The Moola founder – a Commissioner on our Vibrant Economy Commission – hopes the demand for change that drove Brexit also drives people to deliver a successful outcome.
Confidence in the financial services sector never quite recovered from the global crisis that caused a recession in the UK nearly 10 years ago.
Gemma Godfrey, founder of Moola (moo.la), wants to address the problem head on. People are still reluctant to invest their hard-earned cash, yet experts warn not enough money is being saved for later life. Moola is billed as a transparent, easy-access low-cost investment service. Investors can start with a pot of £50. Customers can also receive money tips free of charge and financial wellbeing sessions via their employer to help them make informed choices.
‘The financial services industry is at a crossroads,’ says Godfrey. ‘Both the downturn and the EU referendum highlighted weaknesses in how we’ve traditionally treated people and their money. However, this also offered a wake-up call to make well overdue changes.
‘The financial crisis damaged people’s faith in the old model of handing over your money to someone and trusting they would do their best, without much transparency, control or input into what they were doing.’
The guided approach to investing is an important part of the service. Godfrey claims it’s getting easier to manage your own money thanks to consumer-grade services such as Moola and the growing body of information that helps people to get started.
Changes in financial services are also being fuelled by the UK’s preparations to leave the European Union. It’s not known how many jobs might move to EU member states, nor do we know whether restrictions on workers travelling in the opposite direction will provide an extra challenge for employers.
Godfrey believes it’s an opportunity for UK businesses in the sector, which will now need to focus on recruitment and retention plans, potentially changing working conditions and benefits packages to correspond with the career aspirations of younger generations.
She says: ‘Traditional employee benefits are no longer differentiators. Moreover, behaviours are changing. Younger generations, including the sought-after digital natives, want services that are lifestyle-focused. They want easy to access, flexible benefits that relate to the way they’d like to live their lives.’
While UK financial services are arguably at the sharp end of Brexit, Godfrey sees a chance to revolutionise the way the industry operates and serves its customers. But organisations need to act now in order to be ready for when the UK finally splits from the EU.
‘My hope is that the demand for change, which drove the Brexit vote, also drives people and organisations to work together to deliver what’s needed,’ she says.
‘I hope it serves as a catalyst to empower people with the tools to improve their lives and create a more vibrant economy.
‘Of course, my fear therefore would be if we see the opposite, and further divide. However, I have an unwavering belief that in the UK we turn times of trouble into a rallying cry for action for good.’
Connect with Gemma online @GCGodfrey
> Read more on Dynamic Markets – Business as usual despite Brexit