Robo evestor is rebranding in a bid to focus more on its online advice offering, while helping potential customers who first need help managing debt.
Launched in April 2017, evestor has two services; discretionary managed non-advised, and an online advice option which is supported by six advisers who provide web-chat and face-to-face meetings where necessary.
It is now splitting its brand in two, with the non-advised investment management side keeping the evestor name, but the online advice option now called OpenMoney.
Speaking with New Model Adviser®, evestor’s chief executive Anthony Morrow (pictured), said the reason for the rebrand was to emphasise the differences between the two services, adding the evestor brand does not portray the online advice service well and this will be the firm’s ‘core focus’.
Following the rebrand, the OpenMoney service will be revamped to include new online functionality targeted at people who may need help managing debt and will have a new website and an app which will provide debt and savings information. The evestor investing side will continue as it is currently is.
Morrow said where the robo firm stands out from its competitors is by ensuring it turns away those customers who can’t afford to invest and the new OpenMoney brand will add to this focus on helping people ‘who haven’t got a lot of money’.
‘We turn away three-quarters [of customer registrations] and that is why we built the service, to help those three-quarters that we are telling don’t invest,’ he said. ‘To help them get the point where they do invest, by giving them help with their debt and help with their savings.’
Plans for 2019
The parent company of evestor, e-vest limited, made an operating loss of £1.4 million for the 12 months to 2017, up from £800,000 for the 16 months to 31 December 2016. Morrow said he expects costs for the next year to more than double because of increased marketing spend on the OpenMoney brand and increasing headcount (currently at 35 people).
‘The first year we built a minimum, viable product. Second year we kicked that out in a live environment and in the third year we consolidated our learnings and figured out the best way to take it forward, which takes us through to the end of 2018.
‘One of the things we learned is that we can’t run this under one brand. But the biggest point we have learned is that almost three-quarters of the people who take advice from us, which is 10,000 people since we launched, only 2,500 of those people have been advised to invest.’
Morrow added in 2019, the firm will also roll-out an at-retirement online advice offering, supported by its own in-house pension/platform wrapper.
These investments will mean the firm will make an estimated £3.5 million loss in 2018, impacted by the costs of new offices. But he is confident the firm will become profitable by 2022.
He added he does not think the firm will need an extra capital raise, with it being currently supported through loans from Morrow and his co-founder Duncan Cameron.