Fintech and the Self-Directed Investor: Bardya Ziaian, CEO of SITTU Group, on How They Intersect

  • Bardya Ziaian, CEO & President at SITTU Group, Inc.

  • 17.02.2021 03:13 pm

While the COVID-19 pandemic has ravaged industries from restaurants to airlines to oil and gas, fintech has not only gotten away unscathed – it has expanded at an unprecedented rate with the help of self-directed investors (SDIs).

To better understand how the growing popularity of fintech and the expanding SDI demographic will change the investing landscape moving forward, we sat down with Bardya Ziaian, CEO & President of SITTU Group, Inc., a think tank based in Toronto, Canada.

Let’s start with the basics. How has fintech impacted self-directed investors?

Bardya Ziaian: Right now, self-directed investors make up a large portion of the global wealth management market. This is due to a few contributing factors, including a shift in demographics, lower market costs, and of course the growth of fintech.

Fintech enables SDIs to take a “DIY” approach to investing, ultimately enabling them to have full control of their financial investments – in their own way and on their own time.

We’ve seen that this concept especially appeals to Millennials, which, we know, is the largest generation group in the U.S., with an estimated population of 72.1 million. Millennials have shown a significant interest in managing their own wealth and becoming SDIs, which has contributed to the growing popularity of fintech.

How has the growth of fintech impacted other industries like the self-directed retirement industry?

Bardya Ziaian: We know the traditional financial services industry has been impacted by the growth of fintech, but the impact on the self-directed retirement industry has been a fairly new change. We’re seeing more and more self-directed IRA investors leveraging alternative asset investment options for their retirement accounts, including private equity, real estate, and cryptocurrency.

What does this newfound intersectionality between fintech and SDIs mean for traditional brokers, advisors, and wealth managers?

Bardya Ziaian: We need to remember that investing and advising are professions. Investing should never be taken lightly or done without careful thought and consideration. Fintech has enabled SDIs to work independently, but it does not mean that professional consultation is no longer needed. Trustworthy professionals, advisors, and wealth managers still provide essential guidance.

I find the biggest mistake is to assume you can do everything better than anyone else. Maybe you can, but you will never grow. It’s better to have help and do more things at 90% of what you think than one thing at 100%. So get help and ask for financial guidance if and when you need it.

What does the future look like for SDIs and fintech?

Bardya Ziaian: Fintech has completely changed the game. With increased transparency and trust, and decreased transaction times, it will only become increasingly popular with SDIs moving forward.

But it’s not just fintech that has changed the game - SDIs have played a significant role in switching the script as well. While digitalization is not a new concept, the growth in SDIs has caused the fintech world to compete for the best digital features, experiences, and platforms. Now, key market players are hustling to provide the best user experience, best integrated tools, etc. I believe that as fintech continues to expand, we’ll see more integrated uses of data-driven technologies like AI that will bring fintech to an entirely new level.

What trends will rise or fall with the growth of SDIs and fintech after COVID-19?

Bardya Ziaian: I believe diversification will be a growing trend in the post-pandemic world, as well as continued growth of real estate investing. But of course, only time will tell how the investment world will look this time next year.

How will SITTU Group, Inc. react to this new intersectionality between SDIs and fintech?

Bardya Ziaian: Our name "Sittu" stems from Chinese words "思(Si)途(Tu)" which translates to “thinking while moving forward.” We believe infinite possibilities arise from forward thinking. It is the philosophy we believe and has always adhered to since inception. We value diversification, improvements, and agility to anticipate dynamic marketplace in a long-run development. We will continue to provide top-notch quality to our customers while staying at the forefront of this movement.





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