By Aisling Finn on Friday 4 December 2020
In a survey, carried out in October by Opinium, for AltFi’s Digital Wealth and Banking report, awareness among UK adults of fintechs helping investors and savers is still relatively low.
It’s safe to say that some digital fintechs have done a stellar job at getting noticed by the wider public, perhaps it’s because of Monzo’s signature hot coral? Or Anne Boden’s growing public persona pushing Starling into the limelight?
But outside the realm of these fintech heavyweights, how much consumer awareness is there for other fintechs.
In a survey conducted in partnership with Opinium, as part of AltFi’s Digital Wealth and Banking Study, it was discovered that here in the UK knowledge of financial brands is fairly below par.
Out of 2,000 people surveyed, the most well-recognised digital wealth manager was Hargreaves Lansdown with a third (33 per cent) of consumers being aware of the 40-year-old brand.
Coming in second, and the highest placing fintech, was Nutmeg, with nearly 600 people or 30 per cent of people recognising the brand.
Moneybox closely followed behind with 23 per cent awareness. After that came Freetrade with 11 per cent and even smaller brands like Wealthify (7 per cent) and Money Dashboard (7 per cent) followed suit.
“The challenges [to digital wealth managers] in Europe comes down to education and trust,” he said on a webinar this week that launched the report
Despite being the most recognised brand, Nutmeg slipped into fourth place when consumers were asked if they had an account. Just three per cent (69 people) had an account, whereas Moneybox was the most-used digital wealth platform.
Caroline Murphree, Europe CEO of WealthSimple, echoed Hanfield-Jones’ statement, telling AltFi: “Companies that are focussed on long-term passive investment would probably agree that, as businesses, we’ve started in the hardest place.”
“How do we get someone to trust us with their life savings, particularly when we’re a new technology company and not a 200-year-old institution? Trust takes time to build, but once you have that trust it opens up many possibilities to be more relevant to our clients.”
In the order of recognition, WealthSimple fell slightly behind the crowd with just five per cent recognition from the 2,000 consumers surveyed,
James Crouch, senior research manager of Opinium, told AltFi: “There is growing knowledge and awareness of these digital brands, especially with younger consumers who are the most receptive to these brands, but we still have yet to convert that to take up.”
According to the research, as younger people tend to be more tech-savvy, they also have a wider awareness of the new, up and coming brands available on the market.
As well as a lack of knowledge, Murphree told AltFi that Britain’s ‘stiff upper lip’ could also be a big barrier to these younger brands: “Here in the UK we speak less openly about money and investing is not as regular a habit as it is in North America.”
“We often see the perception in our consumer reports that investing is gambling,” she said.
As a nation of cash savers, we are more inclined to squirrel away our money into cash savings, rather than take the not-so-scary leap to digital investing, with one of the largest perceptions being that you need to be incredibly wealthy to start investing.
In stark contrast to the smaller wealth managers, as a control in the survey consumers were also asked if they recognised PayPal as a brand, 84 per cent of people asked recognised the payment giant and with 49 per cent having PayPal accounts.
Overall, it’s clear to see that a lack of knowledge and trust surrounding digital wealth advisers is one of the biggest barriers, but some brands are finally starting to break through.