Duncan Stevens, CEO at Gretel: A Free Service to Claim Lost Investments

Gretel is a new financial utility which helps financial organisations and their customers reconnect with lost and dormant bank accounts, pensions, savings and investments. It has been created by the founders of Intelliteq. Using smart AI-enabled technology, Gretel is able to match customer details with those held by institutions to generate a comprehensive view of the customer’s entitlements.

In the UK there are an estimated 19.6m customer accounts with a combined value of over £50bn that has been lost or forgotten by their rightful owners. People get married, move home, move jobs and it is often difficult to keep track of every bank account, pension and investment. Gretel is the only hub covering the entire financial services industry and is free for all consumers.


How did you come up with the idea for the company?

With Gretel we have a real opportunity to address how disengaged the British public has become with its finances. We understand everyday life gets in the way but, knowing how much you might have in various forgotten accounts could be crucial for you and your family. In recent months, Covid-19 has highlighted the importance of financial security and having access to savings.

The founders have worked in the financial services industry for over 25 years with a specific focus on disconnected customers. Knowing that banks and other financial providers want to do all they can to help their customers’ current financial situation, and recognising a deep fragmentation in the industry, they have looked to turn their expertise into ground-breaking technology to bring customers and organisations back together in a way that has never been possible before. We are talking to new companies every day and, without exception, every organisation can see the incredible potential that Gretel has to help customers and make them better off.

The founders wanted to create technology that would address the challenges of customer reconnection across the entire financial services landscape and provide a real time service to users. Uniquely, once a customer has signed up with Gretel, the service will keep working for them to constantly look for lost monies and flag any new accounts across any sector as and when they are identified.


What advice would you give to other aspiring entrepreneurs?

Do your homework. Understand the problem that you are solving for your target market and be very honest with yourself about whether your idea is sufficiently different for it to make a material difference to your audience.
Also, be prepared for the emotional and financial rollercoaster when bringing a new concept to market as the sales cycle will invariably be longer than anticipated. For me, I found it important to focus on myself and on the things I can directly impact. Don’t allow yourself to become overly distracted by what others in your market are doing.

What can we hope to see from Gretel in the future?

Helping the public find their share of this forgotten fortune is only the start for us. The way customers interact with corporates is changing seismically, and digital initiatives that support both sides to interact more rapidly and smoothly will lead the way. Juxtaposed with the need to accelerate adoption, is the existential crisis faced by many corporates which has made the rapid adoption and deployment of new-tech very challenging. Many companies have been fighting numerous fires and the focus has accordingly been on the core requirements, with new developments placed very much on the back burner – although in reality, some of these will significantly reduce friction and support both corporates and customers as we enter the new normal.

We expect Gretel to lead the way in supporting organisations that are serious about financial inclusion and capability. Digitisation of existing processes will be key to this, as will providing greater support for vulnerable customers, and those who are currently underserved.

Our roadmap of future developments all run to the common themes of reducing complexity, speeding up process, empowering customers, supporting the vulnerable, saving money for our clients and supporting with regulatory challenges.

Ultimately, we want to play our part in helping society become more financially aware and engaged across all ages and demographics so any service we can offer to help that agenda is something that we will seriously consider.

As a fintech start-up, we’re in the enviable position of being able to see the problem and innovate at pace to create a solution for the financial services industry and consumers. Financial customers in the UK will continue to benefit from financial companies embracing technology to make all our lives easier.

Visit www.gretel.co.uk for more information.