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In the late 19th century, the financial realm saw its first breakthrough with the introduction of the telegraph. And it paved the way for information technology inclusion in banking and finance. The next breakthrough came in 1990, when Citibank started the “Financial Services Technology Consortium” project to facilitate technological collaboration. Since then, the financial world has seen sporadic technological breakthroughs that have made it easier to meet our necessities.

Fintech’s ascent ushered in the emergence of tech-enabled services that allow banks and financial institutions to operate on a more dynamic business model. Enter 121 Advisor, a disruptive tech enabler that provides innovative solutions to Fintech and Insurtech companies create high-quality leads, secure sales, and cultivate customer loyalty in a professional and regulatory manner.

Founded in 2010, 121 Advisor provides bespoke Referral Management (for banks) solutions with marketing automation, mobile point-of-sale, online direct selling, enterprise product configurator, online claims, agency distribution, online customer service portals and corporate websites. The growing use of AI and ML has further added Multilingual chatbots and Robo Advisors, AI-based Predictive Analytics/Machine Learning for anticipating new product releases, lapses, fraudulent claims, and Investment Funds to its portfolio. 121 Advisor has over 20 years of experience and a tech-savvy crew working together to keep it on top. They aim for excellence in whatever they do and provide customized solutions of unrivalled quality.

The visionary behind 121 Advisor is Kevin Steer. He founded the company to capitalize on the prospects that artificial intelligence was bringing to the banking sector. Kevin rides on over two decades of technical experience, including consulting services across the financial space in the Asian market. After completing his Master of Arts degree in engineering from Cambridge University, Kevin worked for Schlumberger (in Brunei, Australia, Indonesia, and China) for five years. Seeing how technology was creating waves, Kevin completed MSc in Computing from Imperial College, London, United Kingdom.

And joined Artificial Intelligence Ltd., UK, honing his skills in AI applications. He worked as a consultant for Strand Software Inc. in the United States, Oregon Advanced Computing Institute in the United States, and Boeing Aerospace Inc. in the United States (1989–1990). Thereafter, he moved to Malaysia to embark on his long-sought entrepreneurial journey and established 121 Advisor. He envisioned it – “To become a renowned Financial, Insurance, and Takaful technology enabler in the region.”

His innovative endeavor attracted many like-minded brains, and he formed a team of dynamic and ingenious people. Together, they put the plan to action and established a strong footing across the Asian market (China, India, Thailand, and Indonesia). Their motto is “We Don’t follow Trends, we pioneer them.” It seeks emerging technologies and experiments on how they can be implemented in financial sectors. Kevin’s never-ending passion for technology, along with his professional experience, has allowed 121 Advisor to carve out a unique niche. 121 Advisor has grown to 20+ companies and is strengthened by core values of ‘Innovative’, ‘Integrity’, ‘Teamwork’ and ‘Quality.’

121 Advisor’s innovative portfolio has kept its sails high for over a generation. To know what makes the portfolio so innovative, it needs a closer look. Below stated is a broad understanding of the same:

  • Predictive Analytics with Machine Learning: This helps in predicting new products to buy, churn & lapsation, underwriting etc.
  • Multi-lingual Chatbot for Financial, Insurance & Takaful (FITbot): It’s a multilingual chatbot and Robo Advisor that uses hybrid networks and natural language processing (NLP) to communicate with consumers and produce more referrals.
  • Web Portal Solution for Sales & Servicing (WebPoS): This multilingual system offers clients a unified tailored digital experience, with content, sales, marketing, and work management centralized rather than siloed.
  • Referral Management & Marketing Automation (ReMMA): Banks use this to assign leads automatically, track and manage lead referrals and conversions based on user-defined workflows. Marketing automation assists in personalized content delivery, targeted campaigns, and engagement.
  • Sales Activity Mobile App (SAMA): The app enables users to organise and manage sales activities effectively, ensuring that it addresses all leads and prospects. Also, managers can monitor the situation in real-time and assist as needed.
  • Mobile Point of Sales Solutions: TIMMS (Takaful and Insurance Mobility Made Simple) is a specifically designed platform to meet the mobility at the point-of-sale for insurance, takaful, and financial services. It is a cross-platform tool that allows salespeople to manage their leads, track their sales activities, conduct presentations to potential customers, build quotations, generate sales illustrations, finalize proposals with e-payment, and execute smart underwriting.
  • Multi-lingual FITBot: A Robo Advisor and a chatbot that engages with consumers using hybrid networks and natural language processing (NLP) to provide a personalized experience and generate more referrals. The product is currently in development and will be released soon.
  • Enterprise Product Configurator (EPC): It aids in reducing the time to market for insurance and takaful products. It allows quick product release by setting up product rates, illustrations, a validation engine, and an automated testing module.
  • Multi-channel Distribution Management Solution (McDMS): General agencies, IFAs, brokers, and Agency Leader Corporations (ALCs) can merge their different requirements to streamline operations. It’s proven to increase sales with lower administration expenses thanks to built-in performance monitoring and compensation computation.

121 Advisor’s innovativeness and disruptive portfolio account for its heavy investment in R&D. A flagship incurred from R&D is the u12know knowledge portal. Launched in 2020, it is a Community & E-worksite Marketing & Distribution (CeMD) portal for improving financial literacy and personal wellness through pertinent topics. The portal focuses on three areas: Financial advice on decisions of life (cost of getting married, costs to raise a child and critical illness planning), starting a business (corporate loans, employee benefits, product liability and director protection), and a wellness calculator for complete health assessments.

Eventually, 121 Advisor plans to create an online community where members can self-learn various financial
and wellness aspects and seek guidance from community members & Independent Financial Advisors. And purchase products and services if required. 121 Advisor intends to democratise this platform in several Southeast Asia nations in a variety of languages.

121 Advisor has shown vibrant progress over the past years in all aspects of the business. While it still has miles to go, it seeks to grow on emerging technologies. Kevin ponders to further delve into his roots (AI & ML) to attain new heights. He says, “As a ‘techie,’ I am always seeking innovative solutions to keep the firm evolving.” He affirms that innovation will redefine customers’ approach towards finance.

Tech tools built on AI, Big Data, ML, Chatbots, and RPA will have a deeper impact on Fintech and Insurtech. Kevin aims to keep his brainchild aligned to these and create more disruptive endeavors for Banks, insurers, takaful & investment companies. He also seeks to set foot in new geographies, including the Philippines, Vietnam, Myanmar, and expand to Europe and the US too.

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