04 Jun 2020
The Belgian-based B2B company has four products including Robo Advisor, Portfolio Optimizer, Self Investor and StoryTeller that they offer on a white-label basis. CEO Bart Vanhaeren explains below the rationale and the plan to expand down under.
Why Enter Australia?
There are a few main reasons why we made the decision to enter Australia. First, we have harboured the ambition to expand globally from day one, so extending our model to the APAC region has always been a question of when. We believe that there is great benefit in having developed our core technology and team in the EU and are now deploying it in other regions of the world.
We also consider the local business opportunity to be large enough to justify the effort to make the move. The local superannuation and investment market is one of the largest in the world with an asset size of nearly AUS$3 trillion, which represents the 4th largest in the world.
Entering the market now is also important due to the accelerated need for modern digital solutions to service customers remotely. There are major structural shifts under way in the Australian wealth management industry that call for new solutions in the short term, especially since the recent industry investigation by the Royal Commission.
Who will represent you in the local market?
Finding trusted and talented local representatives when expanding to a new region is a challenge all companies struggle with, and we consider ourselves very luckily in this respect. We met Adrian Fisk at Sibos in London in 2019 and struck up a conversation about the business opportunity and the potential to cooperate. As a previous senior partner at KPMG in Sydney, Adrian will play a key board advisory role for us, drawing from his expertise across the Australian regulatory system and his strong roots in the local FinTech ecosystem.
Adrian subsequently introduced us to Tim Smith, a well-respected former senior wealth management executive with Westpac Private Bank. Tim played a key role in transforming Westpac’s Private Bank over 10 years from a traditional red carpet retail operation to a fully-integrated wealth management leader.
After reviewing the products and meeting with the InvestSuite team Tim was convinced that the product, experienced management team and strong global deal pipeline meant joining InvestSuite was an opportunity too good to pass up.
With the support of Adrian & Tim, we are very optimistic we will succeed in making a name for ourselves and improving the delivery of advice & other wealth management services.
How are InvestSuite products suited for the local Market?
In recent months we have conducted market soundings with many wealth managers, financial institutions, associations and market representatives and found that our products are designed to address the two main needs of the local market - to deliver sound investment advice at scale and provide a better customer experience.
It’s commonly known that more than 85% of Australians don’t receive any investment advice today. We intend to help bring that number down by supplying domestic wealth management participants with the robo advisory tools needed to deliver sound advice at scale.
Our dynamic risk profiling methodology was developed by behavioural scientists and customer insights specialists to ensure it’s not overly burdensome while maintaining accuracy in determining the risk profile. Our portfolio construction framework constructs personalised portfolios that offer investors more steady long-term growth, due to our proprietary approach to measuring and minimizing risk. Incidentally, we make the same customisable algorithmic framework available to institutional investors such as asset managers, pension funds and insurance companies with our Portfolio Optimizer product.
Our products also address the need for a better and more engaging customer experience with the aim to meet the expectations of retail investors who are used to the slick digital design and functionalities of consumer apps like Facebook, Spotify & AirBnB. Our Robo Advisor and Self Investor apps offer world-class and intuitive wealth journeys. The Robo Adviser module does not just rely on ETFs, but allows financial institutions to determine the universe of instruments to be used.
We have our own customer insights expert to carry out extensive research as part of our product R&D process. A key design principle we hold at heart is to make all information in our products very transparent for the user. As an example, our StoryTeller module is a true world-first product that explains an investor’s performance over a given period of time by using human language, colors and images - as if reading a personalized Wall Street Journal. We relentlessly innovate with the goal to bring to market products that truly engage users are of top quality.
What are the next steps in the market entry plan?
We have already kicked off activities on the ground with the goal to swiftly secure several key partners & set up the company mid 2020. We intend to be active in the local ecosystem as well by becoming members of relevant regional FinTech hubs and aligning with industry & governmental experts. We are optimistic about the future, especially given the warm reception we’ve received so far from all.
Chris Eichhorn, InvestSuite