Robo-advice firm Ignition Wealth has made two senior hires ahead of its September 1 launch, building its investment capabilities alongside the online technology. The fintech company, controlled by Mark Fordree and Mike Giles, is the first of its kind to get an AFSL licence.
Mark Clayton has joined from Mercer as head of investment, overseeing governance and chairing the Ignition Wealth investment committee. He was head of financial advice product at Mercer for about five years.
Sally Humphris, an experienced financial services marketer, has also joined as business development manager. She has recently been with the Dawson Partnership as a recruitment executive, where she will continue to work part-time. Clayton also continues to manage his family’s financial planning practice, Clayton Financial Planning.
Fordree, a former broker and fund manager, and Giles, a technology expert in Australia and Silicon Valley, said last week that they were currently in discussions with major research houses to provide an additional investment advisory overlay for clients.
Ignition Wealth already provides white-label, online advice tools to a number of industry super funds.
In Ignition Wealth’s new automated investment solution clients bear no counterparty risk because the company provides a HIN for underlying holdings and has partnerships with Open Markets for broking and Macquarie Bank for cash services.
Fordree says: “We’re not a product manufacturer. We are going to offer a simple product at first, which will be ETF based, with various model portfolios. We have an RFP out for that. We produce a Statement of Advice for clients based on our dynamic asset allocation assessment.” Several institutions are in discussions with a view to white labelling the Ignition Wealth service for their clients.
The company was granted its AFSL in February, the first automated advice firm to get the official nod from ASIC.
Giles says: “The world is becoming investor centric. We always wanted out own AFSL so that we could be in charge of compliance. We have integrated the technology with the advice so that the investor comes first. Accountants and others groups that do not have an AFSL can affiliate with Ignition to address their client’s investment needs..”
Humphris, who is well connected in the retail funds management and stock broking space, says Ignition Wealth brings a lot of wealth management expertise to the equation. “It’s not just a technology company,” she says. “We’re using technology to enhance the advisory experience so clients can get the best outcome in the most efficient and cost-effective fashion.”