We are in the midst of a data and technology revolution and the financial services industry will need to evolve fast to deal with the issues that arise from that including the emergence of Fintech and technology-enabled platforms, how data is used, the increasing demand for digital products and cyber security.
The evolution will inevitably involve new developments in the regulatory landscape. The global financial crisis of 2008 ushered in a stricter regulatory environment with new, more stringent standards in many areas including anti money-laundering, governance and remuneration. This has created a healthier culture which is the in the interests of all of us working in the industry but also, more importantly, our clients who benefit from increased protection.
Here at Infinity we have embraced the changes, which we felt were long overdue. Indeed, our MD, Trevor Keidan, set up the company back in 2004 specifically to address the issue of the poor advice and service on offer to expatriate clients in Asia.
Here’s how we are rising to the challenges facing our industry in the Fintech era.
1. The evolution of regulation
Europe and Asia have traditionally taken a convergent approach to standards within the financial sector whereas the US tends to tread its own path however a fragmentation of international standards is predicted with Asia perhaps likely to choose market structure and governance more suited to market conditions in the region. Alternatively, Asian regulators may take on a more influential role in formulating global standards as the region’s dominance increases.
Compliance is a big deal at Infinity. We ensure that our internal procedures are, at a minimum, compliant with the most stringent regulator of all the countries that we operate in (Labuan in Malaysia). We have our own dedicated, highly qualified regional compliance officer based in Kuala Lumpur to ensure our own due diligence and business monitoring is fundamentally sound. Whatever changes are to come, we will continue to strive to uphold the highest regulatory standards.
2. Data privacy
This is a red-hot topic right now with the introduction of GDPR regulations in Europe last year which established much stricter legislation regarding the use and sharing of data and massively increased fines for non-compliance. Asia-based companies doing business in Europe must comply. Data privacy laws in Asia are far more fragmented but GDPR has shone a light on this topic and the APEC Cross-Border Privacy Rules (CBPR) System has been developed ‘to build consumer, business and regulator trust in cross border flows of personal information.’
Infinity take data privacy very seriously and adhere to stringent data privacy laws as set out by the relevant regulatory bodies as well as operating our own internal private policies to safeguard client data.
Technology and innovation are transforming the financial services industry. New players are emerging all the time to threaten large, existing businesses which can be slow to embrace change. Here at Infinity we are committed to offering our clients 21st century solutions, using technology to better serve them. To that end, we have invested heavily in developing our bespoke database, Wealthcraft, which offers our clients greater levels of customisation, in-depth data analytics and 24/7 access to their portfolios. In the dog-eat-dog world of evolve or die we are determined to evolve!
4. Ethics and conduct
We believe that however modern a business is, it should still uphold decent, old-fashioned values. Misconduct is rife in financial services which is why we are careful to foster a culture which upholds the highest standards of business ethics and conduct. All our staff are highly trained and encouraged to continue learning throughout their careers with us. We insist on transparency with regard to risk and the impact volatility has on a portfolio and its potential returns and will always fully explain the rationale behind each and every recommendation we make to clients. We are also transparent on fees and are happy to answer any questions clients have regarding these.
If you’d like to work with a company which manages to combine 21st century technological solutions with old school customer service, why not talk to us about how we can help you put in place a plan to cover retirement, estate planning, education costs, life and health insurance and all your financial planning needs?
A leading provider of expat financial services and wealth management services across Asia.