Personal investment operation Wealthify is enhancing Wales' reputation as one of the best places in the world for digital innovation.
Wealthify are experts in speculating wisely, but basing their bright new investment initiative in Cardiff was one of their easiest decisions during the formative days of a business which now helps thousands of people make more from their money.
Chief Executive Richard Theo - already a highly successful entrepreneur as the head of high-flying Cardiff based comparison group ActiveQuote - co-founded Wealthify in October 2014 with Chief Investment Officer Michelle Pearce, a former Wealth Manager who experienced first-hand the inefficiencies of traditional investing services.
The pair now lead a forward-thinking team of 13 investment specialists, software engineers and fellow sharp minds, priding themselves on doing away with the jargon and big fees and keeping things simple for clients who might find the prospect of investment daunting.
“Lots of people have got their money in savings,” explains Theo. “Interest rates are at an all-time low, so people are earning nothing from those savings.
“We offer people the chance to get involved in investing and get the returns that have usually been the preserve of the elite – but without the hassle and effort.
Shortly after officially launching in April 2016, Wealthify was named as one of Wales’s Digital Dozen – a group of bold companies enhancing the country’s reputation as one of the best places in the world to do digital innovation.
“We love being in Cardiff and Wales,” says Theo, describing the stress-beating approach which helps Wealthify thrive. “We’re a young digital start-up – we wear jeans to work and it feels like the culture of Cardiff is very synergistic with that.
“It offers a better lifestyle. We enjoy a much more relaxed style of life, and that’s part of the values you need to give people if you want to get them to come and join an exciting, ambitious start-up company.
“Wales is a great place to start a business and the decision to locate in Cardiff was definitely strategic. The dedication and hard work ethic of the Welsh workforce is impressive – there’s a real, innate passion for providing good service, and the low operating costs compared to other major UK cities is another obvious advantage.”
Earning a string of industry accolades and being named as ones to watch by Techworld, Wealthify have worked closely with the Welsh Government. They now stand proudly as one of the leading companies behind the capital’s emergence as a leading financial technology centre outside of London.
“We’ve benefited substantially with grant funding – I think the Welsh Government recognises that it needs to support entrepreneurs in exciting new industries,” says Theo.
“They have the potential to be the seeds of future entrepreneurialism in the area. Cardiff is one of the fastest-growing cities in Europe with a great lifestyle and good connections to London – the centre of the UK Financial Services Industry.
“The Welsh Government has created a supportive environment for small businesses in the area which, along with the financial support available, has been of enormous benefit to us in creating a robust business that will create 35 jobs over the next four years and become a household name in the UK.”
Satisfied customers signpost the road to success. In February, Wealthify’s first-year performance results revealed a tasty 28.5 per cent growth for investors joining the company’s aptly-named Adventurous plan, while the team’s returns beat the averages achieved by the likes of Barclays Wealth, JP Morgan and Deutsche Bank.
Theo says their expansion has been bolstered by Cardiff’s position as a centre of excellence for the sector. “You only need look at the previous Digital Dozen participants to see the breadth and scope of the talent and vision of tech entrepreneurs in Wales.
“It’s a strong signal that Wales is a country that will be more than pulling its weight in the sector in the years to come.”