The Art of FinTech Web Design: Blending Innovation and Core Values Introducing 4Thought Financial Group

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Morey Publishing has developed an interest and expertise in the world of FinTech. As the name implies, FinTech is the intersection of finance and technology. Innovation in the global financial services sector is moving rapidly, which makes our involvement as an agency even more fascinating for our team members. In many ways, our preferred methodology of Inbound Marketing is on the cutting edge of the advertising and marketing industry as well. So employing inbound strategies to the burgeoning FinTech industry is an embarrassment of innovation riches.

We charted our course in FinTech by developing end-to-end platforms for marketplace lenders. This is a core specialty of Morey Publishing. Recently, we came upon an opportunity to expand our FinTech reach with a new opportunity in what is colloquially known as the “Robo-Advisor” trend.

Put simply, the term Robo-Advisor is a general description of an emerging trend in financial services. Companies such as Wealthfront and Betterment have disrupted wealth management and financial services by offering automated investment management platforms that allow consumers to manage individual portfolios inside proprietary technology platforms. These companies are growing quickly in both assets under management and valuations. Like most FinTech trends, the focus is on whether or not they have ushered in a permanent disruption to their industry or are a complementary part of an evolutionary development. The answer is likely both.

Introducing 4Thought Financial Group

Take one of the recent additions to our client roster. 4Thought Financial Group is an investment advisory firm based on Long Island, NY. As advisors, they have a remarkable track record, most recently being acknowledged by Morningstar as the #1 Thematic Systematic Investing firm out of 428 world stock managers as of Q3, 2016. Led by Jesse Mackey, the group was established as a prototypical wealth management firm with several advisors, balanced portfolio options and disciplined investment strategies that vary depending upon the client’s financial needs, risk tolerance, retirement plans and personal circumstances.

Over the years they have steadily increased their client base and, as such, they have grown their assets under management. This growth has allowed the team at 4Thought to think about diversifying their business strategy and tapping into the new robo-advisor trend.

When they approached our team, they took great pains to explain their business model, their investment philosophy and their core strategies to protect and grow their clients’ portfolios. Theirs is a client-first model, which is why they have maintained such a robust book of business. The challenge presented by the robo-advisor trend to consultative firms such as 4Thought is the idea of a “hands off” or “low touch” advisory. For many investment managers who rely upon relationships and a holistic understanding of their clients, this trend is counterintuitive.

The question for our team was less about leveraging technology to grow their firm, but how to maintain the core qualities and values that made them successful in the first place.

That’s not to say the technology isn’t important. Great technology is vital to the success of a platform, no matter how great the marketing is behind it. As a practical matter, the technology is already becoming somewhat commoditized. The industry has recognized the importance of empowering the public to make investment decisions with intuitive platforms such as TDAmeritrade or E*TRADE, which have given people a high level of access.

Integrating with the custodial services provider was seamless, allowing us to spend a great deal of time to position 4Thought based upon their strengths and building out questionnaires that mirror their clients' onboarding processes. Throughout the design-build, the executives of 4Thought considered the user experience and urged us to make it as simple and consultative as possible. Just because the public has been empowered to make investment decisions doesn’t mean they should feel they're alone in the wilderness when doing so.

The result is a website and a platform that we are truly proud to reveal. The site is chock full of information and revelations about investing and financial planning as well as offering a gateway for investors to open their own accounts.

The biggest takeaway our team had from this process is not to fall in love with the technology. Our job was to use technology as a means to enhance the user experience and to level the playing field between giant financial companies and a boutique wealth-management firm such as 4Thought. The primary goal, however, was to maintain the integrity of the firm and instill the values of the leadership team in the content, design and experience. In this way, the world of FinTech is exciting less because of its cutting edge nature, but more because the traditional values we hold aren’t mutually exclusive.