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Kerry Nicolaides posted a blog entry in My Week in WealthTechHonest. Constructive. Objective. No Bull. "I've got this" - my final thought before I walked out my front door and faced the day we launched http://www.digitalwealthinsights.com/ At F&TRC usually they come to us. They pay us. They ask us to help them 'fix it', 'build it' or 'measure it'. Not this time! With our new service we went to them. We told them. We are going to 'review it', 'compare it' and 'rate it'! I must give credit where it is due. 90% of organisations opened their doors and welcomed us in. They were proud of what they had created. Analysing a single proposition from the ground up, including the size of their underwear, teaches you a hell of a lot about it. Analysing multiple propositions, teaches you about the industry. It identifies trends, and offers up valuable perspectives from numerous angles. Yes, it's our intention to share these with you! The brief for Digital Wealth Insights is to be thorough. The objective is to provide unbiased, constructive and honest analysis of each proposition we select. Above all else, it had to be accurate! Each review was sent back to it's 'owner' to welcome challenges, debate reasoning, and check against accuracy. Many an hour I sat with bated breath waiting for the phone to ring, or my inbox to beep with messages from irate founders, cheesed off developers, and maniacal MDs. If you want to run with the 'Big Dogs' you've got to learn to take a pee in the long grass! Right? Right! 'Difficult' conversations are now par for the course, a daily hazard of my day to day job. Or so I thought. Instead what I found was intelligent debate, gratitude for the transparency, and acceptance of our measures. It is safe to say that there is no ‘one size fits all in FinTech!’ I’ve met with; Individual entrepreneurs who have put their heart, soul and life savings into their passion to help other people. Industry giants with years at the helm looking to modernise their offerings. Groups of friends / colleagues who have pooled their crazy high IQ’s and mind boggling skill sets, into providing a service for the ‘people’ Technology gurus who have been building bridges and plugging holes all over the industry. So much so, that they now have a full suite of functionality to offer their own standalone product. As an analyst of UK WealthTech propositions, I’ve picked up a few overarching pearls of wisdom these past few months: Showing excellence doesn't necessarily mean having all the bells and whistles. It's also an attitude, a drive, and a commitment to achieving something that actually makes a difference. Most WealthTech players are heading in the same direction. If you want to stand out from the crowd, think of delivering the ordinary in an extraordinary way. Options, always give the end user options. We are not all cut from the same cloth. Customisation is a USP. The ability and depth of customisation is crucial for customer longevity. Simple, keep it simple. (Do offer the complicated option, but keep it simple first). Education breeds security. Security breeds contentment. Contentment breeds longevity. Longevity breeds a well-funded bottom line. It all starts with education! The foundations are well and truly down! Where is the innovation? Don't get comfortable. I get it. You want to make sure you perfect your current proposition. But don't lose sight, keep up, innovate from within. (Before someone innovates for you) The opportunity is there. It's everywhere. Digital Wealth Insights was launched with an initial set of 20 propositions: Each week we will be adding more proposition reviews to the service. The next week we plan to look at Abaka and Intelliflo’s automated advice process. As more trends, facts and figures emerge we intend to share these with you through our various ‘Digital Wealth Insights’ social media accounts. To see a summary of our analysis identifying the areas of strengths and where we believe there is scope for improvement visit http://www.digitalwealthinsights.com/ (This does require you to register to the service to gain access to our free summary of each proposition). Further detailed analysis of the various propositions can also be accessed via this link. However, please note there is a subscription fee for the additional level of information.
Honest. Constructive. Objective. No Bull Nothing quite wakes you up like the dark mirrored recesses of Soho's Groucho club (inclusive of lewd phallic images on the walls) first thing on a Monday morning. Although Shawn Brayman (President & CEO of globalcash flow planning software supplier PlanPlus and the new miPlan+ robo advice engine) came close with his opening statements during the Algos4Robos seminar hosted by Finametrica. "A new Robo-advisor is launched every three days in the US" Say what!!! My initial instinct was 'panic'. That’s a lot of robos! It's my day job to analyse and identify the merits, fouls and trends of robots and similar services around the world providing financial advice and guidance. Actually it's great news. Great for the consumer, great for innovation, great for competition, great for me (I should have a day job for quite a while longer), and great for the UK. We tend to follow US trends quite closely, identifying what does and doesn’t work (my job), and learning from their mistakes. What really stood out from their demonstration at first glance, was their approach to ensuring that the automated advice process was actually suitable for each individual client. They recognise that there can be a scientific approach to automated investing but that automation also needs to be able to recognise when scientific academics don’t suit. They prefer to nudge the user to communicate with a person with professional judgment instead. Paul Resnik, Director and Cofounder of FinaMetrica, is no stranger to building software across the World. His experience has taught him that common US FinTech mentality is to deliver as much as they can, as long as they deliver it today. The UK’s approach is rather to sit on it, wait until everything is in place, double check, and then deliver. If I had a pound for every time I heard “can we postpone your analysis of us until said date”, I’d only be needing a half-day job. This week highlighted two British organisations who have put in the man hours and clearly spent a lot of time developing a robust set of functionality, with the end-consumer at the heart of the proposition. It was great being British this week! I put Moneybox (www.moneyboxapp.com) and Wealthify (www.wealthify.com), who are both offering non-advised investment propositions in the UK, through our full analysis process this week. Look out for our benchmarking summary soon Moneybox has been a big in-house favourite amongst the DigitalWealthInsights team since its launch in August this year. It’s been one of the very few propositions to incorporate micro savings into it’s proposition. I myself saved £94 over six weeks into my ISA simply by rounding up all my spending to the nearest £1. Wealthify has a very effective, streamlined and engaging customer journey. It also incorporates a unique socialisation technique through the use of it’s member ‘circles’. I believe Wealthify is in the front row of organisations leading the way to lasting customer longevity. I’d have no problem recommending either of the above to my friends and family. I found myself schmoozing, shoulder to shoulder, with suited and booted fund managers at the London Stock Exchange on Tuesday. Novia hosted an event on the merits of investing in ETFs and at the same time introduced Copia, a subsidiary of theirs offering an investment range using 100% of ETFs. I'm pretty confident that I’d smash a pub quiz now on the difference between a tracker fund and an ETF. Some interesting data (and numbers almost as big as pie came from the event). For my purposes it was encouraging to see how automated advice propositions were ahead of the platforms in leading the way to offering lower cost ETFs to their clients. The week ended with my first rodeo at a chatbot bootcamp hosted by Personetics. The bot landscape is already substantial. Did you know there are already 35 000 chatbots integrated with Facebook. I’d seen all the adverts about Amazon Alexa, well she is a bot as well! The UK doesn’t rate it very much at the moment but let’s give her a break, she is the first of her kind. It’s possible that Google will have a similar bot out just in time for Christmas. 2017 is going to be the year of the Bot. Is the bot going to start becoming another member of our family? In fact, after seeing all the 'bot action' on Friday, it's pretty conceivable that a proactive cheeky little bot will be shouting at you from the fireplace in your lounge, telling you that you shouldn’t have had that extra drink at the pub quiz last night, but rather put it towards your ISA! It’s the potential of the bot that I can’t get off of my mind this week. See http://www.digitalwealthinsights.com/ to follow our more detailed insights and analysis of automated financial services in the UK.