Financial wellness start-up eyes next stage for growth

  • By Christine St Anne

Your Financial Wellness (YFW), a Sydney-based data analytics and financial wellness platform, has secured investor backing in a series A funding round and a new advisory board as it positions the business for the next stage of its development.

YFW’s advisory board includes leading management risk expert and Bank of Queensland’s former chief risk officer Peter Deans. 

“With the financial fallout from COVID-19 causing widespread financial stress and distress, YFW is well-placed to support the need for tools to help customers through their banks navigate their way through this difficult period,” Deans said. 

“I believe there is quite a bit of blue sky in also helping banks better understanding their customer portfolios,” he added. 

In fact, across the market, RFi Group data shows that 38 per cent of savings account holders feel they have a somewhat or high level of understanding about banking and finance. 

And according to the data, in the last four years, consumers have become increasingly likely to have a savings goal, from 74 per cent in 2016 to 82 per cent in 2020.

YFW has already forged partnerships with six banks since it began in early 2018. The business is also working with the University of New South Wales (UNSW) to deliver landmark research into the financial wellness of Australians. 

YFW CEO Alex Hassall, echoes Deans views on the critical need for services around financial wellness in the current climate but it also provides banks and financial institutions with the opportunity to better engage with their customers by helping them meet their financial goals. 

The series A funding round will provide the business with further support to improve and grow its platform.

“While capital raising may be difficult in the current challenged market, we are finding a lot of interest in our businesses as financial institutions realize that the importance of to supporting their customers through financial wellness,” Hassall said. 

Based on customer insights into the platform, YWF has developed in-house technology and algorithms that will then provide relevant customized content and learning material for the end user. 

“We want to continue invest in the platform to ensure that we are always ahead in customer insights and data,” Hassall said. 

Australia’s largest lender, the Commonwealth Bank revamped its bank app this year – using its dedicated team of data scientists - with a big focus on delivering financial wellness to its customers. 

Hassall notes that not all financial institutions are as well-resourced to capture the vast data and consumer insights that can effectively be translated into tools to help people manage their finances.

“The big banks have large customer databases and very rich data and also access to the resources to be able to analyse that information.

“The smaller banks including the mutual banks and credit unions don’t have that critical mass,” Hassall said. 

One of the opportunities that we provide is the ability of these financial institutions to have access to good quality benchmark data that can be quickly translated into actionable customer insights without the need for a vast team of data scientists.” 

Hassall is also engaging with industry superannuation funds that are also interested in the opportunity to provide greater financial support to their members.

YFW’s advisory board also includes non-executive director and marketing expert Sonia Casanova and chemical engineer turned-banker James McCusker, 

“We are now hugely energized to take Your Financial Wellness forward under the strategic guidance of our Advisory Board,” Hassall said. 

“Helping to build people’s confidence and alleviate concerns about their financial security amid uncertainty is one of the most important things financial institutions can do right now.”