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Digital Dialogues: Setting the agenda for digital money

The annual Outlook Money Digital Dialogues was a melting pot of ideas
By Preeti Kulkarni | January 27, 2017

The keynote address was delivered by N K Prasad president and CEO of Computer Age Management Services (CAMS) who elaborated on steps undertaken by CAMS to boost electronic mutual fund transactions through various measures, especially through the mobile app. "Digital is not a trend, but a revolution," he said, adding that the younger generation - millenials as well as zillenials, that is those born after 2000 – prefer to access products and services through the digital platform.

Pointing out that digital provides a big opportunity to enrich customer experience and empower them, he emphasised the need for the financial sector to make it a core strategy. "We are now awaiting the adoption of digital signatures. Once they become a medium, we can ensure that digital becomes the primary medium," he stressed.

The first panel discussion focused on 'Digital payments after demonetisation', with bigwigs from the banking and investment advisory space - Deepak Sharma, chief digital officer, Kotak Mahindra Bank, Naveen Surya, managing director, ITZCash and Abhishake Mathur, ‎Senior vice-president, investment advisory and customer service, ‎ICICI Securities discussed the impact of the mammoth exercise, sustainability of the shift towards a less cash economy. The session was moderated by Narayan Krishnamurthy, editor, Outlook Money.


The session opened with a lingering query on how each of the panellists’ dealt with the effects of demonetisation. "We had to go back to customers and tell them what was available and suggest alternatives to cash," said Deepak Sharma. "Lot of customers were not aware of transactions that could be done electronically. We conducted education campaigns and one-on-one meetings for customers. They too were keen to learn."

Surya pointed out that demonetisation had affected a psychological shift in mindset, adding that it was important to tap the customer segment which relies completely on cash, rather than only the well-heeled class that already has access to electronic payment tools. "The bigger challenge is always to get the 90 per cent holding cash into the digital fold. We actively design solutions for this segment," he said.


The digital mode has become popular amongst investors who use it extensively to transact. "The transaction platform has become like a commodity. The next challenge is on the decisioning front," said Mathur. "Advent of advanced computing tools are helping us make better decisions. Nearly two million simulations happen before we present an asset allocation plan to clients." While robo-advisory platforms are gaining in popularity, he believes that it is the hybrid model - where human touch and intervention co-exist with robo-advisory - will prevail.

Another challenge is to convince the digi-sceptics as well as customers who did not have access to cashless systems so far about their security. "It is important to make sure that the trust in digital payments is not shattered. A lot of initiatives have been taken and the standards on security will be rolled out soon," said Sharma, emphasising the safety that digital instruments offer.


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