Aviva buys majority stake in robo adviser

The insurance and life assurance giant Aviva is to acquire a majority stake in Wealthify Group Limited, the holding company of the online investment service Wealthify.

Wealthify will be accessible to Aviva’s customers through the life assurer’s digital hub, MyAviva. Aviva said its investment, which is subject to regulatory approval, would also support Wealthify’s business development, helping to accelerate its growth plans.

Launched in April 2016 and based in Cardiff, Wealthify aims in particular to attract the so-called “millennial” generation who came of age after 2000, as well as others who are new to investment. For a minimum investment of £1 its platform enables customers to invest in one of five diversified investment plans through ISAs and general (ie non-tax-sheltered) investment accounts.

It charges investors a 0.7 per cent fee, falling to 0.6 per cent on investments in excess of £15,000 and 0.5 per cent for sums of £50,000 or above. These rates apply to the entire investment, not just the portion above each threshold.

Fund management charges are incurred separately and average an additional 0.19 per cent across all sizes of investment, according to the Wealthify website.

Aviva UK Digital managing director Blair Turnbull said: "Wealthify aims to take the complexity out of investing. It is remarkably easy to use, with no complicated jargon, no expensive fees, and you can start investing with as little as £1. It is particularly aimed at traditional cash savers, who are seeking to diversify their investments, and also at millennials who appreciate an effortless and straightforward digital experience.

“Wealthify combines a smart management team with great technology and a start-up culture. Together with the brand and financial strength of Aviva, we are very excited about the future opportunity, making Wealthify available to Aviva customers through the convenience of our MyAviva online and app experience.”
Wealthify co-founder and CEO Richard Theo was, until the Aviva investment, the largest shareholder in the business. No financial details of today’s transaction, or its effect on his holding, have yet been released.

Theo said: “It’s with great excitement that we’re announcing the partnership with Aviva today. This significant investment in the emerging ‘robo’ market, by one of the world’s largest and most recognised financial services brands, is validation of the vision we set out to achieve three years ago to change investing for the better.

“Aviva’s investment and access to their millions of UK customers gives us confidence that we can become the leader in this market in the UK and beyond.

“We are particularly proud that our business was born in Cardiff, home to a thriving financial services, software and start-up eco-system, which benefits enormously from the Welsh Government’s vision to position Cardiff and Wales as one of the UK’s leading locations for fintech and entrepreneurs.

“The capital investment from Aviva will be used primarily to accelerate our ambitious growth plans as well as develop our technology to enhance the proposition. We will remain focused on simplicity, affordability and transparency, and strive to make investing accessible to everyone.”

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