The loose collaboration among participants in Australia and New Zealand’s embryonic fintech industry came together in Melbourne earlier this month. Two dozen presenters provided an array of developing ideas, from robo-advice to blockchain technology, in front of potential investors.
The event was organised by Afiniation, a group founded last year by former UBS executive Ian Dunbar. Dunbar runs the fintech consulting firm FinDigital and is also the Australian chief executive of SuiteBox, a New Zealand company that provides “virtual meeting rooms”.
The presenters, given just 10 minutes each to discuss a case study which demonstrated their business offering, included established concerns such as Paul Resnik’s FinaMetrica (set up in 1994) as well as recent start-ups, such as Donald Hellyer’s BigFuture. The showcase was Afiniation’s second event, following one in Sydney last year.
Dunbar said afterwards that there was an increasing awareness that start-ups could collaborate to their mutual benefit. The success of hubs such as Sydney’s Stone & Chalk demonstrated this.
As an example, Hellyer, who founded the financial management and education site BigFuture last year with Michael Clancy – now the chief executive of Qantas Super – and technologist Chris Reay, at the showcase, is looking to partner with big super funds and other “distributors”.
Also, Ignition Wealth, which also presented, has entered an alliance with SuiteBox, to improve the user-friendliness of its offering.
Mike Giles, an Ignition Wealth co-founder, said that it was most important with robo-advice that, even if no new advice was delivered, it was explained. “That is the big benefit for the consumer,” he said.
Resnik, who pioneered the idea of getting investors to provide a risk profile of themselves so as to get the best tailored advice out of their financial planners, was critical of the planning industry, which had a “history of delivering bad advice”.
He said that in the financial services industry “quick is good”. Things which took a long time were seen as too expensive, he said. But individuals tended to follow the markets – as behavioural finance exponents know – and they have emotional reactions which lead to them buying high and selling low.
FinaMetrica, formerly known as Pro-Quest, provides psychometric risk tolerance tests and other tools for planners to better assess their clients. It is now in 23 countries (“we dominate Bulgaria”, Resnik said), is translated into several languages and is used by more than 5,500 advisors.
Afiniation named online share portfolio firm Macrovue as ‘best in show’ on the day with SuiteBox winning the title of ‘best new technology’.
* Greg Bright is publisher of Investor Strategy News (Australia)