One of the benefits of living in far flung locations is the fact that technology has become a large part of our lives and can be harnessed in a way which brings access to information which we have never been able to utilise before.
Banks and financial institutions the world over have invested heavily in ensuring that the security of their online systems is maintained, enabling customers and clients to interact with their personal financial information without the fear of being compromised.
Technology has advanced exponentially over recent years, and the figures for global online users speak for themselves: in the year 2000 there were only 361 million internet users; by the end of 2014 according to the UN, that figure was predicted to be 10 times higher at over 3 billion – and the number has grown by over 50% in the last 4 years alone.
Over 6 billion of the world’s 7 billion people have a mobile phone – more than have a toilet, according to a recent UN study. In time that will become a smartphone, probably in 2 – 5 years or so from now. Smartphones are changing the way we shop and make financial decisions.
Research conducted by the US Federal Reserve in 2013 into Consumers and Mobile Financial Services revealed that 87% of the US public owns a mobile phone, 61% of these are smartphones, and that 27% of the data sample said they used their smartphone for tracking their finances. Bearing in mind this was a broad based study across all socio-demographic groups, it is safe to assume that the percentage would be somewhat higher among a more concentrated sample of people who are more fully engaged with technology, business and finance.
So the way we all interact with the outside world and companies with whom we have an established relationship has moved on in ways that we could never have imagined a few years ago. And for expats this means a lot less to worry about in terms of how to organise their financial life without having to waste valuable time on too much admin.
Results from the 2013 Expat Survey* which asked people how they like to interact with providers of services (including financial) and to research information showed that:
• The majority of people research information online
• 70% access information via their desktop PC
• 8% via smartphone
• 15% via tablet
• 62% use video chat and calling
The people who said they use video chat feel that the relationship with the provider, particularly of financial services, is strengthened by the use of phone and video calling, and that they have a preference to build relationships via these means if face to face contact is not available.
Methods of imparting information have changed exponentially over the years, and now the use of technology is an essential part of the financial services industry, especially when it comes to clients and customers being able to securely access information.
The institutions we work with at Churchill & Partners all provide clients with direct log-in to their accounts via a user interface, providing up to the minute valuations and statements. And by using the best and most secure providers of international investment products, security and control can be guaranteed at the touch of a button.
Interaction with an advisor can be online as well as face to face/over the phone, and even application procedures have become more streamlined with the ability to submit completed forms and paperwork online.
No matter where you are in the world, as long as you have an internet connection and a PC, laptop, tablet or smartphone you can get access to all the information you need securely and at lightning speed. This is particularly essential for those working as expats, as with transience comes a need for convenience of access, and this can now be easily provided given the advances of technology over recent years.
Skype video calling or Google hangouts are also good communication alternatives when distance is involved, and this is something we utilise often when needed, although our preference is where possible via face to face meetings. There are many companies operating in this marketplace who do not offer this option and operate solely online, however we believe that it is necessary to establish a professional and personal relationship with our clients, in order to fully understand their needs and requirements. We also find that it is very convenient for clients to have their advisor visit them at work or at home – rather like having a peripatetic financial advisor delivered straight to your desktop or doorstep.
And whilst we fully embrace all the modern methods of communication which are now available to us, sometimes the personal touch is more effective and more desirable for many clients. And any time that a Consultant is not available straightaway, we have great back-up in the form of client services and administration at our head office, which means that there is always someone available to answer any query.
*Source:The Expat Survey 2013 www.theexpatsurvey.com
- Address Zurich & UK
- Phone +44 (0)1245 216030
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- Website www.churchillandpartners.com
- Category Article
- Location > International
- Tags access to financial information, Churchill & Partners, expat investments, expat pensions, expatriate, financial advice for expats, financial advice online, high-net-worth, independent financial advice, investment management advice, offshore financial advice, QROPS, retirement planning, wealth management advice for expats