Having achieved authorization from the FCA and announced a range of strategic partnerships, Moola is set to be the latest entrant to the digital investment management space in the UK when it debuts in early 2017.
Fronted by the charismatic and media-friendly (not to mention, soon to be coach on the US Apprentice) founder and CEO, Gemma Godfrey, Moola will be the latest company to pledge to democratise, simplify and drive down the cost of investing.
The ex-Head of Investment Strategy at Brooks Macdonald announced plans to launch Moola back in September, and the intention to raise £2 million; venture capitalists Run Capital and Odysseus Investments along with a consortium of private investors backed a funding round during the summer which was oversubscribed.
Individual investors have had the opportunity to register an interest and be kept abreast of development on www.moo.la, and in November it was announced that Moola would join forces with EValue to deliver a new investment platform aimed at advisers.
Collaboration really is key – we each provide a piece of the puzzle
In announcing its authorisation, Moola revealed that its investment portfolios would be constructed of BlackRock iShares ‘Core’ suite of ETFs, EValue would provide its financial planning capabilities and it would take advantage of Winterflood’s fractional trading capability and ability to hold client money.
Ms Godfrey said: ‘Today‘s authorization is an important milestone for us and our world-class partners as we work towards our shared goal: to help people grow their money. Collaboration really is key – we each provide a piece of the puzzle, bringing company employees and customers what they need, in the way they need it.’
Like most of its peer group Moola pledges to make investing accessible, regardless of expertise or wealth, but unusually will deliver a two pronged attack both to direct retail investors as well as IFAs via another strategic alliance with the Octopus Labs accelerator programme, which will allow the firm to benefit from Octopus’s network of 3,500 IFAs and 60,000 customers,
Clients are assigned one of several risk-adjusted portfolios of ETFs depending on their risk tolerance as determined through Moola’s sign-up questionnaire.
The benefits of ETFs as the building blocks for digital wealth managers is that they are cost-efficient, highly liquid and instantly diverse; although appointing a single supplier is unusual iShares ‘Core’ products of 14 physically backed ETFs will deliver exposure to equity and fixed income investments around the world.
5.5 million people with disposable incomes have no access to financial advice, equating to £2 trillion
Moola intends to fill what it describes as a ‘hugely important’ niche in UK financial services, where 5.5 million people with disposable incomes have no access to financial advice, equating to £2 trillion.
The company is yet to disclose its proposed fees but has indicated a simplified, all-in pricing structure, with a low entry point of just £200.
Head of iShares UK retail and wealth at BlackRock, Joe Parkin, said: ‘Technology has created new, higher standards of consumer experience that people have come to expect as the norm, Moola is embracing this new reality and applying it to saving and investing. Digital investment services need to be simple, intuitive, and have a key eye on cost, which has meant that ETFs are often the unseen investment engine used to achieve people’s financial goals. These are exciting times for both aspiring and experienced investors.’
Andrew Storey, Sales Director of EValue said: ‘We are excited to announce this partnership with Moola. It is a crucial step forward in the mass delivery of accurate, trustworthy and financially accessible consumer advice. The face of the investment industry is changing fast with increasing demand for clarity and transparency. We are committed to ensuring that people have access to all the information they need to make the right financial decision for them.’
Moola’s adviser platform will allow advisers to offer a cost-effective simplified service to those in need of assistance but who traditionally it would have been too costly to service, until full financial advice is needed.
Andrew Storey, Sales Director of EValue, said: “We are excited to announce this partnership with Moola. It is a crucial step forward in the mass delivery of accurate, trustworthy and financially accessible consumer advice. The face of the investment industry is changing fast with the RDR and FAMR highlighting the increasing demand for clarity and transparency.
‘We are thrilled to be providing Moola with the highest quality forecasts from our independently monitored stochastic model that will ensure that advisers have access to the most robust financial forecasting tools to support clients in making the right financial decisions.’
Ms Godfrey said: ‘Working together, Moola and EValue can enable people to understand how they can achieve their financial goals, offering the comfort to get started and knowledge to make smarter decisions. For financial advisers, the 20 years of operational excellence that EValue brings, adds to the credibility of the Moola service which enables advisers to save time and resources by offering a simplified service to customers too costly to service traditionally.
‘The ease of integration with EValue’s financial projection software makes the Moola service a ready-to-go offering for advisers. The rigorous academics applied to real life scenarios, the accuracy of their projections and ongoing support have further set the service apart.’