When it comes to investing, sometimes it’s easier to just leave it to the pros. The problem with many investment advisers though is there is often a conflict of interest and high commission rates. Introducing WealthBar — an online wealth management platform that makes investing easy and personal at lower costs. In a matter of minutes, they are able to recommend an investment portfolio and financial plan that caters to your own needs and goals. WealthBar will also assign you dedicated robo-advisers to answer any questions or concerns. So, what’s the best part? You can do it all in the comfort of your own home in your pajamas.
We had a chance to talk with WealthBar’s Chief Technology Officer, Chris Nicola, to learn more about their low-cost model, his thoughts on generational differences, and the next big thing in investment.
Trulioo: One of WealthBar's biggest benefits are the lower fees — as low as 16% of the price compared to traditional investment advisers. That sounds too good to be true! How do you do it?
Chris: There are two reasons we can do this.
1. We use lower-cost investments called exchange-traded funds (ETFs)
2. We leverage technology to lower our own overhead
Traditional investment funds, typically mutual funds are exceptionally expensive. Our survey of Canadian mutual funds puts the average cost at about 2.2% for a balanced fund. They include a lot of extra fees, including commissions.
We minimize costs both through our technology and our use of low-cost exchange-traded funds. We perform detailed analysis of all the ETFs available in the market to select the best-in-class for each asset class, then use this subset produce a series of carefully risk-balanced portfolios.
In this way, we aren’t merely offering a lower cost but we can also deliver a better, more diversified portfolio than the average balanced mutual fund does.
Trulioo: What do you think are the major differences between millennials and the other generations when it comes to investing and retirement planning?
Chris: Differences are often overstated for the sake of making headlines. Millennials are just beginning to reach the age where saving for retirement is starting to weigh heavily on their minds. Previous generations were probably at a similar stage at one point. However, millennials definitely have a few disadvantages they will need to overcome.
Relatively speaking, millennials are making less than previous generations did at the same stage of their life. Cost of living has also risen leaving less money available for long-term savings. Pension plans and group savings plans are also becoming less common in the workplace as they used to be (this is something WealthBar is working to fix with WealthBar@Work).
Trulioo: What are 3 predictions you have about the biggest investment trends to watch for in 2017 (and why)?
Chris: The three things to pay attention to in 2017 are automated investing, online financial advisers and partnerships between fintechs and financial institutions.
1. Low-cost automated investing is going to be a big story in 2017 and one that has been a long time coming now. With regulatory changes that require more disclosure from the mutual funds to their clients regarding the fees they pay, a lot of people are going to be looking at some big surprising numbers on their statements in the next few months.
2. People getting financial advice online, which we pioneered, is going to become more common. Not simply investing online, but actually working with a personal financial adviser, creating a retirement savings plan and getting all your financial questions answered without ever leaving your home.
3. We’re going to see a lot of fintech companies partnering with advisers and financial institutions. While it’s still in the early days, we’re already getting a lot of interest about partnerships with advisers and their firms. This will continue across the industry and I expect to hear several announcements.
If there’s a fintech company you’d like to see featured in our Fintechs in Vancouver blog series, please submit your request to email@example.com.
Check out some other fintechs we’ve also featured on our series!
nTrust: Remittance from Anyone, to Anywhere.
In 2015, a total amount of $23.4 billion was sent from Canada to other countries according to Pew Research Center. Unfortunately, a huge part of this hard-earned money is lost during the journey due to fees and transaction costs. Enter nTrust — A Vancouver fintech that helps people access, move, and use their money, instantly.
Koho: Secure, Simple, Mobile and a Free Financial Life
Tired of paying a fee for every little thing you do with your credit card and debit card? Sick of big financial institutions charging you hidden fees that just don’t make sense? Meet Koho, a Fintech in Vancouver who offers a prepaid card solution — without all the exorbitant charges. As a matter of fact, they’re working to end fees once and for all.
NetCents: Your Bitcoin wallet, for Everything.
NetCents is a spunky financial services company offering a suite of products leveraging traditional capital markets infrastructure and blockchain technology. NetCents helps their users pay, their way. With the NetCents app, you can move, purchase, transfer, withdraw funds and even buy or sell Bitcoins — all in one place.