By Bongani Khulu, Executive for Omni Channel Engagement and Sales at Liberty
There is opportunity in the black middle class – and long live human augmented advice
This past year has been fraught with contradictions. On one end, many South Africans have had to navigate financial headwinds and crosswinds thrusting them towards tight corners and continued squeezed household budgets. On the other, reports such as that by The UCT Liberty Institute of Strategic Marketing on South Africa’s Black Middle Class indicate that at least for this consumer segment, there has been significant growth even during the past few years of economic uncertainty and that a quiet optimism exists for the potential avenues of growth that can be explored.
One thing is clear, however – now more than ever, South Africans need financial advice.
Whether that advice is about navigating the stagnant economy, the rising cost of living, and the looming threat of a global recession in this coming year, 2023; or deciding how best to invest in their futures or that of their loved ones.
In 2022 we continued to be in it with our clients through the ebb and flow of life – and looked at the question of how we could transform existing markets from an advice perspective.
What we’ve come to understand is that for this market there is nuance, there is context, and there is a need to embrace diversity in our approach and delivery of advice.
When talking about tapping into the black middle class, we now understand through the aforementioned report that what constituted the needs of this consumer segment 15 years ago, aren’t the same needs of today. This evolution is multifaceted, requiring multiple touchpoints to give a holistic experience to the client. From our point of view as a financial services provider, it is the marriage of personalised advice and reliable technical support.
Insurance technology with a difference.
The end-to-end insurance platform that puts your customers first.
From an advice perspective, understanding the nuance of moving from a first generation of potential clients playing “asset catch-up”, towards one now wanting to focus on building generational wealth – is a significant one, particularly for advisers.
We now have a real opportunity to offer black families a starting point toward creating multi-generational wealth. However, we need to build up a way of doing things that looks at this system from a point of view of belonging.
Our industry has a wealth of information on clients, trends, spending habits, and other strategic assets which technology allows us to leverage in order to meet their needs of convenience
and information at the tip of the fingers. However, the time-honoured notion of knowing what a client really wants remains core to our purpose.
And not only that, but also create tailored solutions on an individual level.
So, while this past year has been about getting certain basics right – it has also been about enhancing our digital assets such as our underwriting processes, to make doing business with us a lot less time consuming.
Digitizing the journey and harnessing artificial intelligence allow advisers the ability to spend more time advising clients, building relationships, and doing what we do best – helping clients make smart financial decisions, using a human augmented approach; a trend that will continue to live in 2023 and beyond.