Dr. Harald Brock in an interview with GELDANLAGEdigital
Published: 01.07.2022 | By investify
Michael Beutel is the founder of geldanlage-digital.de and supports his readers with articles and tests to keep an eye on the topic of “digital investment”. As part of the interview series “The Heads of the Robo Advisor Industry”, Dr. Harald Brock was on hand to answer questions:
Every story has its origin. What made you decide to work full-time with robo advisors?
Originally, I come from the savings bank family, which is a rather sluggish and in parts not very agile sector. At the latest after my doctorate on the topic of “Shared Value in the Business Model of Financial Service Providers”, it was clear to me that companies must consistently rethink their business models and expand them in a persodigital way: personal, personalised and digital! We are also pursuing this strategy at investify – although we are now much more than a robo advisor. We now have a number of cooperation partners who, thanks to our expertise, have been able to strengthen their own securities distribution and largely dispense with the burdens of back office and regulation.
What is the best thing about your job? What do you like the most?
Every day you see how B2B cooperation partners and our platform develop. Both the number of customers and AuM are growing steadily and we have exciting conversations with great people who have the goal of placing the topic of investment in the middle of society.
What has been a positive highlight and what has been a setback for you on the journey so far?
Even before my time at investify, it was decided not to extend the test phase with the Hamburger Sparkasse – unfortunately, no long-term partnership was formed here. But perhaps it was precisely this point that sparked off many successful cooperations. We work with Triodos, the largest sustainability bank in Europe, and have also been able to gain important experience in this segment with the SozialBank and the Pax-Bank. In addition, the Internationale Bankhaus Bodensee, Sopra Financial Technology or the asset managers Maiestas, ICM InvestmentBank and Valexx also rely on our platform, which we are constantly developing further. In the meantime, a new partner joins our platform almost every month.
What are the things that motivate and inspire you?
My motivation is to move things forward. At investify, I have an optimal environment to offer clients and partners tailor-made solutions. The topic of investing has to interest everyone in times of low interest rates and high inflation – the simpler and more customer-friendly the solutions are, the more people we can help to have a calmer financial future.
How do you continue your education?
I have a strong network in the industry and have many interesting discussions and conversations. So I am close to challenges like digitalisation of processes and regulation that the financial industry is currently facing.
Don’t tell us any financial details, but how do you invest money yourself?
I come directly from investify’s target group – I have a great interest in investing, but simply don’t have the time to permanently check my portfolio and adjust it so that the weighting matches my risk appetite and risk-bearing capacity. And even those who have the time need the knowledge: if time, knowledge or both are not available, one should seek professional support. That’s why I also invest the money with investify. I also participate in exciting companies as an investor. The decisive factor for me is a good mix that cushions the risk.
Issues such as low interest rates and high inflation will mean that everyone who wants to make something out of their money will have to look at alternatives to savings accounts and overnight or fixed-term deposits.
Dr Harald Brock
Managing Director, investify TECH
What is your recipe for success for the client?
With investify, investors get a portfolio that fits their risk preferences and experience. However, you are not pigeonholed, but can optionally customise your portfolio with more than 20 investment themes such as robotics, blockchain or future energy.
Where do you see the biggest challenges in the digitalisation of investment?
Not least due to the corona pandemic, many financial service providers have made some steps in the right direction. The key question for banks, insurers or asset managers is: make or buy. In other words, do I build the solution myself or do I buy it? We notice in the industry that even big players have realised that it can be more efficient and also cheaper to bring external support on board in order to have the best possible success.
What do you think the future of the robo advisor market looks like?
At the beginning, the expectations were immense, if not even exaggerated. For this reason, there were voices that the topic of digital asset management could not live up to the hype. However, current studies show that the market will continue to grow and that younger investors in particular can very well imagine a robo advisor for investing.
How can we succeed in making more people in Germany aware of robo advisors?
There is definitely interest in investing money, although the current uncertainty on the markets is causing some people to have doubts. Issues such as low interest rates and high inflation will mean that everyone who wants to make something out of their money will have to look at alternatives to savings accounts and overnight or fixed-term deposits. All those who do not do so will lose money every day that they have worked hard to earn – here, too, the gap will widen. All robo-advisors need to work on gaining people’s trust. This includes simple and understandable products and data security.
Thank you very much for this interview and your time. What would you like to leave our readers with in closing?
Take care of your finances. If you need support, seek professional help. Inaction out of ignorance or laziness will lead to your money being devalued and you will be able to afford less and less. John D. Rockefeller is credited with the following quote: “It is better to think about your money one day a month than to work a whole month for it.” Investing today is no longer complicated or time-consuming – so get going!
The interview first appeared in GELDANLAGEdigital at https://geldanlage-digital.de/robo-advisor/investify/interview/
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