After a few years of working at Citi Group, Dann Bibas was spending all of his free time advising friends on what to do with their money.
“At first it’s a lot of fun – but it becomes less fun when they’re asking, do I need to care about pensions, what about savings, shall I just travel? Then it becomes your full-time job,” Bibas said.
So, Bibas and fellow Citi colleague Nishil Parekh set out to close a gap in the market for affordable financial advice.
Today, a financial adviser can cost a few hundred pounds an hour, but Fountain is bringing down the price by combining tech with human advice, turning the financial planning sector on its head.
Although there are other technological options out there, platforms like Nutmeg, Bibas suggests the process is just too impersonal.
“When you streamline everything, the trouble is you get faster processes but lose the human touch,” he says. “The human touch is powerful here because you’re talking about people’s future, their family, their pensions, their retirement.”
Instead, Fountain combines human advisers with technology, meaning customers can access the empathy which is crucial to helping them make big financial decisions.
More than just investment advisers, Fountain also has an in-house money coach, helping customers to build a better relationship with their finances.
“Money coaching is about promoting best practices and greater wellbeing, to help you develop a more nurturing relationship with money. The investment adviser then helps drive a more concrete financial plan,” says Bibas.
When the platform launched in January, it was charging a monthly subscription fee, allowing customer to access these services. Today, thanks to tech’s streamlining the advice process, Fountain has now been able to remove this.