EXCLUSIVE: Pennyworth Hits App Store & Google Play To Transform Financial Planning For Aspiring-Affluent Individuals
‘We’re on a mission to fix banking to help you achieve your goals faster.’
The aspiring-affluent banking market makes up about 10 million customers in the UK who save close to £650 billion each year. They are so addressable, yet extremely neglected by traditional financial services at the moment, and have been for some time. Jeremy Takle, Co Founder of Pennyworth, discussed some of the most exciting features of the new personal financial planning app in solving this problem with us at FFNews ahead of its launch on App Store and Google Play.
Pennyworth is a digital bank founded for aspiring-affluent individuals, founded by Takle and Ben Harvey, both former Barclays executives with experience of setting up banks across the world. For professionals, managers, and business owners, Pennyworth helps individuals plan for, and achieve, their most important aspirations in life, whatever they may be. Drawing on decades of personal finance understanding and sophisticated algorithms to create tailored financial plans, ‘all in the time it takes to drink a hot cup of coffee, there isn’t anything like this on the market’, according to Harvey. So let’s uncover why Pennyworth could transform the financial experience of aspiring-affluent individuals, not just in the UK, but, potentially, around the world.
Fixing the problems in the market – To Takle, the problems for aspiring-affluent individuals created by financial planning apps is very clear. ‘The aspiring affluent are not rich enough to get private banking and financial advice, but have serious financial planning needs that are not addressed.’ Essentially, those typically earning £40,000 or higher are extremely underserviced and limited in their financial productive capacity, but are still regarded as a pocket of customers that are incredibly valuable to the banks. However, Pennyworth has spent a lot of time understanding what these individuals want, how they can get more out of their money and creating a completely frictionless user experience to do so.
‘When we look at the marketplace, most of the budgeting or PFM apps are dealing with a much more narrow user case, typically focusing on short term budgeting, spending or saving. It’s typically for younger individuals who are looking to make ends meet. On the other end of the spectrum, there are robo-advisory, financial and trading apps which are focused on building up wealth in simplified portfolios. They’re two ends of the spectrum. We’ve taken a goals-led approach, where the aspiring-affluent majority of customers who have complex needs get more than regular banking in the middle.’ Takle addressed not just the current problem in undeserving the mass-affluent individual in the market, but also the sheer absence of any specialisation in that segment too. Pennyworth seeks to transform this.
Providing a seamless experience whilst mitigating the risk – despite being neglected, the aspiring-affluent customer may be unsure, worried, and doubtful about how they can truly map out their finances to lead to fulfilling their life goals. How does Pennyworth stand out to be recognised as a viable alternative then?
The key thing for Pennyworth is that users can get all the benefits of the app without actually moving their current account. By offering a planning tool which aggregates your current account inside the app, Pennyworth sits on top of what you’ve got already. By acting across your entire financial life, the app becomes a bank manager in your pocket. Takle says that ‘the old wise bank manager that asks if you’ve saved towards this goal with a warning pointed finger doesn’t exist anymore, whereas we let the app connect and optimise your financial life with minimal effort.’
How COVID changed the demands of aspiring-affluent customers – It is indelibly clear that the COVID pandemic accelerated the adoption of all things digital, from payments to work spaces. However, Pennyworth analysed the pandemic via a different lens through their goals-led focus. Surveying large groups of aspiring-affluents about what their goals are currently, compared to what they were before COVID, revealed some clearly shifted insights. It appeared that consumers became increasingly aware that now is the time to set about, prepare and truly do stuff in life – anything. ‘People began to question, “do I have a security blanket? Do I have a cash buffer? Am I looking forward to the more important things in life?” People really thought harder about what a good life looks like and how to get there’, said Tackle.
This urgency to reorganise one’s financial state as soon as possible to align with life aspirations was hugely prevalent in Pennyworth’’s research, and is the backbone to their app which they believe is truly unique in its scope. Not only are they addressing the underserviced group in banking, but they are also providing new services that will actually impact this group for the better. It’s banking with real purpose.
Pennyworth and the Finance App Ecosystem in the next 3 – 5 years – Whilst it is still very early in Pennyworth’s lifespan, the company no doubt wants to create more personalisation, more rewards and less effort for the affluent market.
‘Our immediate plan sees us launching the app and preparing to become a bank in the UK so that we’ll be both a bank and a financial planning app together. This is a large, addressable market and our 3-5 year plan is to scale to a modest share and then we have the opportunity to expand geographically – this isn’t just a UK problem.’ Goals are universal. Whether you’re young, old, in rainy England or sunny Florida, everybody has a vision they want to achieve in life. The fact that Pennyworth prioritises each individual’s vision for their life will no doubt result in their prolific impact on the financial services scene.