Paul Feeney is challenging the robo-advice industry with his fintech, Map My Plan, which is equipping its users with a goal-oriented plan instead of focussing on product.
Last week the former Credit Suisse private banker was named the winner of the EY Financial Well-Being PitchFest for his online advice service Map My Plan.
Map My Plan is a self-directed, automated financial advice service that enables users to build a customised financial goal map.
Feeney says: “I consider this to be ‘real’ robo-advice. A lot of robo-advice really is just automated investment and the vast majority of those just ask a few questions to try and assess a suitable risk profile to tell the user what to invest in.”
EY Global Pensions Leader, Josef Pilger says: “The PitchFest was developed to help apply technology innovation to some of the most pressing challenges facing the financial well-being sector in Australia.”
Map My Plan has over 10,000 users and is solely focused on individualised advice for clients without being tied to any product or service provider.
The service is free at the moment and has planned subscription models offering email support from an advisor for $9.90 and phone help with an advisor for $29 per month.
Feeney says: “Wealth management isn’t rocket science, we need to make sure that anyone can access financial advice, so we built a platform that was entirely client led and enabled people to take control of their future and build a plan.”
Map My Plan starts with five questions, asking the user if they have three months of expenses saved, if their credit card is paid off each month, current employment situation, if they are aged over 50 and their living situation.
Based on the answers, the service then suggests goals ranging from starting up an emergency fund to saving for a home or repaying debts without recommending products or an investment strategy.
Feeney says: “For most of us investment isn’t the first priority, we have debts that need sorting out and the need to create a solid foundation that can absorb a financial shock.”
Map My Plan isn’t trying to get rid of traditional financial advice. In fact, it aims to complement advisors, who can use it to provide product suggestions for clients that need additional assistance.
Feeney says: “The advisor can proactively go back to individuals and provide solutions and services to the issues that the individual has identified such as a better deal on life insurance or a mortgage. The advisor is no longer selling but instead providing solutions to an issue that a client has identified.”
“The most valuable part of advice is strategic advice because at its core wealth management is about managing the money the client has, such as regular savings and what to do with that on a monthly basis to reach financial goals.”
Map My Plan undertook a survey of Australian financial fitness in 2016 and found that 48 per cent of workers were financially stressed and 23 per cent were kept awake at night due to stress.
In addition, the service can be utilised by businesses to pass onto their employees in order to decrease financial stress in the workplace. This is currently offered to all employees at EY and a range of other workplaces.
Feeney says: “The average person spends three hours per week dealing with their personal financial affairs while at work which is a huge distraction. Our research shows the only thing that is highly correlated with increasing their financial wellbeing is having a plan.”
EY’s PitchFest put forward five problem statements that a fintech aims to solve and would assist consumers:
- easily select, compare or monitor financial well-being products;
- a digitally integrated proposition customers can easily tailor to meet their specific financial well-being needs;
- a way to find value in finance through literacy, engagement and advice;
- manage all of the administrative or transactional aspects of financial wellbeing; and
- data driven insights that help to provide the greatest value to each individual.
Pilger says: “Map My Plan’s proposition is attractive and touches on all the five problem statements.”
According to Pilger, financial wellbeing is based on three buckets, the first is broader wealth, the second is health and the third is purpose and happiness.
Pilger says: “Financial stress is a big element that comes from the first two buckets and can be a drain on the third bucket.”