Partnerships and collaborations have been important for highly-skilled and innovative sectors such as fintech and its wider ecosystem to foster solutions in an ever-changing world. This October, The Fintech Times is celebrating partnerships within the industry.
Michael Gerber is the Founder and CEO of 360F, a company that provides banks and insurance companies with technology that helps financial planners to build trust with their clients. 360F’s products optimize and make personalized recommendations to those clients as to what life insurance or investment products they should buy. Michael was formerly the Managing Partner and CEO of a globally active management consultancy firm, and a consultant with BCG (Switzerland) prior to that. During his consulting career, Michael focused predominantly on Wealth Management and Life Insurance. He has extensive experience in the areas of distribution, customer orientation, process optimization and platform projects.
Describe your company journey
I started 360F in 2016 after a long career in consulting, focused in the wealth management and insurance industry. Through my research and first-hand conversations with financial advisors and relationship managers, it became evident to me that the financial advisory industry has remained stagnant for the past 20 years. People are still distributing financial products and advice in the same way they did decades ago. Yet, increasingly, customers are dissatisfied with the traditional advisory model.
We know that consumers are sensitive about the utility of their insurance and investment products, however, they lack the financial knowledge to make the best decisions for themselves, and there remains a massive protection gap globally. Our goal is to help consumers to understand their financial needs and where they need to build protection.
At 360F, my co-founder Clarie Kwa and I want to combine our industry knowledge with technology that makes financial advice reliable, transparent and trustworthy.
We’ve been recognised as a next-generation fintech and insurtech provider, having been selected as one of the WealthTech 100 companies in 2020, placed among the Top 20 in the Global Fintech Hackcelerator 2019 under the Singapore Fintech Festival, among other accolades. This year, we have even been selected to represent the insurance vertical in the finals of the HK Fintech Week Global Fast Track Programme.
How has partnerships and collaborations played a role in that?
Partnerships are a part of our business ethos. You can see it on our website, “We emphasize finesse and partnering to blaze a trail that others can join.”
We recognize that to scale, we need to partner like-minded technology firms who complement our offerings in the financial services value chain. We also partner with major consulting firms who have the innovation mandate. This openness has enabled us to internationalize with efficiency and effectiveness.
How has partnerships with your consumers and understanding their needs allowed for 360F to grow?
We are our clients’ innovation partner. We bring in technological expertise, entrepreneurial spirit and divergent thinking to help our clients achieve their ambition to disrupt legacy rational and behaviour. Hence they do not see us as just an IT vendor. Instead we are in a consultative relationship with our clients.
What advice and recommendations do you want to give future businesses in the region looking to grow?
Always do your research into the local market to understand the business environment and to identify opportunities for growth. I’m speaking on this from the perspective of an overseas entrant, but being immersed into your target market is absolutely important. While it’s difficult to do so right now with the Covid-19 pandemic, it’s not impossible.