Bridgeweave uses AI to provide institutional-quality investment information and ideas to investors, their advisors and asset managers. Its flagship product InvestorAi helps everyday investors make smarter investment decisions based on AI-powered predictive insights and is currently available to investors in the UK and India.
Akshaya Bhargava, founder and executive chairman of Bridgeweave, was formerly Global CEO Wealth and Investment Management for Barclays.
What has been the traditional company response to financial technology innovations nationally?
I see 4 mega eco systems developing in the world, including the UK. One is around lending, one around payments, one around digital banking and finally, one around wealth and investments.
Bridgeweave operates in the wealth and investments segment and this segment has seen tremendous innovation by way of robo advisors, on-line trading platforms and a whole range of new fintech services.
How has this changed over the past few years?
The single biggest trend that was accelerated by lockdown was the explosion in retail investing around the world. US saw 10 million new investors, UK saw around 4 million new investors and India saw 18 million new investors enter equity markets. This is an extraordinary trend that I believe will impact the entire industry going forward because serving these digital, demanding and DIY investors requires a completely new model.
Is there anything that has created a culture of change inside the company?
Our focus on the self-directed investor and our desire to build something that immediately appeals to these investors has led us to InvestorAi, our flagship product that gives very high-quality investment insights and ideas to the retail investor. This is a completely new product in the market and we have learnt an incredible amount and we are constantly making changes and upgrading our app. Constant communication with the customer, constant search for ways to do things better and constant upgrades to the app have created a very strong culture of change in the company.
What fintech ideas have been implemented?
We have implemented many new ideas – some are around the core algorithms that underlie InvestorAi; some are around usability and understanding; some are around distribution and communication and some are around reaching the customer.
One example is our weekly webinars that we started in order to explain the app to our users. Over the last 6 months, our webinars have grown in popularity and are used not just to explain the app but to get user feedback for new products and educate our users about the market and investment process.
What benefits have these brought?
These ideas have brought a lot of benefit to us in terms of helping us win new customers, creating greater engagement and helping us innovate for new products. One product that came out of this process is our FtM (Follow the Machine) portfolios.
These portfolios were designed based on requests from our customers to save them the headache of deciding when to buy and when to sell. We launchedWe have launched our first FtM Portfolios in India in August and this will also be available in the UK in the near future.be followed by launch in UK.
Do you see any other industry challenges on the horizon?
The main challenge at an industry level is that the industry is not ready to deal with the avalanche of digital customers that is coming. These customers do not want advice or want to pay large fees. They do not trust institutions. They prefer digital self-service and organic discovery.
This means that the traditional wealth management model is not going to work for this segment of customers. This problem will become more acute as this segment grows in scale and control over wealth portfolios.
Can these challenges be aided by fintech?
These challenges can ONLY be handled by fintech solutions because without technology, it is not possible to come up with solutions at scale.