Investing now attractive for a large group of people

For a long time, investing was considered a pastime for people who enjoy taking a risk or who are simply wealthy enough to do so. With interest rates on savings accounts and deposits at an all-time low, investing is becoming popular again. Robo-advice service Munnypot helps investors understand the risk level, offering an alternative to savings or deposit accounts. This concept was created in partnership with Ortec Finance, Five Degrees and Virtual Affairs.

Setting a savings goal

The service is initially rolled out in the United Kingdom, where 56 percent of all adults has monthly saving plans. There is a serious market for savings solutions. But over half of the working adults struggles to reserve substantial funds. Research by Money Advice shows that this group has less than a months pay in savings. And 37 percent of saving adults in the United Kingdom own less than 300 pound in savings. 

When you save, but don't succeed in accumulating a substantial buffer, it can help to determine a goal. Why do you want a specific amount of money to fall back on? Research by Money Advice shows that most people in the UK save up for vacation (34 percent) or unexpected setbacks (30 percent). People also save 'just in case'  (18 percent), for retirement (18 percent), remodeling their home (16 percent) or buying a new car (15 percent) or home (14 percent). 

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Replacement of the traditional advisor

With ‘only’ a months pay in the bank, it's hard to afford that new car or annex. That savings fund will not increase much, due to the low interest, so waiting it out is not an option. That's where investments come in. It's a scary term for a large portion of the population, since for many, investments equal high risk. Many people get spooked by their limited knowledge of the financial markets or investing in the wider sense of the word. That's where Munnypot provides a welcome service.

With the robo-advice service of Munnypot people are assisted while they invest. They can set a savings goal and leave the rest to Munnypot. Or, should they prefer to coordinate their investments themselves, receive support in finding the right investment. The robo-advisor keeps the client updated about all developments involving the chosen investment. If there are changes in the market, the advisor can make suggestions to improve the feasibility of the client goals. And if all goes well, advice can be given on how to maintain or increase the results. The client knows he's not alone in the investment process. 

Replacement of the traditional advisor


In the area of saving and investing Munnypot could be seen as a replacement for the traditional financial advisor, who generally charges a relatively high fee for comparable advice. The founders of the service, Andrew Fay and Simon Redgrove, believe that this can be achieved at a fraction of the cost and more efficiently. With Munnypot, they hope to interest a broader target group in investing. To do so, they harnessed the expertise of Virtual Affairs. Ortec Finance, specialists in effective financial planning, and Five Degrees, experts in client relation management and business process management, also made important contributions to this project.

 Virtual Affairs Director Robin Peters: "We are often approached by start-ups and Munnypot’s founders had already shown their ability to make something out of nothing. The company’s directors are a respected authority in the field of financial advice. Furthermore, this is an initiative with a serious investment budget, because they recognise the importance of good digital customer service. Many of the requests we receive also require an investment from us. That’s not something we can do for everyone. It must also be profitable. We believe that Munnypot can make money, so we have also invested in the business case. Furthermore, we wanted to expand abroad and this was a way to access the United Kingdom, a market which had been difficult to target until recently.”

From start-ups to large organizations

Previously, Virtual Affairs helped set up financial start-ups like Ditzo and Knab. “That is another thing which is in line with our company. Obviously, we work extensively with large organisations too. But in the past, we have also demonstrated our ability to generate complex IT solutions in the financial world, rapidly and pragmatically,” says Peters. Virtual Affairs designed Munnypots concept. “Because we were investing in the project, we also wanted to contribute ideas. We didn’t want this to be just another robo-advisor,” Peters continues. Besides designing the concept, Virtual Affairs is responsible for the interaction between Munnypot and its clients, the design of the client’s personal website, the self-service environment on the website and the integration with services of other parties involved.
“We were immediately very enthusiastic about Virtual Affairs,” says Simon Redgrove. “They came highly recommended, which is why we contacted them. We had several meetings in Amsterdam. During those meetings, it was obvious that they had studied our service in-depth and were therefore able to explain their plans in detail. Virtual Affairs had very interesting ideas. In fact, we immediately felt at ease with them. They clearly demonstrated that they had the experience and knowledge that we were looking for.”


Now that Munnypot has taken its first steps on the market, Redgrove cautiously looks back. “We are delighted at how the public has received the service. This has matched our expectations; the publicity was phenomenal. The British press really embraced our story. And that also encouraged other parties to show an interest in Munnypot, making negotiations with potential investors and third party partners easier too. And we have many conversations nearly every day. All this means that Virtual Affairs may have more work to do in the near future. “This is just the start. Based on the initial feedback, we can implement new adjustments. Ultimately, the idea is to expand and potentially create an app, for example. That’s something else we would expect to involve Virtual Affairs in.”