Fintech duo changes the rules of the industry as it targets millennials

Pedro Gonçalves
Fintech duo changes the rules of the industry as it targets millennials

The asset management industry is having a wake-up call, as more fintech companies with cheap and easy-to-use investments are winning over millennials, who traditional managers find hard to attract.

Revolut is one of two of the fastest-growing fintech companies in Europe aiming their products at millennials. The other is Plum, according to the Financial Times.

In the past two years, Revolut and Plum have signed up close to 3 million users with cheap and easy-to-use investments that appeal to a younger crowd.

“The goal is not to be just another medium-size bank — we want to become the Amazon of finance,” Chad West, head of marketing at Revolut, told FT. The bank has started offering exchange traded funds (ETFs) to its 2.6 million users across Europe.

Revolut claims to be adding 7,000 customers a day to its services.

West said it planned to launch Revolut in the US, Canada, Singapore, Hong Kong and Japan this year. The company provides a commission-free trading service for stocks and other securities targeted at investors aged between 25 and 35.

Meanwhile, Plum, a robo-adviser tool focused on helping its 200,000 users save money and reduce spending, is rolling out six funds to all its customers on Sept 24 by partnering with Vanguard, Standard Life Aberdeen and Legal & General Investment Management.

Plum will offer three Vanguard funds designed for different risk profiles: conservative, balanced and growth. It will also provide access to three themed funds: an LGIM tech fund, an SLA ethical fund and a Vanguard emerging markets fund.

Victor Trokoudes, Plum’s chief executive, said the investment themes were chosen to appeal to the interests of millennials and would consider rolling out funds focused on the environment, healthy eating and artificial intelligence.

In fact, a beta version of the Plum, which was open to 2,000 customers and has been running over the summer, managed to attract £500,000 ($279,328) in investments.

Plum will charge investors £1 a month as well as an annual fee of 0.15% of their assets. Additional fund charges range from 0.22% to 0.9%.

The asset management industry in Europe has long struggled to attract millennials. For 30 years old, Wealthsimple chief executive officer Michael Katchen, the future is digital.

“There’s 50 pages of paperwork, you have to walk to a bank branch or meet them at their offices. Clients don’t want it.

“They want it to fit into their lives and do it on the phone, or on a website. If they want an answer, they want to text someone. They want simple experiences done through technology,” he told Forbes.

The study of 1,200 UK consumers commissioned by Crealogix, which provides digital banking solutions, found younger generational groups, in particular millennials, are substantially more open to automated financial advice and investment management when compared to more mature age groups.