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OpenMoney revamps annual reviews

OpenMoney revamps annual reviews
 Anthony Morrow, OpenMoney’s co-founder

OpenMoney, the Manchester-based robo adviser, has revamped its annual review service in order to reach more of its customers on a continual basis.

The service provider, which launched back in 2017 to bridge the gap for those who can’t afford advice through traditional channels, has designed a 5-minute online review which revisits key fact finds conducted during the original advice.

It includes questions around salary changes, ongoing financial goals, and risk preferences.

The service update marks the first of a number planned over the next year, amidst the backdrop of what Anthony Morrow, OpenMoney’s co-founder, dubbed a “refresh”.

“We’re trying to reach beyond one-time decisions by encouraging clients to review their previous decisions,” Morrow told FTAdviser. 

“We’ve always provided an annual review and ongoing advice, but this is just a much more efficient way of providing it.”

To date, OpenMoney has accumulated around 25,000 customers, having provided them with some 80,000 recommendations since it started more than four years ago, according to Morrow.

“We keep our costs low,” the co-founder and former Tatton Asset Management partner explained. 

OpenMoney charges on average 25 basis points of a client’s assets each year, which consists of 10 basis points for its pension and Isa platform, and a further 13-15 basis points for its portfolio range.

“We’re the same as traditional advisers, but we don’t offer face-to-face meetings,” said Morrow. “We do have human advisers, who are all young - hired and trained by OpenMoney.”

Currently, the company is home to three chartered advisers. A further three are working up to chartered status from level 4, whilst another four apprentices are working to reach level 4.

Whilst OpenMoney’s system is fully automated, it does offer advice over the phone for those who prefer to talk to a human.

Those who don’t invest through the platform - which is about two thirds of its customers - don’t pay anything to use the app. The majority of OpenMoney’s customers are either in debt or trying to establish cash savings where they previously had none, Morrow said.

The platform’s clients sit all over the UK, ranging from as young as 18 to 81-years-old.

“We want more engaged customers,” said Morrow. “Getting customers is the hardest part of any business’ life. So, once you’ve got them you want to make sure they’re really engaged.

None of the robo-advisers currently offer what he called a 're-advice' service, according to Morrow. “Digital services tend to focus on the first transaction, with no annual assessments to check if their advice is still appropriate for customers.”

One of Morrow’s “bugbears” is non-advised investment apps. “If you’re not prepared to take on the risk as the supposed ‘expert’, why would the customer want to take it on?”

The co-founder is of the firm belief that guidance is not enough, and that providers don’t need to compromise on quality to serve the masses.