Sesame boss sees technology as route to growth

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Sesame boss sees technology as route to growth
ByDamian Fantato

The new managing director of Sesame has said the network will be able to grow through investing in technology.

Richard Howells, who became managing director of Sesame in March, said consumers' expectations for customer service had been set by large technology companies such as Amazon, and financial services now had to catch up.

He said that by helping its adviser members achieve this and by investing in technology, Sesame could grow its membership.

Mr Howells said: "I think any business now with any aspirations about being successful in the future has got to look at the service and the proposition they offer through a consumer lens. What does the consumer of the future want from their mortgage, banker or financial adviser?

"Could you have something for a consumer that allows you to come to a place, physically or virtually, and you can get a single source of the truth and the ability for someone to compare products, the ability for someone to buy products, the ability for someone to get guidance and the ability for someone to get advice and package all that up in one place?"

Mr Howells said this sort of system could allow wealth advisers to have a broad proposition but also to be scalable enough to offer their services to those who are not yet wealthy enough to access advice.

He said Sesame, which is owned by Aviva, is looking at offering these sorts of services both through mobile technology, but also through voice technology such as Amazon's Alexa.

Mr Howells said: "We absolutely want to grow the Sesame membership. From my perspective it is growing it with good quality members and businesses which want to grow and develop.

"The more we can provide them with this view of the future, then eventually what will happen more and more is it will be a pull factor."

Mr Howells was managing director of strategy and development at Bankhall between 2004 and 2008, when he left to become UK intermediary sales director at Zurich.

He rejoined the Sesame Bankhall Group this year after a stint as director of insurance, wealth, life and pensions at Experian.