Menu

What if we could create a first-class user experience that provides a chance for everybody to invest with confidence?

Background

In 2012, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) blew a hole in the side of the financial advice industry by banning the commission paid to financial advisers on product sales. The move created a more transparent market for investors and improved professionalism among advisers (FCA report, Dec 2014). However, fewer consumers were prepared to pay a discrete charge for financial advice and advisers shifted their business model to focus on more profitable clients. The market witnessed a surge in people investing without expert advice, risking their savings and pensions with potentially devastating results.

Old Mutual Wealth believes that for complicated matters a financial adviser is worth paying for and wanted to explore how technology could enable the advisers to deliver advice so everyone could afford it.

The ambition was to create a first-class online experience that provided a comfortable environment where people could choose investment ISAs within the safety of easy-to-absorb advice and guidance from their own financial adviser.

Challenge

For a project of this scope we immersed ourselves into the financial world; attending core meetings, speaking with economists, reading the industry publications and speaking with people outside the financial world about their attitudes towards investing.

Our first attempt at a solution was crude but allowed us to gauge the reactions of both customers and experts on how to communicate this inherently complicated subject matter. Through the project, we continued this double-testing process, helping the experts understand the benefit of shrugging off the cloak of financial jargon to enable customers to make better decisions when investing.

Approach

We stripped down every step of the process with the Old Mutual team with the aim of simplifying or removing any barriers whilst simultaneously pouring in a simplified level of advice on investing.

We experimented with research groups on the best order to present information without bias and how the interaction of clear content, behavioural insights and visual design aided their decision making ability.

Finally, when we had a robust working version, the platform was tested in a blind trial to assess whether the online advice would correlate with live advice consultations. The platform passed with flying colours.

I'm starting an investment ISA for please choose

Outputs

We created and explored online flows to understand how we could provide the right tool for the customer. One of the first we did was to break up long complicated forms by splitting up the flow entirely.

This allowed the customer to complete sections throughout the site at different stages, making it more palatable.

We also tested and adopted a Natural Language Forms to help create a clean screen to help people complete a complicated journey on their own, in an area where they potential didn’t know much about.

Results

After a six month collaborative process, the Old Mutual Wealth ISA engine represents a new standard for choosing investment products online. It allows financial advisers to offer a level of advice to everyone, increasing customer knowledge when making financial decisions and narrowing the advice gap in the financial sector.

Next steps

With the new pension reforms that have recently come into place, Old Mutual Wealth customers now have a greater say over their pension. We are now looking at how we can help Old Mutual Wealth help their customers to understand more fully what options they have available through some kind of online toolkit.