Firing line  

‘Technology is great because we can lessen the cost burden’

Wealthsimple launched a self-invested personal pension in October 2018 and a service to help savers switch from their existing provider. 

This comes as Mr Triebel says there is about £20bn of lost pensions – unclaimed pensions or pensions that savers are unaware of – in the UK. 

“They say our generation will have 11 jobs by the time we retire compared to previous generations,” Mr Triebel says, highlighting the importance of being able to trace pensions from all the various number of jobs that, particularly millennials, will hold during the course of their working lives. 

He was able to trace one of his own personal pensions that he was unaware of through this tool. He says he was shocked to see the pension that was located through the tracing tool was still paying three per cent a year out of his pocket. 

“Technology is great because we can lessen the cost burden by automating a lot of things. The average UK investor still pays about 2.5 per cent in fees compared to our 0.5-0.7 per cent,” Mr Triebel says. 

The robo-adviser posted a loss of £2.3m during 2017. The company launched in September 2017, meaning the loss only covered four months. 

Mr Triebel admits he does not expect Wealthsimple to become profitable anytime soon, given that the robo-adviser is still expanding in the UK. 

“We expect to see growth, but we aredefinitely a pre-profit company right now globally,” he says. 

Power Financial, a Canadian conglomerate, has invested C$165m into Wealthsimple. 

Mr Triebel explains how a similar model to one of the robo-adviser’s Canadian products – the Adviser Product – can be implemented in the UK. 

The Adviser Product provides advisers with a platform that helps them manage clients and provide a great user-experience for their clients, he notes. 

It helps them work on their relationship with the client, and automate all the paperwork and the back-end that comes with onboarding a new client, adds Mr Triebel, suggesting that such a product could work in the UK.

Saloni Sardana is a features writer at Financial Adviser and FTAdviser.com