Merrill Lynch Steps Up Its Mobile Game
Merrill Lynch Wealth Management has rolled out new mobile and online features to stay competitive with tech-savvy entrants, Business Insider writes.
The wirehouse will let clients use their Apple and Android smartphones to at least initiate wire transfers, according to the web publication, although it doesn’t clarify whether they’ll need to still talk to a human to confirm the transfers.
Meanwhile, Merrill Lynch is also introducing new features to its website, such as a dashboard to track investments, real-time maps of the markets and interactive charts, Business Insider writes.
The wirehouse’s foray into mobile and online services is aimed at meeting growing demand from consumers, according to the publication. Merrill Lynch says it has seen a 25% rise in how its clients use mobile devices, according to Business Insider. And Andy Sieg, head of Merrill Lynch Wealth Management, indicated that the firm plans to continue investing in tech, the publication writes.
Merrill Lynch is not alone among financial services incumbents embracing fintech, according to Business Insider. In large part, that’s due to a growing number of newcomers to the market who make mobile integration with their services seem easy and are thus challenging traditional firms who’ve relied on in-person contact to make their revenue, according to the publication.
But the incumbents may have an inexpensive way to meet that challenge, Business Insider writes. So-called “chatbots” — software applications that use text-based messaging for business-to-consumer communications — cost less than banking apps, automate back-office work and are open for business around the clock, according to the publication.
However, chatbots don’t come without risks, Business Insider writes — and if executed poorly they can damage the firm’s reputation. But when they’re properly built, they free up the incumbent firms’ staff for more complicated questions, which presumably should lead to better customer service and in turn stronger loyalty, according to the publication.