We were thrilled to see the inclusion of Akoni in the Sunday Times Raconteur supplement and named alongside some other great names as a wealth innovator last month (you can read more here). It brings us joy to see the mainstream media (outside of the financial papers) recognising that the wealth management sector is not just for the top earners in the UK and beyond, but should be a service made for everyone to create wealth for themselves.This is especially true as the Covid pandemic highlighted the need for greater financial inclusion, and showcased that those who may not have saved before, or who had minimal savings, were able to create a nice pot of cash due to a decrease of living costs brought on by lockdowns. Although this is true, we also recognise that many people did not have this luxury as they faced instability with the loss of jobs, and then a lack of available work.
As Raconteur stated in the aforementioned article: “Wealth management has traditionally been the preserve of the ultra-rich, but technological innovation is opening up the market. From robo-advisers to trading apps, there are a myriad of solutions promising to democratise investing, but can they provide the same, or better, outcomes than traditional wealth managers?”
At Akoni, we know that the rise in digital solutions over the past decade is a huge force behind what is a systemic change behind financial services and the way society looks at and treats money. For the majority of people in the UK, they may have never felt as if they were a part of the conversation around money, feeling as if it was an exclusive discussion with jargon tightly wrapping the issue so that they can never get close to feeling as if they can own their destiny when it comes to wealth.
With Open Finance leading the way for consumers to take control over their banking data and allowing them to use it to access services to help them better understand their finances, plus the rise in access to mobile phones and the internet, we believe that the journey to wealth democratisation is well underway.
So, why should we all care about education around wealth and investment?
The FCA Financial Lives report showed statistics that highlights the need for investment in wealth platforms that have the ability to change the lives of those who may never have thought such services were accessible to them. The report highlighted that a significant proportion of wealthier adults are holding more in cash than would be required as an emergency savings buffer. With ongoing low-interest rates and the threat of potential rises in inflation, we all appreciate the downsides of holding too much in cash. In an FCA report  last year, it was highlighted that some consumers were at risk of financial harm due to holding cash rather than investing. The example was given that a client holding £10,000 in cash between 2008 and 2018 would now have a value of £11,720. If they had invested, the value would now be £21,905.
We have never shied away from voicing the importance of why different generations need education around investment, and why it is so important for those holding cash to understand what it means for the economy when they do, what options they have with their cash, and how to make more on their savings besides traditional routes that have been ingrained in us for a long time.
26% of people surveyed in the FCA report increased their cash savings since February 2020 and we would argue that the above example demonstrates what financial advice might have achieved.
So how can investment and wealth platforms act as digital game-changers for the majority, not the minority?
As an industry, the wealth sector needs to continuously demonstrate the benefits of investing and wealth management, plus openly discuss that it can and should be accessible by the masses, not just the minority of people with a financial background. The wealth industry no longer needs to market itself as a secretive, exclusive club.
By making products that are jargon-free we can also give wealth platforms mass appeal. Many people are put off by what is perceived as complicated products and services due to the (what can be argued as) unnecessary, lengthy and difficult descriptions, explanations and terms surrounding these products.
Plus, in a bid for businesses to make money, and due to the finance industry’s track record of misleading their customers (think the collapse of Lehman Brothers with subpar loans, and the PPI scandal uncovered in 2011) consumers feel as though they will never ‘win’ and will unintentionally fall into a trap of hidden fees. Fintech's have long established that these hidden fees are no longer necessary as digital solutions streamline the need for these overheads. Furthermore, but being transparent, it has been proven that consumers will benefit greatly, and financially-focused businesses will see longer customer retention.
Lastly, we believe by giving consumers a fully rounded, digital experience not fragmented by different account managers with different products, the ability to have a holistic view of what they are doing, and easy access to their own money, consumers are much more likely to stick around and give a business a better customer lifetime value (CLV). It’s not hard to believe that this is more difficult than it sounds, with 50% of wealth managers stating that providing a sophisticated digital experience is a challenge for their firm, yet it will be key to retaining clients.
At Akoni, we fully welcome this long-awaited shift, and we are excited to continue championing the democratisation of finance and help those who want to build on their cash no matter how little, or how large a sum.
So, why should you choose Akoni to help you with your client’s cash decisions?
1) Safe and secure with the FSCS Government deposit guarantee
All deposits are held with each bank providing protection of up to £85,000 per bank, or up to £1 million for Temporary High balances.
2) Diversifying risk (spreading money across savings providers)
With the option to spread cash across several providers on the Akoni Cash Management Platform, you can diversify risk, and increase the chances of positive returns.
3) Increased returns & Better interest rates
In a climate of economic uncertainty, and with interest rates being cut across many providers, it’s not easy to find decent interest rates in a simple way. With Akoni, you can find competitive interest rates to suit your client’s specific needs.
4) Quicker, and hassle-free - no form filling
Akoni Hub provides a hassle-free cash management experience - your clients can onboard and open an account online with no fuss. Clients will only need to complete one AML/KYC process, can switch between providers, and manage their account on the Akoni Cash Management Platform in just a few clicks.
5) White label Adviser portal and tools
You have the flexibility to create a platform that works for you and your clients. Add your branding to showcase who you are through a sleek, professional cash management platform designed with you in mind.
The award-winning Akoni Cash Management Platform is already leading the way in the wealth management sector, and has partnerships with Barclays, Aldermore, Investec, Clydesdale, amongst others. The ability to white label the platform gives financial advisors flexibility to help their clients move cash depending on ever-changing macro and micro environmental factors.
Find out more about Akoni: Akoni is an award-winning UK cash platform, which provides a marketplace to financial advisors and wealth managers through a bespoke white-label offering, or off-the-shelf offering. Akoni uses innovative technology to personalise cash planning solutions for clients, and also provides a full API solution to banks and insurance clients.