#AskAC - should we start a new series answering your questions?


#1

It seems that the podcast with our @AC, dozens’ CEO, that we shared a couple of weeks ago was rather popular and answered a lot of questions. The level of debate after that, not just here but elsewhere, was great to see.

Of course there were also more questions from users on many other sites, and while we try to answer all those we can, it is hard to answer them all in the space provided (e.g. twitter)

So, as it was Friday afternoon, I grabbed AC & Gemma Steel (our General Counsel) to answer a couple of the queries that have been posted about dozens in the last few days on Reddit, MoneySavingExpert, and here.

This wasn’t my most polished performance (sorry! should have prepared my intro better) as we just grabbed a camera and started filming, but we really enjoyed this chat so we plan on making this a regular event - if you like it!?

One of the key issues we wanted to highlight in this session, was to bring more clarity and detail to the differences between our SAVE products (which include the 5% fixed interest bond) and INVEST opportunities that will be coming soon, and will be limited to those to whom their risk profile is appropriate.

Unfortunately there is so much to say, and detail to get across, that short community posts here and elsewhere may not be enough, so both AC & Gemma go into a lot more detail here.

If you have any questions about anything to do with dozens, share them with us here and hopefully we can feature them next time.


#2

Great idea Robert.

Have you ever seen the Nutmeg monthly updates with Shaun and the team members?

See: https://youtu.be/nUEqbsht0Oo

Whilst they are a little over scripted and somewhat wooden the format is quite professional and they still manage to come across as a passionate, knowledgeable bunch! They use a different interviewer most months so you get to meet more of the team.

I think a more relaxed, less scripted version of this weekly/fortnightly/monthly would be an amazing addition.

(Also ticks the video content SEO box!).


#3

If you do video please consider transcripts for the visually impaired.


#4

Yup - transcripts are being done now.

We are testing a couple of solutions but not sure how good they are with more technical terms in fintech, but totally agree that this is useful and important. Do you have any experience of services you can recommend?


#5

Sorry, no. I’ve seen some done badly and at one point started looking at how these are done but didn’t get very far.


#6

A big thank you to @AC, Gemma and @Robert for this - that was a fascinating watch!

Some thoughts:

  • I think I understand much more now about them being FINtech as opposed to finTECH. It seems their focus is thinking inventively - and in a human way - about how to democratise some of the complicated financial mechanisms that are out there for folk with a lot of money, but in a way that is risk-based and focused on the user. This complements nicely some of the more tech orientated fintechs that are focused on fixing a specific problem.
  • I thought it started a little defensively - but by the end I understood why. I think I was more interested in that I hadn’t picked up on such a level of negativity from parts of the internet - which is a massive shame. For me, I think we’ll only be able to properly evaluate the product when it’s launched, so I’m looking forward to that.
  • The attempts to disambiguate the different bonds both cleared things up and confused me. I thought that - in summary - you were saying the 5% savings products isn’t a bond (AC saying that he could have spent the money on 5% cash back instead), but then I got confused. I’m clearer that other listed bonds will be available with a level of risk. Am I right in assuming that the 5% savings product is held in a separate account, you’ll separately invest a matched amount in a bond, then use that to fund the interest?
  • I really liked the plea to move on and discuss other elements of the business. I think the reason that the bond has taken all the air is because we can’t really see anything else - so sneak peaks of the real app, and some of the other ‘shelves’ would be super!
  • I was interested in things like ETFs coming down the line. I found myself wondering what the commercial model is for them, given I can buy them with no commission now on Freetrade.
  • On the production itself, it wasn’t perfect, but was kind of ideal for where you are now - a small, scrappy start-up! Iterate and evolve over time, but lots of short and regular updates for now, please!
  • And lovely to put a voice (and moving images) to the name, @Robert!

All in all it made me very excited for the product. @AC, as always, came across as having thought this through exceptionally well. Indeed, I find myself wondering if you’re going to crowdfund - I’d certainly be interested in reading the business plans and potentially investing!


#7

An interesting video and it is very encouraging that the company is willing to engage so readily in answering questions. I do think further videos like this would go a long way in promoting loyalty with customers. Thank you for responding to some of my concerns that I raised on the other thread. I think your blog post did not help because you talked about the 5% bond investing in emerging market corporates which you now say is for a different product. I want to reiterate though that I am supportive of your goals and I want you to succeed and don’t think you are a ponzi scheme!

My thoughts:

  • Regarding the 5% “savings bond” - I agree with @Peter there is still scope to clarify further but hopefully your blog post will do this. Listening to the interview it seems to me, if I understand @AC correctly, the 5% is a savings product which is a loss leader for dozens. It costs them (worst case) £50,000 for a year which I suppose can be taken out of their marketing budget given that this is what will bring most people to the app. In a way, it is very similar to the 5% offered by TSB to their current account holders but they limit it to a maximum of £1500 per customer whereas dozens have gone with the £1 million cumulatively for all their customers.

  • I think though if it had been explained like this, a lot of these questions would not have arisen. I do think dozens made things unnecessarily complicated. For example, why set it up as a bond in the first place? Because it is a bond it would still have to be bought under a S&S ISA and is classified and comes under their investment licence (as Gemma says) rather than a straight forward cash ISA or savings account.

  • I see dozens basically doing the opposite of a 0% credit card. They tease you in with the 5% rate (which is the loss leader) but hope that you will then invest with them once that rate has expired (where they will make money). I think this is a really interesting way to encourage people to try investing.

  • Moving on (as AC asked!) to the investing shelf I find it interesting that dozens won’t let you invest until you have 3 months worth of savings but wasn’t clear to me whether this amount had to be with dozens? If so, it is another thing that is unique to dozens. I don’t know of any other investing platform that asks this.

  • I also thought it interesting that you have a risk tolerance tool - sounds like you have put a lot of effort into this (tinder style risk assessment :smirk: ) This leads me on to the investment options. Do you see yourselves as a no advice platform or a robo-adviser similar to Nutmeg? There is a definite advice gap in the UK and I do think the market is ready for disintermediation.

  • Your fee structure sounds interesting. I look forward to this. I am with a traditional platform and agree that percentage fees regardless of performance can be very frustrating. I was thinking of moving to a flat fee provider but will wait for your fee structure first.

Sorry about the long post! Definitely looking forward to your app and will provide more feedback when the app is actually live!


#8

Thank you for the very informative video. Gemma hit the nail on the head with her comment ‘’ There are an over whelming amount of investment products available’’ Prior to dozens I was looking at using an Investment Platform. I’m eagerly awaiting the launch of the investment products.