Kevin Steer, CEO, 121Advisor

After graduating from Cambridge University in 1978 with an engineering degree, Mr. Kevin Steer, the CEO of 121 Advisor, started his career in Brunei to train with Schlumberger for 4 months. With a motto to not follow trends but to pioneer them, he set out to deliver cost-effective solutions to empower the financial and insurances providers. He has also helped to create tech for takaful providers, another form of an insurance system that involves pooling in money to invest it. This type of system follows sharia laws and is a popular investment method adopted by the Islamic population. After his training in Brunei, Mr. Kevin was assigned to work in Australia and subsequently in Indonesia and China. Seeing the advances of mobile computers and the increasing technological advancements, he decided to finish his Masters in Artificial Intelligence from Imperial College in London. Soon after, Mr. Kevin joined an AI company in the UK.

The core values of 121 Advisor include innovative thinking, practicing integrity, encouraging teamwork, and striving for the best quality of services. With these in mind, Mr. Kevin founded the company in 2010 and grew the company to 20+ customers. “As the CEO and ‘techie,’ I design data models and share with the team, and I get feedback from the team,” he says. Through cooperation and collaboration, 121 Advisors boosts productivity among the employees to accelerate their journey towards their goal of becoming a renowned Financial, Insurance, and Takaful technology enabler in the region.

Goals for the future

As the company grows, more and more evolutions have created new additions. Most recently, 121 Advisor has launched a new knowledge portal to provide lifestyle advice on Financial planning and Health & Wellness and already has over 5000 users in Singapore. As many millennials don’t understand financial needs and lack awareness about their options, Mr. Kevin realized a need to have such a portal to cater to their possible inquiries and educate them about the financial services available to them. “We have developed several health calculators and will be implementing a “Total Health Score” solution in the future. In the coming years, we will be rolling out the Financial Planning Goals (Loans, Retirement, Medical, Child Education, Critical Illness) based on a person’s Lifestyle (Single, Married, Young Children, Grown Children, Retired). These Financial Goals are mapped to the person’s lifestyle,” Mr. Kevin shares. They plan to expand into Indonesia as well.

Growing the Business

121 Advisor was established in 2010 and grew to have more than 20 customers, including Manulife, AIA, AIG, MCIS (part of Sanlam Group), AmMetlife Takaful, AmMetlife conventional, Bank Simpanan Nasional (GLC National Bank), and MBSB Bank. These loyal customers are offered numerous services to help their business to flourish. In this day and age, as everything is moving online, 121 Advisor readily provides clients with services that incorporate machine learning and artificial intelligence to equip them with future-ready tools.

121 Advisor provides predictive analytics with Machine Learning to clients that can be used for predicting new products to buy, churns and lapsation, underwriting, and much more. They can also set up multilingual chatbots for financial, insurance, and takaful queries that utilize hybrid trees and natural language processing to engage with customers, offering them a more personalized customer experience and generating more referrals. Additionally, 121 Advisor can also set up websites and portals for clients in order to enable them to experience a unified, personalized digital experience where content, sales, marketing, and work management are consolidated.

As businesses grow, there is a need to transform one’s business every now and then. With the technological boom, the need to be future-ready has arrived. To this end, 121 Advisor helps businesses to grow, not just through technology but also with insight into marketing and sales. 121 Advisor equips clients with referral management and marketing automation that is used by banks to effectively and efficiently auto-assign leads and then tracks and manages the referrals and conversions based on user-defined workflows. Marketing automation results in personalized content delivery, targeted campaigns, and engagement.

Business on the go

To provide additional support, 121 Advisor also provides services to conduct business on the go. The Sales Activity mobile app allows agents to effectively plan and manage sales activities to ensure all leads and prospects are addressed. An added feature for managers to monitor real-time render assistance where necessary has also been incorporated into the design. Another service called the online point of sales is another good tool for those with online businesses. This allows insurers and takaful operators to provide direct purchases of products online. They can integrate the multilingual chatbot, the referral management system, and marketing automation to increase efficiency.

For insurers and clients to connect, 121 Advisor has a Community & E-worksite Marketing & Distribution portal that allows organizations to engage with members of the community, nurture trust, and create advocates to improve customer retention. The Enterprise Product Configurator or the EPC is another service that reduces the time to market for insurance and takaful products. It was built to rapidly set up product rates, illustrations, validation engines, and automated testing of modules to allow quick product deployment. Lastly, 121 Advisor provides multichannel distribution management solutions for general agencies, IFAs, brokers, ALCs to simplify operations by consolidating their diverse requirements. With built-in performance management and compensation computation, our clients have seen improved sales with reduced administration costs.

121Advisor grew its business with clients opting for multiple services that can be easily integrated into any financial offering. Plus, they developed alternative solutions for administration services, including a Customer Service portal that provides Services to provide a response and get more information. As they prepare their clients for the future, Mr. Kevin says, “My advice is to assess the Risks and to see whether to accept the Risks.” As for future plans, he wants to launch in Singapore and Indonesia and expand to Europe and the US.

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