In Focus: Home ownership  

'Money is like this black art for many'


"Money is like this black art for many people," the chief executive of Moneyhub has said, as she calls for better adoption of technology to help put the consumer first.

Speaking to FTAdviser, Sam Seaton said without education and technology, people would still be at a loss as to what to do with their money. 

"Wouldn't it be great if we could use technology to help give people the insight they needed to know what to do?" she said.

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"Who isn't confused about their money right now?" she asked. "The past few weeks have thrown people into concern – they worry about what else is coming.

"We know from the data that millions of people are struggling. It's not rocket science: it's maths. And technology can do that maths for people."

Seaton said it was concerning to see people without advisers attempting to take money out of their pensions to pay off their mortgages. "Is this the right thing for them to do? Maybe not," she observed.

This is why she said she believed technology and better education would be vital to help make more people feel in control of their money. 

She added: "We forget how little knowledge people have; it's not because they are not interested in having a home, they just haven't had the time to think about it.

"Even simple things like the loan-to-value ratio. None of us track that. It's not a difficult calculation but genuinely [understanding] this could open up more products very quickly.

"And technology can provide the means for people to be able to go forward, helping them to understand what is putting the brakes on them and what can push them forward."

Heavy lifting

Moreover, putting technology at the heart of a service offering means this can do all the "heavy lifting" and enable providers and advisers to reach the markets that are under-serviced at the moment, she noted.

Seaton said this was the "future" for all financial services businesses.

"If you put the customer at the heart of what you are doing, you... can serve them in a way that is personal to them, and suitable for them.

"No more orphan customers, no more products with people who, 20 years on, should not be in that product", she said, referencing the problems with endowment products and homes around people's necks that have become a huge financial burden.

"We need the tech to do the heavy lifting and the aggregating and the maths, and then for financial services to use that with products and services to develop these for the customer.

"People should not be left with 20 years of pain. We owe people more than that.

"The time has come with consumer duty coming in, meaning the customer has to be at the heart of what they do," she added.