It is 2yrs already that the FCA launched a dedicated Advice Unit to allow both startups and established financial players (asset managers, financial technology providers) to test and get feedback and licensing on models for automated advice that aim to serve the unserved or underserved consumers, or offer “genuine consumer benefit”. At the beginning of this year and in full alignment with MIFID, the FCA changed the definition of Regulated advice to combat poor sales practices in the investment ecosystem and matches MIFID. The space of financial planning & advice is not boring, neither asleep.
Evalue is a leading provider of planning and advice technology in the UK. I met the group at the Robo investing event this past January in London. Paul McNamara, the new CEO of Evalue, impressed me with his passion and hands-on involvement in the transformation of his company into WealthTech. With only one year at the steering wheel of Evalue, he had started to deliver the first milestones in the digital transformation. Evalue has traditionally offered large financial companies in the UK with a variety of tools for risk management, forecasting and optimization algorithms. Taking the 20yrs experience into the next era, is the challenge and the opportunity. Their areas of strength and focus have been: planning and advice, asset modeling, and risk suitability.
After completing successfully their participation in the 2nd Cohort of the FCA sandbox during the second half of 2017, Evalue tested and their fully automated online streamlined advice process for employees in the workplace designed to help them set and achieve realistic retirement goals. This is an important step to improve their already successful pension freedom planner that they launched in 2015 following the UK of the pension freedom legislation in 2014.
At the conference, Paul was very excited about the public launch of a rich API portal that takes their business to the next level. Each API has a smart two letter acronym. Lets start with the basic and just a few that paint the picture:
“IF” API – The Investment Forecast API – “which generates a simple stochastic forecast based on an initial sum, regular contributions to, or withdrawals from, the investment, any initial, tiered and ongoing annual charges, taxation basis, term of investment and the funds or assets that the money is invested in.”
Then you can pick and choose:
“BT” API – Beating Target – “which shows the probability of the investment beating a specified target”
“BC” API – Beating Cash – “which shows the probability of the investment beating cash”
“CL” API – Capital Loss – “which shows the probability of losing money on the capital invested”
“DF” API – Drawdown Forecast – “to calculate a stochastic forecast of over-time drawdown income and pot size results, plus lump sum, where relevant”
“DA” API – Drawdown Age – “Age “money runs out” calculator”
“IA” API – Investment Affordability – “determines whether the user’s proposed lump sum investment and monthly contributions are affordable in terms of monthly income and outcome, as well as considering outstanding debt and mortgage commitments.”
Source: Full list of APIs
Moo.la is one of the first Fintechs that partnered with Evalue to enhance their offering which caters to customers looking for mobile robo investing and in a very simple UX but at the same time explaining the risks and rewards associated with the different forms of investments Moo.la proposes. Moo.la chose Evalue because their customers would be able to have realistic scenario analysis for their portfolio choices and Moo.la would have the piece of mind that all modeling used behind the scenes is in full compliance now and in the future. Moo.la is not an investment advisor. The platform offers three plans and one additional ethical portfolio. So, no customization and or personalization of risk profiling. Moo.la is focused on making sure that these investment pre-designed choices are well understood and therefore, no jargon, no geekiness but at the same time realism and visual scenarios for the inexperienced. Their partners are Blackrock ishares, and Winter Securities for custody and trading.
For both regulated advisory businesses or unregulated, Evalue’s offering has something to consider. Goal based investing for young investors or retirees, should be simple on the front end and reliably multi-dimensional in the back end. Agile to adapt to new regulations is a must too.
Efi Pylarinou is a Fintech thought-leader, consultant and investor.
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