Exactly what is Boring Money?

Boring Money is an independent business which has been set up to help normal people who don’t have PhDs in finance make some smart investment decisions quickly and painlessly….

Founder and MD Holly Mackay has worked in the investment industry for 17 years, watching an endless procession of the Old School Brigade wanting to “educate” investors and force them to read pages of gobbledygook until they feel like banging their heads against walls. She thinks this is unhelpful.

If our teeth hurt, we go to the dentist for a filling. We don’t have to wade through a 70 page document on the chemical properties of amalgam first. If we did, we’d have no teeth left!

We don’t believe that you need to get off on economics, to understand the detail of what is going on with Brexit or be able to calculate the square root of 5286 in your head, to make some sensible decisions about your finances. Here’s a little secret which most people in finance won’t tell you. Once you get through the torrent of jargon and pie charts, sensible mainstream investing can actually be quite easy………………shhhhhh!

Boring Money is for anyone who thinks that investments are, well, just a little bit boring. Our mission is to cut through the cr@p, to explain stuff in normal language and to help everyone who has ever felt a bit alienated, patronised or simply cross-eyed and exhausted, to make some good decisions and to get those financial monkeys off your back.

We can’t give you regulated financial advice or learn about your individual circumstances and make personal recommendations. But we can explain the issues, make some suggestions and also tell you who we think is any good. Have a look in our Tribes pages to see what other folk with similar circumstances to you are getting up to.

Follow us on Twitter, check us out on Facebook or sign up to our weekly blog for bite-sized snippets of info to keep you ahead in the big bad money game.

About “Boss Lady” Holly Mackay

Founder and MD Holly Mackay has been working in the investments space since 1998. She read Modern Languages at Oxford, with a special focus on Medieval French which was deeply interesting and arguably utterly useless.

From 1998 – 2007, she worked in both Australia and the UK, for Big Global Investment Firms with Increasingly Important-Sounding Titles, completing a grad diploma in Applied Finance and Investments along the way. At this time she got cocky, made some silly investments in the 2000 tech boom, and learnt a healthy respect (the hard way) for the ups and downs of the stock market.

In 2008, fed up of working for big financial companies, she set up a business called The Platforum, now one of the UK’s most respected financial research firms, analysing investments and platforms for financial advisers, fund managers, pensions providers and investment platforms. She sold the business to Centaur Media in 2011 and left the business in November 2014.

Boring Money is Holly’s new venture. Her aim is to help people without PhDs in finance understand the investment markets – without jargon, bias or pompous gobbledygook. She has 2 kids, a chocolate-eating cat and more red shoes than is financially sensible. She is a bad, yet happy surfer.

More information can be seen at www.hollymackay.com

Meet The Team

Here they are in glorious technicolour. The Boring Money team. The people who do all the real work. Our money Oompa Loompas. Our experts. Us.

Alex Jones

Market Research and Insight Lead

Alex started adult life up t’North as an economic and social researcher before moving South and into commercial market research. He has undertaken consumer-focused quantitative and qualitative projects for some of the world’s leading finance, communications and technology brands – from global tracking studies to consumer ethnography and has had articles published by the Market Research Society.

Likes: Bananagrams, Ferris Bueller and tropical house music

Dislikes: Milky tea, horror films and the cost of renting in South London!

Least boring thing: Amateur potter specialising in wonky bowls

Carmel Dickinson

Head of Sales and Industry Relations

Carmel has worked in advertising and marketing for 11 years. After 5 years at Money Marketing she joined Holly at The Platforum as Head of Commercial. From here she went to News UK to commercially run The Times and Sunday Times financial sections (winning Sales Person of the Year 2015) followed by a brief stint at Guardian Labs. But she was wooed back to join Holly again at Boring Money in Jan 2016 to spread of the word of Boring Money to the financial industry and how they can work with us through content marketing, events and research.

She is obsessed by all things new, shiny and creative in advertising, podcasts and the power of social media. Apart from when she is not controlling what the office listens to on Spotify or Iplayer.

Likes: French bulldogs, live music in a field and a good Scotch Egg.

