Aviva is set to acquire a majority stake in robo-investment service Wealthify.
While it does not give regulated advice, Wealthify offers Isas and general investment accounts that invest in the five model portfolios it manages.
Aviva wants to make these available through its digital hub MyAviva. Subject to regulatory approval, purchasing 18-month-old start-up Wealthify leads Aviva down a similar road to competitors like LV, which owns a majority stake in Wealth Wizards, BlackRock, which owns FutureAdvisor, and Allianz, which has a stake in MoneyFarm.
Aviva UK digital managing director Blair Turnbull says: “This is another important step in Aviva’s digital strategy. It underlines our commitment to invest in and partner with leading digital businesses, allowing our customers to benefit from new technology and making insurance and investments simpler, easier and more convenient.”
The financial value and exact size of Aviva’s majority stake has not been disclosed but a spokesman told us: “It is a significant investment and importantly, gives us access to Aviva’s millions of UK customers which will help us to reach the mass market we’re aiming for.”
The transaction remains subject to regulatory approval at this stage.
Aviva says the investment is part of its strategy to build customer loyalty via a range of services that can be accessed by its MyAviva customer portal, while also seeing opportunity to grow Wealthify’s business via exposure to the Aviva customer base.
Aviva claims 33 million customers for its life insurance, general insurance, health insurance and asset management services, across 16 markets.
Wealthify targets millennials and those new to investment by providing “a simple, easy to use and low fee digital investment service” — investing the money on behalf of its users, starting from a minimum of a £1 investment, and offering five diversified investment plans through ISAs and general investment accounts.
Wealthify chief executive Richard Theo says Aviva’s investment will be used to speed up its growth plans, but also to improve its technology.