As our highly anticipated PG Inspire series returns, we had the privilege of hosting Mr. Ankit Kapoor, the esteemed COO of Asas Capital, at our office for an engaging and interactive session. Mr. Kapoor, a distinguished leader in the private banking domain within the region, graced us with his presence to delve into a topic that has ignited extensive debate over the past year: The Harmonious Coexistence of Technology and Human Touch in the Field of Private Banking.
It’s a reality that nearly every industry has progressively embraced new technologies over the past two decades. However, what sets wealth management apart is the recent and remarkably aggressive integration of cutting-edge technologies. Having a visionary leader from this domain share his insights on the transformative impact of technology on his day-to-day operations and the broader industry sparked a truly riveting discussion.
Ankit Kapoor is a seasoned professional with over 15 years of invaluable experience in the field of Private Banking and Wealth Management. His journey in the financial sector commenced in the realm of Life Insurance, but he soon embarked on a transformative path that led him into the dynamic world of Private Banking.
In 2008, he made a pivotal move to Dubai, where he became an integral part of Standard Chartered as a Senior Associate Director, a role he held for 7 years. As time continued its march forward, Ankit’s career continued to flourish, bearing the imprints of prestigious institutions such as Credit Suisse, Emirates NBD, UBS, and currently, Asas Capital.
The session with Ankit Kapoor proved to be a highly engaging and interactive exchange of ideas. From the outset, Ankit encouraged an open dialogue by inviting questions from our team. What followed was a thought-provoking discussion, which we will now present in the form of a series of Q&A exchanges.
Q: The integration of technology, while important in enhancing the private banking experience, does raise concerns about potential job redundancies, especially in processes like client onboarding. How do you see the coexistence of technology and the human element in this context?
Ankit acknowledges that such concerns are prevalent not only in his industry but also across various sectors. He believes that the adoption of technology will indeed streamline processes, potentially reducing the need for certain roles. However, he argues that the increased efficiency and volume of business generated by technology will create new demands for labour in other areas. Ankit emphasizes the adaptability of human beings, highlighting that our capacity for learning and evolution far surpasses that of technology. Ultimately, he envisions that the cost savings achieved through technology will be reinvested in other areas, ultimately leading to job creation in the long run.
Ankit further adds that there are aspects which technology cannot replace, such as the human touch that is present in meeting a client and developing that confidence and connection. He feels that technology will never have the conscience to completely understand the emotion of an investor when incorporating strategies and this is where the human’s strength comes in.
Q: How has technology transformed the landscape of Private Banking, and how has your approach evolved to accommodate these changes?
Ankit contends that technology isn’t disrupting but rather enhancing the field of Private Banking. He provides two key examples: firstly, clients now have access to a wider range of strategies and tools, granting them unprecedented flexibility in managing their portfolios. Secondly, analysts can conduct more in-depth research, leveraging technology to analyse various metrics that were previously inaccessible. He notes that while technology simplifies internal processes, its greatest impact is on client service. With the ability to execute trades and orders in seconds, technology significantly enhances the accuracy and effectiveness of managing clients accounts and wealth, ultimately improving overall performance
Additionally, if we look at it from an overall financial services perspective, transparency has increased rapidly, previously consumer/investor trust in banks and its services used to take years to build but with the transparency technology has brought in, everyone now buys into ideas and products in a much quicker manner.
Q: In recent years, there has been a surge in the spread of misinformation, leading to significant fluctuations in investors' portfolio valuations. Does the growing reliance on technology increase the risk of such instances occurring?
Ankit recognizes the prevalence of misinformation, which has become more pronounced in the age of social media. He points out that misinformation has existed throughout history but is now disseminated more widely and rapidly. The average person may not grasp the intricacies of market fluctuations or risk mitigation strategies like hedging. This underscores the importance of skilled wealth managers who not only possess knowledge but also the ability to implement strategies effectively.
Additionally, the rise of cyber threats is a legitimate concern. Ankit emphasizes that investing in robust cybersecurity strategies is crucial to minimize risks. Preparedness and the strength of one’s strategy play pivotal roles in addressing these concerns.
Q: On a day-to-day basis, has the use of technology made your work easier or more convenient?
Ankit responds, “Yes, on an industry-wide scale, the tools and information at our disposal enable us to delve into detailed analyses of assets like never before. This empowers us to provide investors with thorough insights into the current market landscape, just one example of technology’s impact”
He goes on to mention specific tools like accumulators or decumulators that offer flexibility and access to previously unfamiliar strategies, leading to improved results. Ankit highlights that a multitude of such tools has similarly enhanced their work.
Q: Has the increased use of technology resulted in stricter regulations from a compliance perspective?
According to Ankit, compliance has become a prominent concern, especially in light of various incidents over the past decade. He emphasizes that compliance is an inescapable aspect of the industry. His advice is to adhere to rules and regulations rigorously, recognizing the necessity for robust compliance measures in today’s financial landscape.
In conclusion, our session with Mr. Ankit Kapoor, COO of Asas Capital, shed light on the dynamic interplay between technology and the human touch in the realm of private banking. Ankit’s insights underscored the transformative potential of technology, offering clients unprecedented opportunities and enhancing the capabilities of wealth managers. While concerns about job redundancies and misinformation exist, Ankit’s perspective emphasized the adaptability of human beings and the potential for technology to create new opportunities. In the ever-evolving landscape of private banking, technology remains an ally, not a disruptor.
Ultimately, the fusion of technology and the human element empowers private banking to provide clients with greater flexibility, insights, and efficiency. As the industry continues to evolve, embracing these advancements while maintaining compliance remains the key to success.