I was chatting with someone last week. Talking about building a new Robo-advisor for them. ‘Surely it is just straightforward. A few screens. Connect to the broker and that’s that.’
And in that one sentence lies all the challenges of WealthTech.
The idea is simple. It’s just a few screens. Connecting to a broker is trivial.
With this perception, many Startups and Financial Institutions set off on the Robo-advisor adventure only to find it is harder than they thought. And they actually have no real idea of what they are building or all the things needed to make it work.
They get six months in and realize they don’t have the right ‘RSP API’. Or they didn’t have the events calendar API configured correctly. Or the retirement goal calculator doesn’t adapt dynamically. If you don’t know what any of these are you should not build a Robo yourself.
Think of it like a car. You don’t need to know how it works to drive it. And I’ll assume you would not set out to build one yourself. (If you could, more props to you). The car feels very simple. Get in. Press the go pedal. It goes. The stop pedal does its thing. That’s that. Under the hood is a phrase for a reason.
What’s under the hood of WealthTech. A lot.
A robo lets you invest. The go pedal. Or stop investing. The stop pedal.
Under the hood are API’s. See here for a picture of them.
Each of them does its thing. Pain-staking epic elf work to make the stop-and-go pedal do their thing.
So next time you are using a Robo-advisor. And it’s seamless and easy to use. Have a think about how many APIs it takes to make it work. And marvel at the magic.
Wealth is digital. And long may it get better.
Founder & CEO