As we move into the last few months of 2018, I thought it would be a good time to reflect on the last 18 months and, more importantly, look forward to what we have planned for 2019 and beyond.
Our year so far
2018 has been a great year for evestor and the numbers below, gathered at the end of September, show how far we’ve come:
- 121,933 website visitors
- 9,162 registered customers
- 2,481 investors
We think these figures are really positive for the first 18 months of a brand-new business - we are currently giving financial advice to 1,000 new customers every month!
Our move into Manchester city centre in May has meant that we are well placed to compete for the best talent in both the financial and the technology industries. There are now 33 evestor team members, with numerous new positions being created across the business as we grow.
Since we launched we have kept our marketing activity at a low level - we have seen that you can spend a lot of money, quickly and badly, in our industry! It’s important to us that our platform works for our customers and that we can handle more customers without compromising our service before we really put our foot down.
Watching evestor grow this year has been incredibly exciting and so rewarding, but it’s not to say that 2018 has been trouble-free for us. Our problems earlier in the summer with our back-end product provider showed that, where we do encounter problems, it’s vital to face up to them quickly and with honesty. These problems are almost fully resolved and, thankfully, with minimal disruption to the services we provide our investors.
The team here are all so grateful for the positive feedback and patience our customers showed us during that time.
What’s next for evestor?
As for any business, it’s important for us to constantly review the services we provide and make sure they remain relevant to our customers and that they are delivered to the best standard possible.
What we’ve seen in the last 18 months (reflected in the figures above) is that for many of the people coming to us for financial advice, investing is not the right thing for them at this stage. As you know, we only recommend what’s best for our customers, and our experience shows that over 2/3 of our customers would be better off strengthening their financial situation before investing for the medium or long term.
The reasons vary, but in most cases it’s because they may be better paying off their unsecured debts first, or because they have little or no cash buffer in place. We consider both to be important elements of a solid financial foundation that needs to be in place before investing is appropriate.
We have also seen that whilst we have customers who are comfortable making their own decisions and are looking for quality, low-cost investment management for their money, most people want to be told what to do and to be given advice about their financial situation.
To deliver both a do-it-yourself investment platform and financial advice under a single brand has proved to be challenging. We are serving different messages to different audiences wanting different services, all under one roof!
That’s why we’ve taken the decision to separate our advice service from our non-advised service, creating two distinct brands.
From early 2019, our service providing financial advice to customers wherever they are on their financial journey, will take on the name ‘OpenMoney’.
evestor will continue on as the business that provides low-cost investment management to those customers who don’t require advice and are happy to make their own decisions.
How will this affect me?
If you’re one of our non-advised customers, you will see no difference to your current services. The evestor brand will continue for you as our do-it-yourself, investment management platform.
If you’ve received advice from us you will see no difference to the services we provide, they will simply be provided under a different brand, OpenMoney.
This decision will allow us to provide even more focused solutions to the distinct customers of both businesses.
We’ll keep you informed and updated on our progress with this change over the next few months.
2019 and beyond…
Looking ahead even further, our plans for 2019 include:
- Launching a brand-new website for OpenMoney
- Improving our OpenMoney app, which will replace the existing me&mymoney app
- Both our evestor and OpenMoney portals will be updated with better functionality
- Improvements and new features available in our app include debt and savings recommendations and pro-active recommendations on credit cards, utilities, and insurance. We want to make sure you always get the best deal without the hassle of carrying out the comparison work yourself
- An ‘At-Retirement’ service, so that our advice and investment management solutions can be enjoyed by those planning for their retirement
- The introduction of Life Assurance services, so that we can help you plan for the uncertainties of life with confidence
- More sophisticated goal-based investments. We’ll be improving our service to offer flexible access to multiple portfolios and risk levels within your investment products, all focused around helping you achieve your financial goals
We have finalised our financial accounts for 2017 and these include our first 8 months of trading as a live business, these will be released to Companies House over the next couple of days.
The cost of building our business compared to the naturally low level of income since we launched back in April, mean that we are of course showing a loss, although in line with our expectations.
Creating a business as ambitious as ours doesn’t happen overnight. It takes patience, hard work and, inevitably, money! Both Duncan and I understand what’s required to see our vision come to life and we are fully committed to delivering that vision.
We’re really excited about the new services that we’ll be able to offer you over the next 12 months. We have learned a lot in the last 18 months and, as you would expect, some things have worked better than others.
However, we remain committed to ensuring that honest, financial advice is accessible and affordable for everyone regardless of how much money you have.