Dislikes: Baked Beans, Talent shows on TV and bad manners.

Emily Duff

Marketing Executive

Emily is a graduate in English Language with Creative Writing. She has previous experience in journalism with a collection of fancy awards, and successfully ran an online magazine for 3 years prior to joining the team. Emily spends her days at Boring Money HQ editing and writing the online content, and managing the social media channels. She also works closely with Ian, training in her digital marketing skills.

Likes: Unicorns, cups of tea and box-set binging (Scandal is the best!)

Dislikes: Bananas, the rain and messy eyebrows

Least boring thing: being a mum to a toddler – never a dull moment!

Ian Hall

Head of Digital Marketing

Ian has spent the last 10 years working in digital marketing in a variety of sectors from travel to education and in the last few years, financial services. He plans and executes our marketing campaigns with help from Emily and can often be found geeking out inside Google Analytics.

Likes: Notting Hill, German Cars, Samsung Phones, Oudh, Guitars

Dislikes:  Lateness, Traffic, Rubbish red wine, London house prices!

Least Boring Thing:  Poking around Portobello market on a Saturday morning.

Leanne Richardson

Chief Operating Officer

Leanne has worked with numerous companies across multiple industries to deliver systems, processes and products for ‘a lot’ of years. She says you can do the maths by looking at her picture! Leanne joined Boring Money in Jan 2016 as COO to keep everyone on their Boring Toes and ensure we deliver everything we have promised and more.

Likes: sleep and dirty vodka martinis

Dislikes: lack of sleep and only 1 dirty vodka martini

Least boring thing: Anything after 3 dirty vodka martinis

Richard Bradley

Head of Data

Richard started out at Holly’s previous business, The Platforum, in 2011, where he looked at how advisers and consumers deal with investments. Following that, he spent 18 months conducting financial services market research at international media agency Fundamental Media, before joining Boring Money in January 2017.

With a penchant for numbers, he spends most of his time analysing what investment providers are up to and keeping tabs on what they cost.

Likes: gin and tonic, cooking, remote holidays

Dislikes: bad grammar, crowds, shopping

Least boring thing: makes a mean gin and tonic muffin

Mog Mackay

CFO

Chief Feline Officer Mog joined Boring Money after a short career at the North London Cats Rescue Centre in Archway. She has ideas above her station and has been known to refuse Ocado free-range chicken. As well as having an c-attitude problem, she tends to sleep through important meetings and yawn at our videos. She is currently in a disciplinary process although proving rather hard to fire.

Likes: Baked beans, Magnums, shrews, pensions

Dislikes: Baths, dogs, Whiskers cat food.

Least boring thing: She staged a failed coup against Grumpy Cat.

Mog is too cool to be on LinkedIn. She says that’s for losers.

Holly Mackay

Founder & Managing Director

Holly Mackay has been working in investment markets since 1998. She read Modern Languages at Oxford, with a special focus on Medieval French which was deeply interesting and arguably utterly useless. From 1998 – 2007, she worked in both Australia and the UK, for Big Global Investment Firms with Increasingly Important-Sounding Titles.

Likes: time with her kids, red shoes, the sea, surfing, India and wine (not Indian wine)

Dislikes: pompous bores,  broken technology, laziness, the tube

Least boring thing: Holly was in a stand-up comedy show at the Edinburgh Festival ages ago with people who are now much more famous than she is!

How do we make money?

We don’t make money from any product recommendations or reviews. We’re strictly independent. We make money by using our knowledge about what YOU like, to provide research and consultancy back to the industry.

Content – Most financial companies make pretty dull content. We are engaged by some of them to write website copy, to write video scripts and even to design their websites and infographics. And MD Holly also writes for some of the national papers and is paid to speak at industry events.

Sponsorship – Some of our content and videos are sponsored by financial companies – this is always clear to see.

Research – We sift through lots of products to tell you which ones are the best. So we’re able to provide advisory services and research to providers – how do they compare, what do customers like about them, what isn’t so good?

Our clients

A founding principal is that we never say we like someone when we don’t. We do recommend people we like. Without secret bags of gold. That makes some folk suspicious. So we think the best thing we can do is to be squeaky clean about which financial firms give us any dosh.

