As the way consumers live and operate changes, the demand for innovative products grows.
Innovativeness, driven by customer-centricity, should be the modus operandi of any company aiming to meet this demand. A product which has developed this way is the Liberty Evolve from Liberty. Mark Lapedus, the Head of Product Development at Liberty Investments, looks at their effect on the financial industry.
Evolving investment space
October 2016 is four years since Liberty Evolve was launched. Evolve is a shared-growth scheme where fees are structured so that if an investment does not perform, the investor does not lose. So far there has been phenomenal adoption with an excess of R20 billion invested.
Lapedus says Evolve is truly a low-cost investment option. “Before, on day one an investor paid their investment fees, paid their advisor and is probably the only unhappy one because they have paid all this money before even starting without any guarantee the investment will perform. The idea of Evolve is to avoid that.”
While such an approach is yet to be embraced throughout the financial services industry, other financial organisations are paying attention. “We have seen other products which look similar but which are actually quite different. It means customers are starting to ask the right questions. Evolve continues to hold a place as a very viable product offering.
Why customer-centricity counts
The decision to assume a portion of the risk in both products is part of the demand to meet customer-centricity needs. “We look at customer needs and develop solutions which fill those needs rather than adjusting current products to suit them. Despite claims of all financial institutions to be customer-centric none have truly put themselves in the customer’s shoes.
“What you need to do as an insurer is sell a way to benefit the customer’s life. The best way to do that is to stand in their shoes but no one ever asks what the customer really needs. Obviously, this requires us to take on risk but that is just what we do as an insurer every single day.”
Lapedus is not limiting his scope to just Evolve either. “Ultimately, to get more people interested we need to look across all products and ensure they truly are beneficial and add value to customer lives. Ensure customer needs are met rather than saying if it worked with one customer maybe it will work with another. Understand their needs and use innovation to develop solutions which actually meet those needs.”