Reimagining Personal Finance: A Vision for Unified, Accessible, and Customized Experiences 

Jason Guthrie

April 26, 2024

Jason Guthrie is Head of Digital Asset Product and Head of Digital Assets for WisdomTree in Europe. Guthrie oversees WisdomTree’s digital assets efforts which include bringing new products to market, identifying opportunities to enhance existing products, driving distributions strategies, and leading on client education and engagement on cryptocurrencies. He is responsible for efforts beyond the traditional product set and is actively pushing the digital asset agenda by pursuing alternative and strategic projects. 

Previously Guthrie was head of Capital Markets for WisdomTree in Europe for 4 years, where his team was responsible for ensuring clients had a smooth trade execution experience. Prior to joining WisdomTree, Guthrie worked at Deutsche Bank’s ETF Capital Markets group as well as Macquarie Bank as an Investment Executive based in Sydney, Australia. Jason holds a Bachelor of Commerce (Finance) from Macquarie University in Sydney.

In an era where technology has become intertwined with every aspect of our lives, the financial services industry stands on the brink of a transformative shift. Traditional banking and investment services, often seen as monolithic and slow to adapt, are being challenged by innovative fintech solutions that promise a future of greater accessibility, connectivity and personalized experiences. This blog post explores the critical areas of everyday accessibility, the importance of seamless connectivity and the untapped potential of bespoke financial experiences, arguing for a holistic approach that reimagines how we interact with financial systems. 

Everyday Accessibility 
Accessibility is not a new idea. Much of what people talk about on this topic relates to modern digital experiences and mobile-first approaches, both important topics that have been the focus of much of the developments in fintech to date. The problem with this approach, however, is that the financial services sector is not a monolith; it’s an ecosystem that people must interact within, often, in wholly separate ways. As such, historical attempts to re-engineer traditional finance (TradFi) have generally focused on a single aspect of it (e.g., checking accounts, trading, peer-to-peer payments, wealth management, etc.) vs. approaching the entire financial ecosystem holistically, the results of which are self-evident.  Just look at any user’s phone, and you’ll see a proliferation of financial apps that serve a narrow and specific purpose, none of which can communicate with the others. 

We can and should do better. The way I tend to think about the evolution of financial services is that we need to start looking at how we can serve users in a holistic way vs. trying to improve their experiences with one or two individual features. Don’t get me wrong, the last decade of fintech innovation has created a tremendous amount of value, resulting in a vastly superior experience to its predecessors. But a feature, or two, existing in a vacuum are only going to be so valuable.  

When you look back, much of fintech’s strategy has been to achieve product-market fit in one area of a consumer’s life and then expand horizontally into other areas, a strategy aimed at increasing wallet share. However, this expansion hasn’t occurred as anticipated, and it’s important to understand why. One reason is that, out of necessity, previous generations of fintech companies have had to “rent” the underlying infrastructure from TradFi incumbents. This arrangement gives TradFi incumbents the power to control and dictate how the infrastructure is used, essentially limiting the creativity and innovative approaches fintech companies can employ to develop new solutions and products.  

This model, where fintech companies rent infrastructure from TradFi incumbents, needs to be the first to change in order to make the financial system more effective. We should rethink how we segment people’s financial activities and then design tools that serve their needs in ways that are both understandable and useful. Adopting a ‘first principles’ approach—meaning we strip concepts down to the most fundamental truths and then reason up from there—helps us focus on what people truly need in their day-to-day lives. Our goal should be to enable as much of their financial lives as possible under one roof, making the process not only easily accessible but also seamless and cohesive. 

This is a related point but one that merits a deeper discussion. While I do want to see a consolidation of the number of financial services companies which users might need to interact with daily, it’s unrealistic that this number will drop to just one. User’s needs and preferences change over time. So, moving value around needs to be easy, seamless and bi-directional (i.e., as easy to get out of the platform as it is to get in). 

Users get stuck in suboptimal products or don’t take advantage of what else is out there because moving from one institution to another is incredibly cumbersome and high-friction. It may appear that much of the financial services industry relies on this apathy, on people sticking with overpriced products or holding too much value in cash. I believe this is the reason we haven’t seen a lot of innovation from incumbents – if it’s cumbersome for you to leave, then they don’t need to compete on having the best product. 

The good news here is that we have a new technology that can solve for this – blockchain. I’m not going to talk a lot about how blockchain works or how it’s different from the existing technology, but I will say that I believe it will become the connective fabric of the financial services industry. How much more usable would the ecosystem be if moving money from your brokerage account to your checking account happened instantly, with no time needed for the funds to clear? Or will the move from one wealth manager to another be done in 5 minutes instead of a multiday process? A system built on blockchain will give users more control, flexibility and more choice in their financial lives.  

Bespoke Experiences 
This might be the least developed area in consumer finance. Today, this often happens when you are asked a small number of questions, putting you in one of a few categories of investment portfolios based on risk tolerance. This is an acceptable approach, and it makes sense why the industry would have gone this way, but I believe that this has potential to change. The reason for this is a combination of data availability and the emergence of AI.  

If you can stitch your data together more effectively and couple this with a more sophisticated way of understanding your needs and desires, you can get a far more custom experience in terms of analytics, insights and recommendations. One way this can play out is having a virtual assistant checking your spending habits and making recommendations. If you have excess cash consistently at the end of each month, it may suggest you put more into a yield-generating product at the start to increase your return. It might seem like a small example but this would compound a lot over a lifetime.  

As I said, this is the least advanced area; but thinking about the future and how we can do a better job at tailoring these experiences will be a key value proposition. 

A Final Thought  
While the elements of everyday accessibility, seamless connectivity and bespoke financial experiences do not exist in isolation, their integrated implementation can reimagine personal finance. Adopting a first principles approach that blends these elements into a cohesive, user-centric model promises to make financial services more accessible and intuitively connected to our individual lives, with deep customization at its core. The future is bright with this vision of personal finance. By embracing these changes, we are stepping into a new era of finance that is truly for the people, by the people. 

Stay in the know

Sign up to get our latest insights!

Similar Articles

Get the WisdomTree Prime® app

Scan the QR Code to download the app.

WisdomTree Prime® is available in:

We plan on being in all 50 states soon!
If we aren’t currently available in your state, join our waitlist below.

By clicking “Submit”, you acknowledge reading the privacy policy and disclosures.