Interview with Neil Alexander, CEO at Online Investment Management Service Nutmeg

At Nutmeg, our mission is to help people achieve their financial goals, whether that’s getting onto the property ladder, putting money away for the children in their lives or having the retirement they want. By removing a lot of industry jargon and offering an intuitive, digital user experience, we’re empowering nations of investors both experienced and inexperienced.

Nutmeg was the first digital wealth manager to launch in the UK and is the largest in Europe. Today we manage over £2.3bn on behalf of over 100,000 investors. Our business brings together the best and brightest minds from the worlds of investment, financial advice and technology to deliver high-quality wealth management digitally.

There’s a huge misconception that lowering the cost of a service means it’s only appealing to millennials or newbies. Quite frankly – no one likes being overcharged for a service – whether that’s an investment service, a trading platform, or hiring a car. If we look at Nutmeg clients – the average age of our investors is 39 and 60% of them have investment experience before they invest with Nutmeg. We also have a higher proportion of female investors than the traditional wealth management and investment sector. Whether you’re a first-time or a seasoned investor, our portfolios, investment expertise and client services are an option for you.
Online investment management | ISAs | Pensions | Lifetime ISA | Junior ISA  - Nutmeg

How did the company start?

Nutmeg set out in 2012 with an ambitious aim to offer the same high-quality wealth management and investment services previously only available to the very wealthy to many more people, at a much lower cost. Our founders and many of the early team worked in traditional wealth management and investment businesses and believed there was a better way to help millions of people achieve their financial goals – not just the few who could afford it. This ethos is still thriving at Nutmeg eight years on.

Unlike many of our competitors, Nutmeg was built from the ground up with technology at the forefront to deliver digital wealth management. Some of those who have tried and failed perhaps simply tried to add a digital front end to a legacy business. We started with a clean slate.

We’ve had a talented and dedicated team at all stages of the Nutmeg journey, who have contributed massively to the success of the business, and helped our clients invest towards achieving their financial goals.

We’re proud of what we’ve achieved as a company so far: challenging the status quo of an investment industry that has previously been inaccessible, complex and expensive; creating an intuitive service that is a shining example of how investing should be; and attracting clients at every stage of life. We’re here to build a big business and we have long-term committed investors who share our vision and ambition.


What advice would you give to an aspiring entrepreneur?

This is such a wide question. So many things to consider. Technology is obviously key to so many businesses and to that end, while MVPs are great for speed to market, they should always keep an eye on the long term and where possible build with the future in mind – making the software flexible and adaptable.

Make sure the technology does not separate you from the customer – at Nutmeg we use our platform to make us efficient – we can see how our customers are behaving, for example, increased views from a customer could mean they are nervous about the markets and so we can direct them to content to help them understand that volatility is part of long-term investing. Technology also means that we can have smaller client engagement teams to provide human contact because we can provide that contact at a more appropriate time and in a more relevant manner.

We focus on rolling out updates and improvements that continue to improve the ability of our clients to manage their financial well-being and in so doing of course it helps to build trust that we are here to empower them and support them in achieving their financial goals.

Finally, and most importantly, you can have all the tech you want but if you don’t hire the best people to build it, market it, run it and evolve it then you will not set yourself up for success. I am certainly not the first person to say, hire people better than yourself.

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

It may have been a challenging year, but it’s also been a positive time for the business and in some respects, a positive time to be a CEO. Strength in overcoming adversity, as they say. It certainly confirms the saying that investments can go down as well as up! But as we tell our clients, investing is for the long term.

Financial wellbeing and helping clients to have a clearer picture of their full financial circumstances is crucial at the moment. With so much uncertainty, we have seen clients wanting to add some security to their own financial futures. We teamed up with fellow fintechs Yolt, Emma and Money Dashboard earlier this year, giving clients the ability to see their Nutmeg investments alongside their current accounts, savings products and credit cards – giving them greater control, transparency and oversight of their finances.

We also launched Open Banking payments to help clients top up with a simpler and faster payment experience. Our clients are seeing the benefit of this and we’re actively looking at what more we can do to help them with their financial future. We will have some very exciting developments over the next few months as we continue to build out tools and functionality to really empower nations of investors.