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Look Ahead to 2019: highlights from our latest event

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We peeled back the (iron) curtain on DIY investing

Holly kicked things off with a thoughtful glance back at the evolution of DIY Investing. From the emergence of heavyweights such as Hargreaves Lansdown and Willis Owen in the 80s, to the avalanche of robos such as Moneybox and evestor today, the market has come a long way. For everyday consumers, it’s easier and clearer than ever to get started and have a go. And as for the UK market itself, we’ve gone from Thatcher Economics to Brexit… with everything that entails!

Your reviews put the market in its place

Thanks to all your consumer reviews we’re able to tell the industry what works and what doesn’t. So who would our readers recommend to new customers? Who delivers the best value? And does anyone have a 100% recommendation rating? Yes, actually…

If you’ve not left a review yet and want to be heard, spill the beans here. Future customers will be forever grateful!

 

Richard Wilson calls for platforms to focus on beginners

Chief Exec of Interactive Investor, Richard Wilson shared his predictions for customer acquisition in the years to come. Some bold views in our opinion, but probably a bit boring if you’re not a finance bod, so let’s leave it at this: DIY platforms currently do well for people who have large pots of money and know what they’re doing, but they need to work harder for beginners with smaller pots. For these investing newbies, the industry needs to experiment with gamified tools, education programmes, and fixed fees that actually make sense.

 

Nice to see you, to see you nice!

Next up was everyone’s favourite investment trivia gameshow, with Quiz Master Mackay. In the room, we crowned Harriet Mann from Moneyfarm as the Investment Trivia Guru, with a solid 7 out of 10 correct answers. On Twitter, many of you joined in too. But did you get the answers right?

James Rainbow eliminates the grey areas

Clarity for the customer was top of the Schroders MD's agenda: making everything black and white with clear guidance, no baffling jargon, and above all a sense of humanity. People still prefer to deal with humans when it comes to managing their savings, so despite the influx of new investors using robos, there still needs to be a balance between goal-oriented human advice and seamless, accessible tech. How much of a balance? That should be up to the consumer.

The robo squad meld man and machine

Continuing the emerging theme of fully digital investment experiences versus flesh-and-bone relationships, the founders of Moneybox, Fountain and Dabbl discussed fintech’s role in improving investor confidence.

Dann Bibas from Fountain shared that, in the early days, it was easy to get caught up in creating a cool digital product with all the bells and whistles, but people still want people. After all, the number one comment from new investors who've just met with a financial adviser (a finance bod human who’s able to consider an individual’s financial goals and personal motivations) is “I feel more confident”. That’s what digital advice need to achieve too - so hybrid models may hold the answer.

Dabbl’s Mark Ackred echoed this feeling. Many young people get stuck when trying to choose a fund that suits them, and some give up altogether. But in the absence of personalised advice, there is another secret weapon: the knowledge people already have. Although 96% of young people have no investments at all, 53% said they’d be interested in investing in brands they know, such as Netflix or Amazon – possibly because they already feel confident that those businesses will grow.

Ben Stanway of Moneybox fame called it his 'mission' to help this under-informed generation. Even in business school, he claims, young people learn about fiscal theories but not how a pension actually works or the impact of compounding. So what hope do normal, non-financial people have? The solution could be to move away from corralling people towards debt products, and to instead hold their hands and make it real. ‘How do you invest for a new home’, not ‘how do you make a 5% gain over 5 years’.

A final thought before we head to the bar

Our guests gave us lots to look forward to. And lots to think about. But far from being done with shifting the industry’s perceptions, Holly's closing comments gave us all one final glimpse of what people really want from their investments…

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Yesterday we published performance data for 9 of the major robo advisers over the last 12 months and 2 years. Although performance is the most juicy number we all want to see at the end of the day, I also want to drag ‘risk’ onto the table as well. Returns are all about where we get to. Risk is what the path looks like on the way.

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