Redesigning personal banking (a podcast)


#1

Thought I’d share this podcast that was published recently.

It was an interview with Aritra Chakravarty, dozens’ Founder and CEO, with some very personal and detailed insights into dozens and our plans for doing things differently.

REDESIGNING PERSONAL BANKING [PODCAST]

http://blog.lseaal.org/redesigning-personal-banking-podcast-dozens

I’d be very interested to know your thoughts


What is the long term plan for Dozens?
Podcast from CEO
#2

Thanks for link to the podcast. I’ll have to set some time aside to listen to it in its entirety, but for now…

When was it recorded?
Why does the CEO say there are c.1100 on the waitlist when it is still around 600?

R-


#3

The circa 600 is a placeholder number in the app download queue which represents the number of people who have downloaded the app and gone through the approval process. Not everyone who has done that was actually in the app ‘waitlist’.

In fact, the full waitlist is the number of people who signed up via the website and it went up a LOT after that and was over 2500 people. These are those who will receive the first activation codes.

Hope that’s clearer :slight_smile:


#4

Thanks Robert. I think I have taken too many dumb tablets today.

In what circumstances would someone get through the approval process and not be on the waitlist?
Am I correct in assuming that if I can see (as posted recently) where I am in the queue that I am on the waitlist?
When was the podcast recorded please?

R-


#5

There’s a waitlist, and there’s a queue

The waitlist opened some months ago with people signing up to be the first to get the chance to access the app at a time there was no app. We appreciate their willingness to trust us with their email This support also helped us to prove to the world that there was a demand for a new kind of account. There are over 2500 of people on this list (and it closes in … minutes)

Once the app was developed and made available for testing, users have been able to download and install it, and even go through the account application process. Once they do this, they are in a queue to get access to the full app. The queue is mainly so we can test everything to ensure that when we let users in, it all works, so we get them to come through the doors in an orderly fashion.

Note: downloading the app does not put you on the waiting list.

We promised to give those on the original waitlist, who have been waiting patiently for months, the first chance to check out the app. So this is what determines the order that the invite codes will be sent out, rather than the order you installed the app.

Does this explain it better?

I believe it was the 18th of November 2018.


#6

Perfect - thank you. I can start taking the tablets again. :grinning:

R-


#7

I have now listened to the podcast in its entirety and as a newbie to the fin tech world I would have to say Aritra comes across as a very pragmatic, grounded and philanthropic individual.

I had never, to my shame, given much thought to the way the U.K. banking world functioned and it was enlightening to hear such a clear insight. I completely appreciate that there is more to it than I have just heard but to have this podcast set out in plain English with an impressive display of the psychology behind saving/investing from the CEO augers well for the product, it’s future - and mine.

Thank you for posting it.

R-


#8

Cross-posting from the Monzo forum, here. I thought that as it’s about Dozens it might be nice to talk about it here, too!

I really enjoyed the podcast. Aritra came over as thoughtful and articulate, and I really enjoyed his different take.

Here are some of the things that stood out for me:

  • Dozens is the first brand under Project Imagine (the company). It’s being deliberately kept separate as they might want to target different demographics/services differently, or provide wholesale services.
  • they are targeting onboarding of the 1100 on the waiting list “early next year” (actually 2019 as the recording seems to have been in late 2018).
  • they have an e-money licence, with a Mifid licence imminent (expected before publication of the podcast). This gives them the necessary licences to launch.
  • they are looking to put the “fin” back in fintech
  • they’ve been running for a year on £5m seed funding. (Arita seemed quietly authoritative and very humble - he kept saying he got lucky)
  • they are looking to bridge the gap between the Monzo and Revoluts of this world and the Nutmeg/Hargreaves
  • the company is 80% women - not by design but attributed to the way they hired (no CVs)
  • the staff make up is 5 finance, 40 tech and 15 other folk
  • focused on the spender to saver to investor journey
  • they need about 100000 customers to break even
  • the 5pc bond will be protected in the short term by Imagine putting 105pc of the amount aside. It’s not scalable in the long term, but important to build trust and confidence in the short term.
  • Not really thinking about AI in the app - making the basics work. Does have a chatbot for help, though.

