Five Minutes With: Our co-founder and CTO, André Costa

Get to know the men – and women – in the Advicefront machine (top marks if you spotted the Apple reference there – not that we’re drawing comparisons 😇) with these five quickfire questions: 

Tell us a secret… 

Basically, I was in a kids’ band when I was younger. My friends still make fun of it, but I don’t regret it – I’m not telling you the name of the band though, haha! 

What’s the best thing about being a founder? 

I’m gonna have to say the cliché, which is the challenge, navigating the path that we need to take, to deliver what the market needs. The people we get to meet and all of the conversations we get to have that give us feedback and insights into the market, also help us as we try to work on solutions. 

Similarly, what’s the best thing about being a CTO? 

The answer to this is like a follow-up to the best thing about being a founder. The best thing about being a CTO is working on the tech and thinking about the details of how we are going to build and deliver the solution the market needs and also trying to stay ahead of the market. It’s finding solutions that work today and will bring even more value in the future and keeping a balance between these two factors – practicality and innovation. 

It’s also thinking about the best way to make things go really fast and similarly, working on the challenge to integrate with other systems by collaborating with multiple partners. 

Following the latest regulatory news from the FCA contributes to us making sure the product works for the market and it’s not just about what we want it to be. 

What’s your favourite place in the world?

This one might be another cliché, but it’s actually not about the place, it’s really about the people I’m with, so as long as I’m with my family or friends – friends that I consider my family, so very close friends, – as long as I’m with them, I’m happy and that’s my ‘place’. We could be in a rented villa close to the beach in Portugal, or someone’s place…For example, a friend of mine just had a baby, so every time I’m at that place with that baby, that’s where I belong – that’s my favourite place.  

What will advicetech look like in five years time?

I can talk about this subject a lot! There’s so much change happening right now. 

We are going to see a lot of automation but we are also going to see the role of the adviser still there, the paraplanner, the admins – everyone that works in an advice firm will be there, but their entire system will help them to be more productive and more efficient. They will focus more on the relationship with the clients, so advicetech is going to be there at every single stage of the process, from engaging with the clients in the early stages, to following-up with and sending alerts to the clients. This will mean that advisers begin to understand more about behaviours and will collect valuable insights. It may not happen in five years’ time, maybe it will take a bit more time, but it will happen. 

Maybe we will see some other changes, like tech that works directly with the advisers, so the adviser becomes more of a coach, a lifestyle planner and the tech will help them to invest more time with clients. 

We’re going to see that a lot of the tools will talk to eachother and there’s this concept that I really love, which is having ‘one single source of truth’. This means that all information is retained by the clients – the information actually belongs to the clients (even the fact find, as well as detail on pensions and investments), so if they want to change from one adviser to another,  there’s no need for letters of authority or anything like that. 

There aren’t going to be any more wet signatures and not so much paper – I hope that in five years every single system will just accept everything and it will all be digital! No more paper and that will make the entire process a lot more seamless and faster so when a client opens new accounts or invests, it will just be a matter of days, not weeks and months and a matter of getting information will just mean that clients need to click on a button. 

Overall, I think it will be five years of interesting development, plus a few more years of making everything work as it’s supposed to. 

Get to know the secret lives of financial planners, by reading about their extraordinary hobbies and private lives, in our Why I… series


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