Holly’s promise: “We are talking to you about your money. Anyone we say we like, we like. And we would say that to our sisters, our friends, our kids’ teachers. We don’t do pay to play. As well as not being spivvy, this makes commercial sense. If you lot trust us, you’ll read our stuff and we’ll be relevant. If you don’t trust us, you won’t visit the site and we’ll just disappear.”

Just to be squeaky clean and transparent, here is a list of firms which have been invoiced by us over the last 6 months (we don’t include firms which have paid to attend our conferences/seminars as delegates).

Alliance Trust Savings; Aviva; BlackRock; BNY Mellon; Equiniti; Evestor; FCA; Franklin Templeton; Invesco; Investec – Click & Invest; JP Morgan; KPMG; L&G; Lloyds Banking Group; London & Country Mortgages;  MadeByMany; MiP; Money Observer; Open Work; Realise; Schroders; Scottish Widows; Third Bridge; TISA; Vanguard; Wealthify; Woodford Funds; Zurich.

Holly's investments and platforms:

Holly holds fairly small accounts with 16 different platforms, 6 ‘robo advisers’ and a total of 25 funds and investment trusts. She’s a big believer that you put your money where your mouth is. There’s nothing like having your own money in a poorly performing fund to force a very honest assessment of whether it’s time to sell up and switch or not! So in the interests of transparency – here’s the list…..

We wouldn’t suggest that anyone else holds accounts with 16 platforms! The whole point of them is that they consolidate all your paperwork and passwords and all that boring FAFF. It usually makes sense to deal with just one. But how can we write about the service if we don’t experience it as customers?

Finally we have to say that this list isn’t an investment recommendation. 25 funds and trusts are quite a lot – some of the below are held because we also ‘road test’ model portfolios of some of the platforms and that means putting our money where our mouth is and following their fund suggestions. We’re also investing for the long-term and some of these funds are certainly high up on the spicy stakes!

Platforms

AJ Bell Youinvest; Alliance Trust Savings; AXA Self Investor; Barclays Stockbrokers; Bestinvest; Charles Stanley Direct; Chelsea Financial Services; Fidelity; Hargreaves Lansdown; Interactive Investor; iWeb (unfunded); TD Direct Investing (unfunded); The Share Centre; The Telegraph (unfunded); Trustnet Direct; Willis Owen

Robo Adviser

Money On Toast; MoneyFarm; Nutmeg; True Potential; Wealth Horizon; Wealthify

Investments

AXA Framlington UK Select Opportunities fund; Biotech Investment Trust; BlackRock Continental European fund; BlackRock Frontiers Investment Trust; BlackRock Gold & General fund; First State Global Listed Infrastructure fund; HSBC American Index fund; iShares FTSE 100; iShares FTSE 250; JP Morgan Emerging Markets Trust; Jupiter India fund; Lindsell Train UK Equity fund; Lindsell Train Global Equity fund; Marlborough UK Micro-Cap Growth fund; M&G Global Dividend fund; Old Mutual UK Alpha fund; Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust; Standard Life Global Absolute Return Strategies fund; Stewart Investors Asia Pacific Leaders fund; Stewart Investors Global Emerging Market Leaders fund; Threadneedle China Opportunities fund; TM Sanditon European fund; Vanguard LifeStrategy 100% Equity; Woodford Equity Income fund; Woodford Patient Capital Trust

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Important stuff!

Holly and the team have worked in the finance industry for many years but we are not regulated to give you personal financial advice, nor are we regulated by the industry watchdog (although we do talk to them a lot). For every story on this site about a good investment, or something which went up by 10% or made someone £200, we could share a story about a bad investment, something which fell by 10% or lost someone £200. Nothing’s certain when investing so if you’re really unsure, or dealing with complicated stuff like working out what to do with a pension when you retire, we’d really suggest you get some financial advice. Here are some tips on  how to pick a good financial adviser. Or check out Unbiased or VouchedFor. Just remember, commission has been banned now so advisers need to be very clear with you about what you are paying them and when.