All in all I was super impressed. My thoughts:

  • I found the potential platform play interesting and reminded me of Starling - but better thought through upfront and nice distinction in branding. (I might be being unfair to Starling here, but I have no equivalent insight from them).
  • I wondered why build a current account type of thing - but I suppose the spending insights only really work - and the journey to cut down spending to start saving then investing - only works if they can see all the component bits.
  • there was no detail, but I was impressed that break even would be at 100k.
  • there was some implied criticism that (and I’m being much more explicit than in the podcast) the likes of Monzo and Revolut were finTECH, rather than FINtech (if that makes sense). Aritra was clear that they were coming at it from a financial perspective, but didn’t seem to be taking low shots at anyone, just exploring an alternative line of attack.
  • I did find myself wondering what he and Tom could cook up if they got on together. Or even if the investment and bonds that Dozens are looking at could end up in Monzo someday.

Edit: big point I forgot. I was left unclear about whether the plan is to become a bank. I wouldn’t use Dozens for salary/spending unless they become properly authorised.


#9

Thanks Peter for your very thoughtful and well researched piece.

To answer your final question, for clarity, yes! We are planning on becoming a bank and we’re already working on this with advisors like KPMG.

We’ve spent the last 6 months building our tech, our app, and also getting multiple FCA licences, so that is our next big goal.

Hope you will join us on the journey :slight_smile:


#10

Great, thanks for the clarity! Very interested in the journey and seeing where you go next. (And also in getting access to the app, naturally! :wink:)


#11

A lot of good information and I agree, a very humble leader!

I think the biggest challenge out of the blocks will be explaining to people what a bond is and how the 5% rate can be maintained. Education is key as a lot of people will not understand and will therefore not buy in as they cannot trust what they do not understand!

Without trying to sound harsh, the quality of the interview was not great or particularly professional. I felt as though the interviewers were out of their depth. Caveat, l do not often listen to podcasts! :sunglasses:


#12

Bear in mind it was hosted by a university alumni association rather than a professional podcast or radio network.


#13

Touche. But it just takes one person to not check the source (guilty) and it comes across as slightly unprofessional. The information is good, but some people might not even give the podcast a chance. Just my 2 cents!

Maybe something more substantial would be worth while if it is going to be widely publicised :sunglasses:


#14

A really interesting podcast and Aritra does come across as very grounded. A few questions if I may @robert

  1. I see you have an E-money licence but have you got your MiFID licence yet as presumably without this you wont be able to offer your bond product in any case? The podcast implied that you would have it by the time it came out.

  2. What does dozens see as its time scale to get a full banking licence?

  3. Aritra mentions that the “products are covered by general FSCS rules” - I just wanted to confirm does he mean FSCS ( Financial Services Compensation Scheme) protection? - i.e. £85k protection guaranteed by the government as you are not currently on the FSCS protected website yet. Or are you trying to get around this problem by putting aside the necessary money in the trust?

  4. He mentioned that the bond will be ISA eligible - do you envisage that this would be the case in this tax year?

  5. Finally, have quite a few questions about the actual bond it self but will hold off until the blog post is released which will probably tell us more.

Thanks
Kevin


#15

great questions - I will answer as best I can

Yes. We have got our MIFID licence. We are authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority as an e-money institution (FRN 900894) and also as an investment firm (FRN 814281).

I can say that we are working on this. However, there are so many steps involved that I cannot say when and would hate to speculate. We’re really focused on the launch for the time being, but I’m sure this will come up more in the near future.

  • Our e-money current accounts do not require this, as you will know.
  • Money you put into dozens cash savings for the purpose of investment is held in a client money account with Bank of Scotland (part of the Lloyds Banking Group), and is therefore protected under the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS)
  • In addition to the money put in trust by dozens, bonds will be protected by FSCS up to the value of £50,000 against any misselling or dozens default

Yes! ISA options should be available at the same time as we offer the bonds, and therefore within this tax year.

thanks :slight_smile:


#16

Out of interest will there be an option for LISA transfer? Current offerings are particularly poor outside of stocks and shares (granted you get 25% from government):sunglasses:


#17

Our first goal is to ensure that users can sign up for new ISAs since this is most time-critical as the deadline is approaching.

It will certainly be possible to transfer ISAs into your dozens account, but we are still working on that full implementation, and testing it of course, but the timing pressure on that is less acute.