Fascinating article on Darwinism and applicability to business from Ian Verrender from the Sydney Morning Herald at http://www.smh.com.au/business/adapt-or-face-extinction-20120220-1tjqa.html

Key quotes that I like:

  • ‘Successful businesses adapt to change and evolve. Those that don’t become extinct.’
  • ‘Admittedly, the online threat to traditional retailers has hit with a bang. Consumer attitudes, and with them behaviour, shifted suddenly in the wake of the near recession in 2008 when debt repayment took precedence over consumption. Suddenly, everyone was looking for a bargain.’
  • ‘Regardless of technology, human beings are social animals. They crave interaction and demand personal service.
  • ‘There is no escaping, however, that the way we shop, and the way goods and services will be delivered is changing rapidly and those who fail to adapt will not survive.’

Clearly the article is focussed on the trends that the world is seeing in on-line ‘retail’ shopping, but many of the same trends are being seen in wealth management also. In translation:

  • Much of the old product distribution based business model is facing threat from either regulatory changes or consumer backlash – adapt to a client centric model rather than product centric model or face the risk of extinction
  • Consumers are more connected and comparing their wealth management services that they are receiveing. This is innevitably going to increase margin pressure, the days of the big salaries are going…
  • Humans are social, and when it comes to their monies, they want communication and consideration of the THEIR situation in such. Market commentaries are a plenty around the Internet, what they want is communication about THEM, personalised and relevant
  • There is no escaping that in a world of social media and the Internet, that the formula in the way that consumers seek out, and choose both investment strategies and solutions will, and is changing. The key trend here, like with retail shopping, is the unbundling of the process and doing at the pace that the consumer wants to. In Australia this trend is vastly accelerated as the SMSF structure even enables the consumer to have their own ‘tax wrapper’ and therefore free to invest (within reason) into whatever they seek, how they want, when they want.

No-one can argue that the world is changing, but are we now facing an acceleration in the change where there is now increasing confidence (and reward) for doing things a new way ? Has tradition become uncool and perhaps costly for those who are not preapred to make change ?