Letter From The President - Look Me in the Eye


I’m a slow adapter.  I follow technological change rather than lead it.  I do my banking at a branch, not online.  But recently I have been pushed to reconsider and maybe consider some of the newer technologies.  For example, as many of you may have noticed, the company known as Clear has become increasingly available at airports.  Clear allows travelers to skip the long TSA lines and go right into the security machines by using a fingerprint, retina scan or facial recognition.  In my humble opinion, technologies such as retina scanning feel like they should be in a science fiction movie, not at my airport.  It seems to be increasing in both popularity and availability.  I realize that I am “behind the times” and no longer reflective of most travelers or investors. 

How do I know that?  Spectrem recently asked wealthy investors about their familiarity with, confidence in and usage of various biometric types of security, and the answers were very interesting.  Keep in mind that many of our survey responses are heavily represented by Baby Boomers and therefore I anticipated that many individuals would feel like I do.


·       More than half of investors were familiar with thumbprint scans, facial recognition, retina recognition, hand scans, iris scans and voice recognition.

·       More than half of investors, however, currently rely upon none of the above in their own daily activities.  Thumbprint scans were used by about 32%, perhaps because of the availability of this form of identification on many smartphones.

·       With the exception of thumbprint scans, however, investors remained somewhat skeptical about using these biometric authentications for their financial accounts. 



When investors were asked why they might be uncomfortable using biometric authentication for financial accounts and other activities, the answers weren’t focused on security but rather on privacy.  Only 39% worried that the biometric authentication might be inaccurate.  In contrast, more than half (52%) indicated that biometric authentication is an invasion of their privacy and 48% felt it was “Big Brotherish”.  Only 19% were like me…..uncomfortable with technology advancements. 


This information, along with loads of additional information regarding how investors want to access their accounts and communicate with their financial providers and advisors via technology, is available in our soon-to-be-released report, Wealthy Investors and Their Use of Digital ToolsSo, the next time I am standing in the increasingly long pre-check TSA lines at the airport, I will glance wistfully at the fast adapters in the Clear line and reconsider whether or not I am ready for the next step in technology.  Are you?