In May, we announced that MTech Capital led Timeline’s £6m Series A financing. Now we would like to share the rationale for our investment.
Timeline is a provider of financial planning software and investment solutions to the independent financial advisor (IFA) community in the UK. The Company’s innovative, seamless software platform streamlines day-to-day workflows of IFAs, leaving them more time to advise clients and grow their businesses. In addition, Timeline offers a selection of basic passive funds at a price point that makes the company a real disruptor. We are excited to be backing a great entrepreneur and team as they transform a large and valuable market.
The UK Wealth Management Industry
There is over £1tn in assets under management in the UK wealth management industry. Despite the venture capital dollars recently directed towards direct-to-consumer robo-advisory platforms, nearly 75% of assets are still managed by IFAs.
An IFA’s typical client is someone in or approaching retirement. Clients generally have c.£250k+ in liquid financial assets held in pensions and private savings and will rely on this for an income through retirement. IFAs work with a client to understand their financial situation, appetite for risk, and long-term financial goals and needs. The IFA will build a cashflow plan based on the client’s projected income and expenses, assets and liabilities, and direct them into appropriate investment products — typically investment funds.
To achieve this, IFAs rely on different software programs beginning with customer onboarding (KYC), modelling the client’s cash flows, and ending with a recommended asset allocation between stocks and bonds. IFAs concentrate on creating a prudent, sustainable financial plan for clients and typically do not want to get involved in the selection of specific securities.
Historically IFAs have had to rely on a variety of stand-alone software packages that each contribute a part of the overall client journey. These products do not integrate with each other and IFAs spend countless hours re-keying client information across systems.
Timeline’s end-to-end SaaS platform
Timeline has developed an end-to-end suite of planning tools that recreates the IFA software stack with a single, integrated solution. Then at the asset allocation stage of the client journey, Timeline’s platform integrates via API with third-party execution and custody platforms. As a result, , a client’s financial plan can be reviewed based on real-time asset values. The software has been developed using over a hundred years of historical market data across different asset classes to deliver a more robust and predictive financial plan for a client. Over 500 IFA firms have already embraced Timeline’s planning offering as a more powerful way to serve their clients.
Timeline’s Passive Investment Products
The company initially came to market with this subscription SaaS product for financial planning only. Then in 2020, Timeline launched Betafolio, a low-cost family of passive funds (also referred to as “model portfolio services” or “MPS”). By including MPS in its customer proposition, an IFA can implement a client’s recommended investment portfolio while remaining within the Timeline ecosystem.
Increasingly, IFAs see financial planning rather than investment selection as their core competency and they are choosing to partner with MPS providers like Betafolio rather than picking funds themselves. Betafolio’s product combines high levels of automation and passive fund management to deliver a product at a market-leading price. Less than two years after launch, Timeline customers have flocked to Betafolio and the company recently crossed £1bn in assets. The success of the Betafolio product range makes Timeline the fastest growing MPS provider in the UK market.
Team that has lived the problem
Like many of the best entrepreneurs, Timeline’s founder and CEO Abraham Okusanya launched the company to solve challenges he had faced during his time as a financial adviser and consultant to asset managers and IFAs. He has assembled a strong team with deep industry expertise from firms such as Cofunds and UBS to tackle the challenge of reinventing the IFA planning and investment experience.
We are excited to be investing alongside leading industry angels like Darren Carter – chairman of Peel Hunt and investor in several successful custody platforms – and existing investor FNZ, a leading global wealth management infrastructure provider.
MTech Capital’s Co-Founder and Partner, Kevin McLoughlin, said: Abraham is an exceptional entrepreneur with extensive experience in the IFA space. He has assembled a team with the skills and experience to deliver scalable technology and investment management solutions to an industry in need of modernisation. Advisers are looking for a single solution rather than having to cobble together various software packages. Abraham is solving a major problem in the IFA market.