This week our CEO Gonçalo spoke at the UK Business Angel Association Summit in Liverpool about the exciting innovations currently occurring in financial services. For those who weren’t able to make the summit, here’s a summary of the key changes he identified as taking place:

Firstly, we’ve seen a real change in the way people choose to manage their finances, and the general public is becoming more and more comfortable doing this online, rather than going into a physical branch of their bank. Ten years ago, people were very sceptical to shop online; today, it’s become entirely normalised – shopping online is just a way of life. And now, the same evolution is starting to occur in the financial services industry.

The second big change is the increase in transparency. The traditional systems governing financial management have always been incredibly opaque to most people. Who knows what the money in their stocks, shares and ISAs is actually being used for? How many people actually know how much their pension is worth, who is managing it, what is happening with their money, and how much they are paying to the pension fund managers? Apart from those who are getting closer to retirement, hardly anyone will have a decent grasp on the state of their pensions.

This can pose all sorts of issues for individuals and organisations who, for example, want to ensure that they are investing ethically. The Church of England / Wonga controversity is a case in point; last year the Archbishop of Canterbury promised to put payday lenders like Wonga ‘out of business’ without realising that his church’s financial arm had a stake in the firm believed to be close to £100,000.

These days, though, innovation in the financial services is mainly coming out of small, agile companies rather than the large incumbents, such as high street banks, and it’s bringing a huge amount of transparency, shifting the decision-making power to the final consumer. At SyndicateRoom, we are very excited to be able to give our investors the chance to pick and choose a portfolio of investments for themselves, to invest alongside seasoned professional investors, and to avoid fund fees in the process. We welcome the changes that are taking place within the finance industry. The democratisation of investment has truly arrived.