FINNIES: The Australian fintech startups taking on the wealth planning industry

Business Insider is the proud exclusive media partner for the 2018 Finnies, the annual Fintech Australia awards recognising leadership and innovation in the nation’s financial technology sector. Jobs for NSW is the presenting partner of the Finnies. Read more on the awards. »
Stockpot’s Chris Brycki. (Photo: Larry Lee)

The number of fintech startups aiming to take a piece of business in the wealth management sector, now subject to an intense inquiry by the financial services royal commission, is growing fast.

A total of 22 fintechs have lodged entries to the Excellence in Wealth and Investment category of the Finnies, Australia’s only industry-backed fintech awards. This is the highest number of entries of any fintech industry sub-sector.

These startups are taking advantage of new technology platforms, including robo advice which automates the creation of financial advice.

According to a recent research report, robo-advice has gained significant recognition among the Australian online share investor population, with 22% saying they are familiar with these services.

Winners of the 2018 Finnies, the second year of awards, will be announced June 13.

Here are some of the fintechs in the Excellence in Wealth and Investment category of the Finnies:

Plenty

This was launched five months ago by Greg Einfeld and Josh Golombick. Einfeld is an actuary and previously ran the life insurance division of life insurer MLC for 20 years. Golombick was previously an investment analyst at UBS.

Plenty says it has the best features of online robo advice, which helps customers invest cost effectively, and personal financial management tools, which help people budget and track spending.

Then it provides the same advice expected from a good financial adviser including goal setting, budgeting, cash flow, debt, super, insurance, and investments.

Plenty takes the $2,500 and six weeks it takes to get a comprehensive financial plan and boils that down to a free 10-minute online process. Plenty can also help with the implementation of advice, and provides video conference consultations, for a small fee.

“Most of Plenty’s customers are in the 30-45 age bracket and need help reaching their financial goals – including buying a home, kids education, buying an investment property,” says Einfeld.

“Over five years, clients can see benefits of around $20,000 to $30,000 through fee savings, tax improvement and improved investment outcomes as a result of using Plenty’s service, compared to their existing financial arrangements.”

Stockspot

Launched in 2014, robo advice startup Stockspot says it is Australia’s first and largest online investment adviser and fund manager.

“Stockspot pioneered digital financial advice in Australia and in doing so we removed a significant wealth barrier that had previously stopped many Australians investing,” says founder Chris Brycki.

“Four years later, we continue to lead the online wealth management revolution in Australia. We look after thousands of clients from first time investors with $2,000 to self-managed retirees with over $2 million.”

Stockspot publishes the annual Fat Cat report, which identifies that higher fee charging traditional funds generally have the worst returns.

Balance Impact

Balance Impact, which is launching soon, says it is Australia’s first 100% online ethical investment service.

It invests via exchange traded funds which have been screened to ensure they don’t include fossil-fuels, gambling, tobacco or pornography. Balance then actively seeks to invest in positive industries, such as renewable energy, healthcare and education.

“We are a robo-advisor that specialises in ethical investing,” says Balance Impact’s founder Emily Martin, who has a 15-year career in financial markets, specialising in responsible investing.

“After returning to Sydney from working in funds management in New York I wanted to invest in the things I cared about but couldn’t find the right product. So, I decided to build it myself and make ethical investing accessible to everyone in Australia.

“Balance Impact allows anyone to super-size their positive impact in the world, plus we offer flat fees, so you’ll get to keep more of your hard-earned money.”

Money Brilliant

Founded in 2015, Money Brilliant helps average Australians get their finances sorted and make better decisions about money. The service is either free, or costs $9.90 per month.

Money Brilliant connects to a customer’s bank, credit card, loan, superannuation and insurance accounts and helps categorise transactions, understand cashflow, analyse spending, create budgets, manage tax deductible expenses, set savings goals and benchmark income and spending against people like them.

The service can also compare a electricity, gas, bank accounts, credit cards and savings accounts to other products available in the market.

The electricity and gas optimisation feature is said to save an average of almost $500 a year on an electricity bill and and $250 a year on gas.

“Our service is very much designed for every day Australians — those that are unlikely to be getting financial advice from anywhere else and delivering them advice about every day spending decisions as well as more strategic decisions,” said Money Brilliant CEO Peter Lalor.

FirstStep

FirstStep, launched in January this year, is aimed at millennials, helping them save through micro-investing, by rounding up each purchase to the nearest dollar.

The service offers access to investment options including tech, ethical, health and Asia. FirstStep’s customers are mostly young Australians between the age of 28 and 34.

“Micro-investing offers even those who are new to investing easy access to the tools they need to build wealth through a well-diversified portfolio without high fees,” said FirstStep co-founder Matthew Fish.

“Millennials are a neglected demographic in the wealth management space. What we do know is that they have been the early adopters of micro-investing platforms and trust specialised software to do the job of wealth managers.”

Map My Plan

Map My Plan is a self-directed, fully automated financial planning platform that enables anyone to build a personalised financial plan without an adviser.

The proprietary platform simplifies the advice process and enables employers to improve the financial fitness of staff and financial firms to better service their clients.

The service’s annual fees start at $30 a year and reduce with larger numbers of users.

“We are different to other ‘robo-advisers’ in that we hold our own license (AFSL) and guarantee to never sell financial products to our clients,” says Map My Plan founder Paul Feeney, who has spent more than 10 years as a private banker and financial planner.

“We just focus on advice, eliminating existing industry conflicts.”

Map My Plan is available directly to consumers or financial advisers. It has also signed agreements with six corporate clients for their staff. The most prominent of these is Ernst & Young.

Macrovue

Macrovue’s unique approach makes international investing easy by researching and constructing thematic global share portfolios called Vues. This allows investors to access the 98% of the world’s exchange-listed companies not listed on the ASX.

To establish a Vue, Macrovue’s research team chooses a theme then researches 20,000 companies listed on global stock exchanges to identify a shortlist of the best companies relevant to the theme.

Macrovue is currently offering 22 of these portfolios.

The Vues focus on areas such as artificial intelligence, luxury goods, 5G technology, car of the future, clean technology and the silver-haired economy.

The disruptive technology portfolio, which includes investments into a number of the world’s leading technology companies, has recorded a 47.9% return over one year, while the Asian health care portfolio had a 23.3% return in the last 12 months.

* Business Insider is the proud exclusive media partner for the 2018 Finnies, the annual Fintech Australia awards recognising leadership and innovation in the nation’s financial technology sector. We will be bringing you all the best stories from Finnie entrants and Australia’s fintech industry in the lead-up to the gala awards ceremony on June 13. Jobs for NSW is the presenting partner of the Finnies. Find out more here.

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