Put simply, the root of many huge problems in financial services – including but by no means limited to the advice gap – is a lack of understanding between service provider and consumer.
At most successful consumer fintech businesses, acquisition teams target customers when they’re at serious financial life moments, like opening their first adult current account or increasing their student overdraft limit. And thanks to digital transformation, the marketing message can land and the ‘life moment’ task can be completed in a matter of seconds. It’s what customers have come to expect.
However, delivering this immediacy relies heavily on internal influencers – CTOs, ambitious product owners and digital-first finance professionals – to understand the hopes, fears and lifestyles of clients.
Recently at Boring Money, we’ve tried to contribute to updating the industry’s understanding of the people it serves by going directly to a cross-section of 2,500 people from the UK to ask them what they’re worried about financially.
Using this data as our yard stick, we can share ideas on how tech can solve problems in priority order, without removing the common-sense, experienced human element that people often crave.
Identifying these financial priorities, and getting under the skin of how customers want and expect service providers to help with them, has formed the basis of much of our work at Boring Money. And it has allowed us to segment many of those affected by the advice gap into eleven ‘Money Tribes’. These tribes unite people by their goals, challenges, and the financial products they may not know they need – and each is a pool of potential clients for financial planners at one end of the spectrum and DIY investment platforms at the other.
Any one person can belong to multiple Money Tribes, depending on their financial priorities and life stage.
Our eleven tribes are, in order of most populous:
1. Suspicious Savers
2. Intrepid Investors
3. Women Talking Finance
4. Tired Parents
5. Rebellious Renters
6. Everyday Entrepreneurs
7. Giving Grandparents
8. Distressed Divorced
9. Dependable Dads
10. Annoyed Self-Employed
11. Sustainable Savers (brand new – we expect this one to really blow up this year)
The tribe names are pretty self-explanatory but, to understand why they’re useful, let’s look at Intrepid Investors. 47.8% of all the people we help with our site fit into this category. These are people who are fairly confident about more popular investment vehicles, such as ISAs, but they have low-maintenance portfolios and are open to learning more. They’re maintaining their hands-on approaches rather than appointing someone else to manage things.
The preference for this DIY approach among such a large segment jumped out at us. In fact, it turns out that just 12% of men and 13% of women would be willing to trust someone else to make investment decisions on their behalf. Strikingly, the three concerns this Intrepid Investor group valued over anything else when it came to making investment decisions were:
1. Whether plain English was used in marketing and explanatory material;
2. How much they trusted a brand; and
3. Whether high financial returns were likely.
Whether our digitally-powered landscape of Investment ISA apps and trading at the touch of a button encourages considered financial decisions or not, it seems the Intrepid Investor tribe is growing because of this environment. And now that we know more about their priorities, plans and perspectives, at least we have an idea of where to meet them.
The story doesn’t end there. Boring Money wrote for Wealth Wizards’ recent collection of articles on the digital future of financial advice and this includes a deeper dive into the research findings discussed above.