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Digital advice to break out in new directions, Citizens Bank exec predicts

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Digital advice has applications that can go well beyond retirement planning and wealth management, Peter Fishman, director of Digital Investing at Citizens Bank, said at SourceMedia's InVest Conference in New York City on Tuesday.

"It has a lot of room to run and grow and go in different directions," he told a crowd of bank wealth management and fintech executives.
Fishman said he easily imagines a digital interface that can help bank customers engage in a range of financial decisions. For example, the industry is not far away from providing bank customers with what he called "intelligent cash sweeping," the capability to sweep cash into and out of savings and checking accounts when cash levels reach or dip below certain thresholds.

Digital tools can also help turn banking customers into veritable investment services customers. Such tools, for example, might suggest to banking customers with large savings account balances to shift some of their money into an investment product, provided the move meets suitability requirements, he said.

Fishman's enthusiasm comes as the bank prepares to roll out a robo advice platform in partnership with SigFig. Citizens Bank is "close to launching the product," he said.

Citizens' digital investing platform is aimed primarily at mass-affluent customers who "don't have the same kind of access to professional investment advice as other more affluent customers do," Fishman said.

Mike Sha, CEO of SigFig, was excited about the progress that financial services firms and technologies companies have made in the past 12 to 18 months, after a "grand history" of working together. "When you get people from different backgrounds and disciplines together and you get the best of both worlds, you start to unlock new ideas and opportunities," he said.

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