At the start of the year, Scalable also began offering advice in the UK but says it has no plans to roll out a similar service to Europe – where the same demand and regulatory position on consolidating investments and pensions doesn’t exist.
In any case, Scalable’s core business is building dynamically risk managed ETFs (exchange traded funds) portfolios, French explained.
The company operates in the UK, Germany, Austria and recently opened up in Switzerland.
Advisers are opportunity
In its journey to £650m ($906m, €740m) in assets under management in two years, Scalable has chiefly partnered with existing players in co-branded ventures with ING in Germany and BlackRock in the UK, which has a minority stake in the business.
French reveals that Scalable’s next expansion will be a white label partnership with a bank, which is still in development.
“Advisers are opportunity for us to talk to the segment they are dealing with,” he says. “Our strategy is not to compete but to partner.”
Scalable’s average client is 45 years old who has placed £35,000 with the digital wealth manager. Advisers generally are serving people approaching retirement with a bigger investment pot.
French estimates that advisers spend 90% of their time processing admin and he believes Scalable has a role in streamlining that work and freeing up advisers to devote more time with clients and prospects.
He believes much of the technological change facing financial planning will ultimately benefit advisers.
For example, the EU’s open banking legislation could enable clients to share all their bank details and ultimately their investment and pension details with a trusted partner which could put advisers in powerful position.
“The question is are they culturally ready for it?” asks French. “When we talk to firms, some see it as an opportunity and others are sceptical but even clients in their mid-60s are demanding the power which technology offers and firms which can’t offer it won’t be around for long.
“We can partner with advisers and when we partner we can create something special.”