Name: Phil Buchanan
Title: Executive chairman
Organization: Cannon Financial Institute


What is your role within your firm, and what do you do there on any given day?
I am the executive chairman at Cannon Financial institute, and that puts me in a unique position. I am the lead executive consultant on many consulting and educational development programs that we do within the financial services industry. In addition to that, I spend some time as a thought partner with several senior executives within the industry, spending quite a bit of time on a day-to-day basis. I have three podcasts, a fair amount of writing, a fair amount of speaking, and in the recent pandemic a lot, and I mean a lot of Zoom meetings.

What area/s of fintech do you believe will grow the most in the coming five years?
I'm going to pinpoint one area in particular, and that is the use of artificial intelligence within the fintech space. I see that being in a very integrated way in several dimensions. First dimension is AI is going to enhance the role dramatically of a financial advisor in his or her ability to work with client. It will not diminish it. I know there's a fair amount of fear that among some practitioners that artificial intelligence could replace the role of financial advisors today. It will do no such thing, as it will enhance it as much as the development of Lotus 1-2-3 was originally thought by many in the CPA Community to be a business to disrupt but it was actually a business enhancer. It allowed CPAs to move to more strategic command and intellectual base work, as opposed to bookkeeping and accounting verifications. I see AI being a definite enhancement to the role of the advisor.

Second, I think it is going to allow conversations to morph dramatically for more advisors as it brings different scenarios into play going well beyond just the basics of investment retirement Insurance, etc. It'll incorporate everything from legacy, philanthropy, healthcare planning, and all of this is going to be based on the facts of client motivations and data, not on rough assumptions.

Third, I see AI allowing for the complete integration and optimization of the entire business and financial life of a client. Take the following example: consider a couple in their 50s, perhaps with two young adult children, and their entrepreneurial business. They've got multiple, perhaps two or three million dollar taxable portfolios, a two-million-dollar qualified plan, an IRA portfolio, and they have health savings accounts. Let's assume they receive nine or more that year that many 1099 the year they're going through optically motivated. Still, the family also has a history of dementia; AI has the ability to take all these data points and synthesize them. It can provide information and possible scenarios and plans of action that the advisor and the client can then work with to best optimize their overall financial life, to make really good Intelligent decisions.

Today so much of that is dependent upon inputs into financial planning software and the ability of the financial advisor to ask the right questions. I think we're going to see much more of this, and an artificial intelligent way based upon data aggregation in the ability of machine learning to really pinpoint some of these opportunities.

What do you believe the next major innovation in financial Technology will be and why?
Well, first and foremost, I don't know. I am not clairvoyant on fintech. I do know that there are thousands of individuals and companies ideating right now on a variety of issues. Where I think time and energy is best spent by the fintech companies is on the things that are creating bottlenecks within the financial services sector. Anything that can significantly reduce cost over to the median and long-run but perhaps most importantly, those things that are going to enhance consumer engagement. From the bottleneck standpoint, payments were a big issue, and there's been a lot of effort made in that area. A lot of times, energy is spent on blockchain and cryptocurrency as a methodology to speed services and eliminate unnecessary costs within the system.

I would look to companies like Apple, Amazon, and Google, and other types of organizations like that to be major disruptors in the fintech space. The primary reason for that is that these companies are consumer-focused. For many fintech companies, their business thesis is to work with a financial intermediary with consumer companies like the Apples, Amazons, and Google's of the world. Although all have a corporate component, they tend to take a very clear focus on creating unique user experiences and unique consumer engagement experiences. And that is something the financial services sector could really learn from. Perhaps they'll be a partnering that at some point down the line.

What are the biggest problems the fintech industry will face in the future?
Again, I'm not Clairvoyant on the issues of the future, but I think the biggest problem that fintech in the future is likely to face is continued scrutiny of a political and regulatory nature. Fintech companies are creating new and innovative ways to do business, and they move at speed much beyond the snail pace of most state and federal bureaucracies. So I definitely think that regulatory issues are going continue to be a challenge.

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