Don’t complain. Compete.

In this blog our CEO, Abraham Okusanya, explains why his philosophy of competing rather than complaining has netted our sister business, Betafolio, an incredible £250m in assets in just over a year. And you won’t believe what we’re doing next…!

If complaining could change the world, we would be living in a utopia. However, in this world, complaining is merely a good way to get the odd discount, and a great way to make eyes roll when the conversation turns to your favourite grievance. Beyond that, it achieves little.

I’m talking from personal experience. In my days as a consultant, I saw a lot of rolled eyes. Particularly when I got onto the subject of the cost of discretionary MPS on platforms. Surely, I thought, things could be done better on a flat fee or single digit basis?

Of course, any idiot can moan about the way things are. So, I spent a great deal of time screaming at the sky, thinking someone might hear me, and then come and fix the problem. Which, as you won’t be surprised to hear, is not the best approach to succeeding in fintech.

The truth is, having a complaint about something is a great way to identify where a problem can be found. The next step, which involves the hard work of solving the problem, is where the challenge really begins.

However, as I’ve found out, if something is annoying you, it’s probably annoying a lot of other people too. If you can solve your problem in the right way, you’re going to find your solution appeals to a large market.

Solutions with savings.

My solution? Betafolio. An ultra low-cost, high tech turnkey model portfolio service. Even without the might of a sales team, at least until very recently, we found the ears of many advisers pricking up right from the start. Why? A typical MPS service charges around 0.30% for what amounts to IP on asset allocation, and our technology will now do the same for less than a third of that cost.

It took us ten months to reach the first £100m in client assets. At that point, I knew we were onto something. I told my team we’d reach £500m by the end of the year. They laughed at my ambition, but now, four months later, we’ve got £250m in client assets. So I’ve upped my goal to £1bn by the end of 2021, and nobody has laughed so far.

Where does that confidence come from? I believe in how universal my grievances are in this industry. And by addressing my own complaints, I know we’ve created something that will appeal to a wide range of advisers.

What those numbers mean.

I’m happy to throw the numbers around, but it’s what they represent that matters to me. Those millions are the hopes and dreams of over 800 individuals and families. Myself and my team are humbled that so many advisers have entrusted us with their client’s wealth. And because those assets are sat in low-cost, globally diverse portfolios, that’s at least £250m less for DFMs and asset managers to get their greedy hands on. Which is only going to help those 800+ clients get closer to meeting their financial goals and aspirations.

The lesson I’ve learned from all this? Why complain when you can compete. It’s more productive, it’s how our industry evolves, and ultimately it improves things for advisers and their clients.

Oh, and for those DFMs and asset managers who might complain about their new competition? They’re more than welcome to compete with us. That’s how it works. As the great Herbert Hoover said:

“Competition is not only the basis of protection to the consumer, but is the incentive to progress.”

What’s next?

Imagine what we can do as we continue our mission to rebuild the adviser tech stack…!

Or come and see for yourselves at our exclusive client event on 2nd June (get in touch with us to register) or the event to the whole of the market on 9th June for which you can register here.

Abraham is the Founder and CEO of Timelineapp. He has authored the Beyond the 4% rule book, written several industry papers and delivered many talks. He holds a master’s degree from Coventry University and an alphabet soup of designations, including the Investment Management Certificate, Chartered Financial Planner and Chartered Wealth Manager.

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