Breaking down the barriers to ownership: How WiseAlpha built an open bond marketplace

5 mins. to read
Breaking down the barriers to ownership: How WiseAlpha built an open bond marketplace

Rezaah Ahmad, CEO of WiseAlpha, gives the inside track on how his company is driving down barriers to ownership with a fair and affordable access point to a superior asset class.

WiseAlpha is one of the UK’s first digital bond markets and is working at speed and scale to create a truly affordable point of access to a superior yet often misunderstood asset class. 

Historically, corporate bonds have been the preserve of the privileged with six figures to invest, meaning individual investors are too often shut off from accessing superior returns. Corporate bonds have also not enjoyed wide public understanding and have frequently flown under the radar or been overlooked in favour of more mainstream investment opportunities. 

WiseAlpha was born out of the critical need to turn the tide on these barriers with a digital offering equipped to engage with the mass market and democratise access to a product that had previously been unavailable.

The company’s mission is to harness the power of fintech to bring digital disruption to a centuries-old marketplace with an offering that finally makes bond ownership accessible and affordable. Corporate bonds represent the last major financial marketplace to undergo transformation through fintech innovation that is finally putting the wheels of democratisation into motion. 

Here WiseAlpha Founder and CEO Rezaah Ahmad gives the inside track on how WiseAlpha is driving down barriers to ownership with a fair and affordable access point to a superior asset class.

A unique offering

WiseAlpha’s online investment platform makes corporate bonds available to private qualified investors at affordable sizes, via fractional bonds, for the first time ever. We are a young company and at enormous speed we have facilitated over £40 million of investment from individual investors benefiting from the opportunity to self-direct their investments. This first of its kind offer has given investors the chance to take control of their own portfolio while cutting out advisory fees.   

Digital transformation – scaling up 

We have a unique offering so it’s vital for WiseAlpha to be at the forefront of tech powered solutions that help deliver investor confidence. We are constantly ramping up every part of our online platform offering new UX features designed to give our community confident oversight of their investments and decision-making practice. As well as innovating our offering we’re ambitious about scaling and take the next step into the mainstream through new developments and strategic partnerships. 

This year we made our service available through personal finance app Money Dashboard, allowing users to keep track of their investments alongside all other financial accounts in one handy money management service. The new app integration marked the first time fractional bonds have been brought into any digital money managing app.

Alongside this all-in-one money management integration, it was time to set the stage for growth with a revitalised digital platform. In the belief that great UX and simplicity drive our customers’ trust, we set about redeveloping our platform. Given the unique offering of fractional bonds to private investors, it seemed paramount to relaunch our platform with advanced functionality, faster and improved navigation and an enhanced user-friendly experience. 

Overall, the new configuration streamlines the investment interface, creating a contemporary, attractive and easy to understand layout that empowers our members to easily take charge of their investments and feel in control of their money. 

Making our platform useful and accessible is critical in ensuring that our business is scalable across the globe. This new update means there are now even more tools to help users of all experiences find the right investment for them within minutes. At the heart of our growth strategy is anticipating our clients’ needs and working out how we can serve them effectively through fintech solutions. This is why we are constantly integrating new features and working to innovate our offering as we work towards becoming a truly global bond marketplace. 

Our tech-driven approach helps us boost access but it’s our offering that makes our customers stay. Now for the first time we’ve become the first platform to make green bonds available to trade online. This addition follows an intense increase in investor appetite for environmentally conscious products. After harnessing the power of fintech to crack open the once restricted corporate bonds universe, it was then necessary to keep raising the bar, with an offering that steps up to fast-evolving client expectations. 

Levelling the playing field – building awareness through our Bond Academy  

We were confident that we had a world-class offer for customers but recognised the importance of building trust and making personal connections that could support our customers’ personal investment journeys. 

This thinking motivated us to launch our Bond Academy, a free online educational resource that gives everyday investors an opportunity to expand their knowledge of a superior asset class, through the use of innovative online tutorials, podcasts, and blog posts. Lockdown saw a new wave of people acting on the desire to upskill, and many took the opportunity to learn about the world of corporate bonds through the free Bond Academy, spearheaded by industry experts. 

The resource is made up of easy-to-follow modules, which work their way up the intricate ladder of bond knowledge. It is a free to use CPD accredited online resource with all the need-to-know information about the ins and outs of corporate bonds. Unit one teaches the basics of bonds and how they differ from equities. Unit two then looks towards the types of bonds and their relationship to the market. Once these Units are successfully completed, Unit three offers a more practical edge, teaching how investors can assess the quality of a company and its commercial viability. Both experienced investors, and those who are slightly more uncertain, are keen to expand their knowledge and empower themselves to manage their own portfolios with confidence – the Bond Academy has made this entirely possible. 

To build on the Academy’s reach we launched a podcast which breaks down the Bond Academy step by step, with weekly tips focusing on each subsection of the online course. Available via Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts and Spotify, each episode features tips, chat, and insights from WiseAlpha’s team. Overall, the series aims to empower investors, guiding them step by step through the A-Z of the Corporate Bonds market and the Bond Academy. 

Bond academy

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