Wes Hall is founder and chief executive officer of start-up superannuation fund Tomorrow Super, which is expected to launch by the end of the year. Its been a long time coming and Hall tells Industry Moves why he thinks the financial services industry is ripe for disruption.
The main factor in establishing any new business is to identify the problem you are trying to solve, then scope out the potential size of that addressable market. Superannuation hasn't materially changed since the 1980s and it is high time for a fresh approach. It's then about establishing a diverse and core business team and dedicating every waking moment to making the new venture work.
We've been working on this for the best part of five years, but in reality, I'm also tapping into my own 25 years of Australian and international experience and the collective knowledge of our team. There are some interesting insights from the US regarding consumer led wealth management offers that we've also learnt from.
Whilst a knowledge of the competitive landscape is important, knowledge of the customer is just as important. I've lost count of the number of market research groups, friends, family and strangers that I've spoken to about super!
The biggest challenge was bringing the 'bells and whistles' of having a self-managed superannuation fund, but without the administration burdens and high fee headaches. We started with the premise of "if we were designing the best super product on the market, what would we include". We always brought it back to "What do the punters want?". It took a long time and a lot of research to get right, we know the product we're planning on bringing to market fits the bill.
That's an important and under-appreciated component of any offer. It's tricky as many established providers in the industry are reluctant to work with start-ups, however this is where the knowledge, experience and commercial acumen of the team is critical to identify and at times convince others to work with you!
There are many nimble global and specialist technology and administration providers that are able to price their solution on a marginal cost basis. This is why I find the whole being a bigger super fund argument a little curious, it's like saying that having a concentration of power with only four big banks is the best thing for consumers. I think there is a big market for agile players that care about the customer experience.
It's our expectation, all things being equal, and pending regulatory approval, to be in market by the end of calendar year 2021.
It's our vision to provide a low cost, hassle free service. We are transparent and financial adviser friendly. Our mission is to give our customers more of a say in where their money is invested, than other funds. There are three undeniable trends when it comes to investing in Australia: economic activism through ESG (environmental, social, and governance) investing, low cost and the rise of the self-directed investor and TOMORROW is planning to deliver on all three.
I can't say too much about that until our PDS is available, but our fees will be transparent and low cost.
Establishing brand credibility, market validation and trust is essential for all superannuation providers. Some have been at it for a very long time and others, like us, are just getting started. But money talks and people are now more willing than ever to try alternative approaches. We are in the financial services industry - with an emphasis on service. We have to be listening to our customers. The days of a 'set and forget' mentality are over. If you're not performing, your customers will quickly let you know that they expect more.