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Is this the future of your pennies? A robo-advice start-up with $500,000 seed funding and a new way of doing things

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Zhenya Tsvetnenko and David Pettit

Blockchain entrepreneur and Digital X founder Zhenya Tsvetnenko recently invested in a new robo-advice platform that’s set to launch in the Aussie market and redefine expectations around automated advice. He backed financial adviser David Pettit to start Future Penny, which is set to officially launch in August.

Heaps of robo-platforms are hitting the Aussie market but this one’s quite different from the standard offering in that its biggest component is financial education. Future Penny has been created out of frustration at the banks and frustration that the financial services industry continues to be led by product, rather than the best interests of the consumer. Existing robo-advice offerings are essentially a product, while Future Penny is a platform for guided decision making. It has basically been designed to become the independent financial adviser model of automated advice.

How will Future Penny change things?

What that means is that for the first time, rather than pushing a product, it focuses on educating users about their finances and then if – and only if – an investment product is suitable, it will guide them down that path.

Future Penny will be available to everyday consumers, but the other big market it’s aiming for is companies who want to offer it to their staff. Employers can therefore offer their workers a white-labelled version of the service to help them better manage their money.

The founder, David Pettit, has a wealth of experience in financial planning, running a financial planning business for the past five years.

Another of the high-profile backers is international fintech investor Neal Cross, Chief Innovation Officer at DBS Bank.

“Future Penny follows my investment strategy of start-ups that focus on improving peoples financial lives. Current robo-advisors are too focused on monetisation with little extra value, Future Penny delivers this extra value for free,” he remarked.

“In an increasing war for talent, companies deploying this solution will not only improve the financial health of their staff but also provide valuable financial skills that they can utilise in their current roles.”

Neal Cross
Neal Cross

What is the story behind Future Penny?

Anthill caught up with co-founder and Managing Director, David Pettit to tell us more about what he is looking to achieve with his start-up which Zhenya and Neal, along with several other investors, have backed with $500,000 worth of seed funding.

Zhenya and DavidWhy did you start Future Penny?

I strongly believe that if people are organised in relation to their money then they will live a happier healthier life. Future Penny was established to address the issue of financial literacy and to provide a platform for people to become better organised in relation to their money, and stay that way.

We are taking a leadership position in making sure a robo-advice experience is about more than just financial products.  Robo-advice needs to be about guided decision making that educates along the way and improves people’s lives.

When a highly successful tech entrepreneur and an award winning finance professional join forces to see what can be done to improve people’s financial lives then it can produce some very powerful outcomes for the end user.

Future Penny has been built on two guiding principles: you need to plan for the future because the future is where you are going to spend the rest of your life; and if you look after your pennies, the pounds will look after themselves.

Why is it important?

Research shows that if you have everything in order in relation to your money then you have enhanced peace of mind and often times will be more productive in the workplace.

Future Penny offers employers a new way to look at offering employee rewards to their employees through access to our personal financial education platform. It has been proven that 80 per cent of employees would use a service such as that of Future Penny if their employer made it available.

Neal Cross is one of the top 10 FinTech authorities across Asia and he believes in what we are doing because of our diagnostic and education based approach.

We have proven that if you are organised in relation to your money then you have reduced stress. After all, being financially disorganised causes stress and stress has a funny habit of keeping us awake at night and asleep in the morning.

Future Penny is a wealth management portal that provides the tools and resources to make people’s lives easier and in control.    The portal gives people the tools and the knowledge to get organised in relation to their money and stay that way – all of which is facilitated by customised online interactions.

Our system follows a three step process: think (self-assess your current circumstances); learn (consider what you could be doing differently or better) and do (take action to close any gaps that you may have). This results in reducing risk and taking advantage of opportunity as and when it comes along.

What problems does it solve in financial planning?

Approximately 80 per cent of Australians remain unadvised, and instead of thinking of robo-advice businesses as a disruptor to the 20 per cent of advised Australians, the financial planning industry needs to consider how businesses like Future Penny with a focus on educating people can actually compliment their existing service model and also promote new client acquisition.

Future Penny creates a big opportunity for banks to consider how they can provide online advice to not only their customers but also directly to their employees. We are looking to have dialogue with banks, advisers, and financial institutions who want access to a platform that leads the way in the provision of tailored online financial information.

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