In the early days of fintech — financial technology — there was but one hotbed of activity: Silicon Valley. Today, though, startups and legacy firms can be found in clusters all around the country and all over the world. In Europe especially, companies are rolling out increasingly sophisticated robo-advisor services, one of the hottest products to impact the finance industry in the second decade of the 21st century.
Read on for the most well-known robo-services (officially known as online investment advisors or digital wealth managers) and robo-related fintech companies around the globe.
This U.K.-based robo-advisor Nutmeg focuses on helping clients fulfill a variety of financial goals, including saving for a wedding, retirement or a new house. Its low fees (between 0.45% and .75%) are attractive for investors looking to save by switching from traditional advisors. Founded in 2012, it has £1.5b billion under management and 60,000 clients in the U.K.
Australian robo-advisor Stockspot landed on the scene in 2013. A year later, the firm was named as one of the “50 Best Fintech Innovators” in a report from AWI, KPMG Australia and the Financial Services Council. It prides itself on keeping the barriers to entry low for new investors and providing lots of diversified assets.
Using similar principles to U.S. robo-advisors, Italian firm Moneyfarm advises its largely U.K. and Italian-based clients to invest in ETFs and charges a maximum of 1.1% in annual fees. It was founded in 2011.
German firm OwlHub advises its clients to make small but regular contributions to their robo-advisor accounts. To facilitate this, deposits can be made directly from paychecks, similar to contributions to a 401(k) plan (without the tax advantage, of course).
While many robo-advisors focus on courting clients with small portfolios, Zen Assets does the opposite: It targets investors with large assets who want to pay smaller fees — but still achieve strong results. The U.K. firm’s founders used to manage more than $1 billion in funds for Goldman Sachs.
Budget-focused firm Wealth Horizon attracts buyers with robo advice starting at £12.50, about $18. Its target investor — someone who can’t afford traditional advisors — only needs £1,000 to invest initially.
Vaamo is currently only available for residents of its native Germany, but it has plans to expand in the future. Its design allows investors to see how close they are to reaching their savings or investment goals and how their deposits could appreciate over time.
The Bottom Line
There's obviously a lack of non-European robo-advisors on the list. While they’re out there, they don’t tend to cater to English-speaking clients as much as their European counterparts do.
Financial globalization is allowing investors to connect with professionals from countries and cultures that would have been unreachable just a couple decades ago. With fintech booms happening all over the U.K., Europe and Australia, you might want to consider looking abroad for your wealth-management needs. You may see better service than you’re currently receiving in the States, and it never hurts to get a global perspective on your finances. (For related reading, see: A Guide to Choosing the Best Robo-Advisor.)