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Wealth Management & Private Banking

Silicon Valley lessons for driving wealth innovation

David Akellian

10 Apr 2017

Wealth management. The Apple Campus 2 is seen under construction in Cupertinon
Photographer: Noah Berger

With wealth management on the brink of a revolution, former Apple CEO John Sculley and Doug Menuez, the author of Fearless Genius, share their thoughts on how the industry can embrace a culture of innovation.

A sweep of change driven by technologyregulation, big data, and the rise of Millennials in the workforce is causing established organizations to radically re-think their entire business and operating models.

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Finding ways to nurture and inspire the next wave of creative minds will be crucial if the wealth management industry is to move forward. But what goes into generating the right culture so that innovation can thrive?

Thomson Reuters BETA customers, industry experts and senior executives recently heard from John Sculley, former CEO of both Apple and Pepsi-Cola, and award-winning photo-journalist Doug Menuez.

Their experience of the rise of Silicon Valley, including the people who created more jobs and wealth than at any time in human history, serves as a valuable lesson.

Watch the full interview with John Sculley and Doug Menuez

Innovative culture

According to Sculley, whose decade at the helm of Apple spanned a period of significant growth between 1983 and 1993, there are three key requirements without which innovation will not flourish.

These are an insatiable curiosity that drives the need to find the next great idea; great passion; and the ability to solve a significant customer problem.

Sculley is now a business mentor and investor who wrote about the strategies for building billion dollar businesses in his book Moonshot.

However, he notes that what made the late Steve Jobs stand out from the crowd was his drive to make a difference in the world.

He had inviolable first principles which included building technology for non-technical people and creating technology with no compromises.

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Wealth management. John Sculley and Doug Menuez talk about their experience of Silicon Valley
John Sculley and Doug Menuez talk about their experience of Silicon Valley

Creative genius

Menuez also knew Jobs well, having enjoyed unprecedented access to almost every major technology company during a long-term photo-journalism project documenting the rise of Silicon Valley behind the scenes.

Sculley and Menuez went on to describe their experience of Jobs, whose brand of ‘crazy optimism’ they said was almost a wilful distortion of reality.

Wealth management. John Scully quote: Innovation fintech

It’s clear that the corporate world respects entrepreneurs like this, giving them room to innovate on the boundaries, connect different ideas and experiment.

Perhaps the next Steve Jobs will be someone like Evan Spiegel, creator of Snapchat.

In the past, Kodak had a vision to create an everlasting archive of memories through — photographs.

Enter Spiegel, who overturned this vision with the idea of photos that only last 30 seconds. He has transformed photographs from a memory into a means of communication.

Kill the cash cows

Menuez’s  Silicon Valley experiences taught him that in order to retain an innovative edge, companies must kill the cash cows they have created to avoid becoming complacent and resist moving on to the next initiative and the next innovation.

Possessing idealism, passion, cause and the want to transform and improve lives, the key to success is also realization that failure is no more than a speed bump.

Intelligent analytics

With technology set to revolutionize the big, established industries like financial services and healthcare, the pair predicted that the revolution will set in fast, providing disintermediation and enormous growth opportunities.

One example is Lantern Credit, which has Sculley as its vice-chairman. Its fresh take on credit scoring and the introduction of analytics has helped people improve their credit score.

Intelligent analytics is able to unlock the credit capacity for middle income level applicants, reducing their credit expense and increasing their credit limits.

Wealth management. Innovation and fintech infographic
Top challenge and workflow needs for wealth management professionals

Innovation on the horizon

Artificial Intelligence — when machines are able to reason — will effectively become the next Operating System.

What happens after this? Potentially ‘singularity’, the point where machines are more intelligent than humans, is estimated by 2030.

This will arguably be followed by a ‘mind meld’ between humans and technology to create a new species (expected by 2045).

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The massive quality of talent around the world combined with energy, passion and a willingness to take risks is propelling us to exciting times ahead.

This era of accelerating returns means that nothing is impossible any more, and it’s happening in exponential time.

Wealth managers will continue to need to engage their customers, build trust and deliver a differentiated service. They need to offer the right information, delivered in the most efficient way, in order to stay ahead in a fast-changing industry.

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