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FNZ takes £1m stake in adviser tech start-up

FNZ takes £1m stake in adviser tech start-up

An adviser technology start-up has received £1.3m in backing from the likes of platform technology provider FNZ and a number of well-known advisers, as it seeks to bring to market a range of online advice tools.

Advicefront wants to help financial planners deal with bureaucracy, complexity and paperwork chores.

Its first tool, Onboard, is already available and is designed to speed up and automate client onboarding processes, like billing and risk profiling. 

The company is planning two more product launches by autumn.

Advicefront founder José Supico said: "Our strategic partnership with FNZ has set the wheels in motion for a series of big reveals in 2018. 

"This is a huge milestone in our business and it brings us one step closer to delivering lasting improvements to the way consumers think about and manage their money."

The majority of the funds were raised when FNZ took a minority stake in Advicefront for £1m.

The remaining £300,000 came from a number of angel investors, including Serenity Financial Planning's Tina Weeks, Josh Matthews, a partner at Maseco Private Wealth, and META Finance’s founder Ben Leonard.

Investors also included Bloomsbury Financial Planning principal Jason Butler, Tilney investment director Charles McKinnon, consultant Brett Davidson, who is director of FP Advance, and insurance specialist and investor Lucy Viggers.

FNZ chief executive Adrian Durham said: "We’re really excited about the potential for Advicefront’s technology to help ambitious financial services firms serve more clients, in a cost-effective way, while retaining the all-important human touch that customers want."

FNZ powers a number of adviser platforms including Elevate, HSBC and Hornbuckle.

But its technology received some negative attention recently when life insurer Aviva, which replatformed to FNZ and could not get its platform to work properly for months, causing ongoing disruption for advisers.

Paul Stocks, financial services director at Dobson & Hodge, said adviser support was fragmented so a more seamless approach to handling that would be desirable.

But he said for long standing businesses the question would be the impact of adopting a new way of doing business and the practicality in a still heavily paper-reliant profession.

He said: "Lots of providers seem to be trying to do this. It will be interesting to see how it works and whether it integrates with existing systems or whether firms would have to adopt theirs."

carmen.reichman@ft.com