions to offer services that best suits their client’s individual needs, letting them choose how they want to be serviced. Depending on these needs, the advice and guidance available can be human or self-service.

Supported by intelligent analytics, clients can be serviced personally. Rather than impeding the client relationship, it actually encourages collaboration through in-person and remote advisor/client conversations on a multitude of channels. It allows relationship managers to remain productive and focus on clients, when it matters most, improving scalability for banks.

Using this model, our customers who serve other clients are thriving, but the benefit isn’t just limited to this segment. For example, during the initial covid confinement period, our customer PostFinance launched their digital investment platform. As one of the largest retail banks in Switzerland, they wanted to expand their range to include wealth products to clients wishing to diversify away from low yielding saving products.

The platform offers a seamless and engaging advisory and discretionary end-to-end experience. It’s seen a massive take-up, adding around 6,000 clients and over CHF300m in assets-under-management within the first nine months, currently growing around CHF30m a month.

Exhibiting Excellence

additiv supports a large number of the leading financial institutions for wealth management and non-financial brands.

The company’s clients realize benefits including on average an NPS registered 26-point improvement in disparity between promoters and distractors, a 25% new customer acquisition rate, and 75% of total customer AUM in e-asset management.

Following is a specific example of a client’s success as a result of leveraging additiv’s technology.

In 2019, the Commonwealth Bank deployed a 3-stage MVP, making it the first to launch a wealth management mobile app in Indonesia. With CommBank, SmartWealth, Indonesian customers now have:

  • A 360° view of their investment portfolio at fingertips
  • Personalized advice (smart advisory) to keep investment decisions on track
  • Timely news on the financial market through push notifications
  • The ability to purchase government bonds in primary market
  • The ability to purchase government and retail bonds directly from the app

Commonwealth Bank saved countless hours and helped customers get more value from their relationship managers, who previously spent efforts to combine a single customer’s holdings for a 360° update on their portfolio.

The bank increased their scalability potential, no longer being limited by the finite human capacity of their relationship managers, who can focus on giving value-added advisory rather than spending their time in doing administrative tasks.

As a result of this launch, Commonwealth Bank have won 3 major awards:

  • The First Digital Banking Application that Integrates Comprehensive Wealth Management Product Information – the Indonesian World Record Museum (MURI)
  • The First Digital Banking Application with Robo Advisory Service – the Indonesian World Record Museum (MURI)
  • The 2019 Best Frictionless Customer Experience App – The Asian Banker.