By now, there has been plenty of reporting and analysis on Google’s announcement that it is closing the Google Glass Explorer Program and discontinuing sales. The company is understandably positioning the move as a new direction, “graduating” the technology rather than admitting failure. Development will continue, particularly Glass at Work enterprise applications, but out of the public eye and consumer marketplace. Its legacy is mixed at best, with “Glassholes” undermining its efforts to make a cyborg lifestyle more common and acceptable.
Mobile phones and millennials are essentially inseparable. According to a recent study by Bank of America, 96% of young adult millennials (ages 18-24) view their mobile phone as the most important thing in their daily lives. A recent survey by Experian Marketing Services found that 43% of millennial respondents prefer to access the internet via their smartphone over any other method. This mobile lifestyle has clear implications for the financial services industry, including the Defined Contribution plan business.
The holidays were a quiet end to a busy year for mobile finance, but the first couple weeks of 2015 have already seen activity bounce back. One key trend – integrating built-in smartphone hardware into mobile finance apps – seems set to pick up where it left off.
The most recent example is Fidelity’s new Stocks Nearby tool, which uses an iPhone’s location services to identify the closest public company headquarters. When launched, a map shows the user’s current location and provides basic price and day change information for companies based in the vicinity. Tapping one of the listed stocks opens the detailed quote for that security for further research.
Topics: Mobile Finance
As you may have read, Morgan Stanley recently disclosed that one of its employees – an advisor named Galen Marsh – stole account information from up to 10% of its wealth management clients (roughly 350,000 people) and posted a portion of this information online in the hope of ultimately selling the full details. On the heels of recent cyber-attacks on Target and Sony, this customer security breach demonstrates how internal threats can be just as problematic for large firms as those from external sources.
Our quarterly Annuity and Life Insurance Product Update reviews new products released by annuity carriers and life insurers over the last quarter. To view past updates, check out the archive.
The slide deck below reviews the new annuity and life insurance products introduced in the fourth quarter of 2014.
Moven, a major player in the Fintech banking and personal finance management (PFM) space, started off the new year with a bang by announcing the launch of its first smartwatch-optimized app. Specifically designed for Motorola’s Moto 360 and Samsung Gear smartwatches, the app clearly reflects the firm’s commitment to PFM and incorporates several best practices that Corporate Insight identified in a November 2014 blog post. At the time, we noted that the smartwatch lends itself perfectly to the delivery of time-sensitive alerts and could theoretically be a huge boon to PFM. Sure enough, Moven’s smartwatch app puts theory into practice, using the delivery of real-time spending notifications to bolster its PFM services.
- Brokerage Firms Know How to Send a Message – Over the course of December, e-Monitor observed the unveiling of enhanced private site message centers by both Ameriprise Financial and Merrill Lynch Wealth Management. Ameriprise clients can now securely upload, store and share financial documents with their advisors and other users within their account group. Furthermore, users of the Merrill Lynch Wealth Management message center now have the ability to view and manage active and expired appointments held with the firm through the addition of an Appointments section within the center.
- Paying Bills Becomes Even Easier – This month, Fidelity and PNC each made enhancements to their respective private site bill pay services. As reported by both Annuity Monitor and e-Monitor, Fidelity clients can now review and submit payments at the top of the page from anywhere within the bill pay center. Furthermore, all payee features (payee details, eBill, eBill AutoPay, Reminders and Recurring Payments) are now grouped together within new expandable menus housed beneath each payee’s name. Clients can now also view their outstanding checks using a new Outstanding Payment Status feature. In a similar vein, Bank Monitor reported that users of the PNC bill pay service now have access to a new Payment Assistant tool, which displays biller contact information, along with a list of pending and recent payments.
- Life Insurance Firms “Respond” to Clients’ Needs – Three firms covered by our Life Insurance Monitor – Northwestern Mutual, The Principal Financial and Nationwide – now collectively feature responsive design elements throughout their public and private sites. Northwestern Mutual’s new public site is composed of a fully responsive mobile- and tablet-optimized design, as is a preview version of The Principal Financial’s new semi-public advisor site. Finally, Nationwide updated its private site homepage, Personal Information, Preferences and Contact Us pages to feature a new responsive, mobile- and tablet-friendly design.
Topics: Trends and Highlights
All of us here at Corporate Insight would like to take this opportunity to thank our readers for their support of the Corporate Insight Blog in 2014! Our analysts are hard at work researching and developing articles, slide decks and other thought leadership pieces that will keep you ahead of technological innovations within the financial services industry in 2015.
The Corporate Insight Blog will return with fresh content on Monday, January 5th. Until then, we wish you and yours a happy holiday season and a prosperous 2015!
The Corporate Insight Staff
Have topics you would like our analysts to cover on the Corporate Insight Blog in 2015? Send your ideas to Joy Pi, Marketing Manager, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Recently, we attended the Property Insurance Report National Conference (PIR) in Scottsdale, Arizona. One of the standout sessions from this year’s conference was Stephen Schultz (Chief Technology Officer of Pictometry), who pitched the use of aerial drones in the insurance industry.
Drones, or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), have begun to leave a footprint on a national and international scale in recent years. From filming the FIFA World Cup just above the field to producing vivid images of disaster-struck areas, drones have a multitude of potential uses that have just begun to be revealed. One could argue that this is good news for the insurance industry as it could potentially streamline and improve the efficiency in the claims and underwriting processes.
The mobile channel continues to become an increasingly important means for consumers to interact with financial services providers. A case in point: according to the Federal Reserve, 51% of all smartphone owners have used mobile banking in the last 12 months, and interest among non-users suggests this number will only continue to rise. The Fed also found that the number of consumers making payments or depositing checks from their mobile phone is increasing as well.
Topics: Mobile Finance