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moneybrilliant.com.au

Stage

Acquired | Acquired

Total Raised

$1.08M

About MoneyBrilliant

MoneyBrilliant, fka Cha-Ching, is a virtual financial assistance startup that has developed a platform to help users organize their finances.On December 7th, 2021, MoneyBrilliant was acquired by Westpac Group. The terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

MoneyBrilliant Headquarter Location

Sydney, New South Wales, 2000,

Australia

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Expert Collections containing MoneyBrilliant

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Latest MoneyBrilliant News

What Westpac’s AMP fintech deal says about the post-Hayne world

Dec 12, 2021

The small transaction for personal finance app MoneyBrilliant speaks volumes about how institutions are handling the pressure to simplify business models. Share With corporate Australia in the midst of a record deals boom – and lawyers tipping another bumper year for mergers and acquisitions in 2022 – Westpac’s purchase of MoneyBrilliant from AMP last week is hardly earth-shattering. Indeed, the transaction was deemed immaterial to the bottom lines of both financial institutions. But the modest (and undisclosed) sum likely paid for the personal finance management (PFM) app belies the broader significance of the handshake for both parties, as they each reshape their businesses to better meet “community expectations” – that nebulous catch-cry of the Hayne royal commission. Former AMP boss Francesco De Ferrari listed MoneyBrilliant as an asset. Peter Braig For AMP, the offloading of MoneyBrilliant by new chief executive Alexis George is noteworthy given the premium placed on the app by her predecessors. In January last year, former AMP Australia chief Alex Wade pointed to MoneyBrilliant, when asked for examples to justify the wealth manager’s claim it was pursuing a fintech-enabled future and prioritising the digital experience of its customers. His boss and fellow Credit Suisse alumnus, former AMP group CEO Francesco De Ferrari, also singled out the PFM tool – which AMP acquired in 2016 – when outlining his own vision to transform the company in September 2019 . Mr De Ferrari also hoped to expand the kinds of budgeting and cashflow management services provided by MoneyBrilliant to more complex forms of digital investment advice. Advertisement AMP was eager to emphasise that the sale of MoneyBrilliant should not be seen as a sign its commitment to digitisation was slipping, issuing a statement attributed to the chief executive. “Technology is a key enabler of AMP’s strategy, and we will focus investment in the areas where we see the greatest opportunities for growth,” Ms George told this column. The appointment of former AustralianSuper tech boss Felicia Trewin as AMP’s chief technology officer – announced this month, with the new recruit scheduled to start in March next year – and elevation of the CTO role to the executive committee is evidence that AMP won’t be a luddite under her tenure, the CEO added. She is still bullish on fintech, she said, and has plans to launch digital mortgages and invest in its financial-adviser-facing wealth tech platform North. Moreover, an AMP spokesman made clear that customers would still have access to MoneyBrilliant’s features via MyAMP app. “AMP does not need to own the technology to deliver these services,” the spokesman said. “It’s more beneficial for AMP to realise value for MoneyBrilliant and then partner with a high-quality provider to deliver the technology in the future.” Advertisement Nonetheless, some observers say the move to be a tech partner rather than proprietor is a big shift in mentality. “It is difficult to reconcile with their previously articulated digital vision,” says Vince Scully, a fintech entrepreneur and founder of online financial adviser LifeSherpa. “But I guess they need to focus on [other priorities],” he adds, listing repairing relationships with the regulator and stakeholders as likely agenda items. Ms George herself told the Financial Review last month that digital financial advice, for example, was not on the first page of her to-do list, breaking with her predecessors who seemed to suggest this new business model might be key to the company’s prospects. She will focus on improving the existing business instead, she said, especially the promising but small AMP Bank. Venture days over It’s a very different strategy from the one deployed at AMP just five years ago, when the company’s now-defunct venture capital arm purchased MoneyBrilliant alongside other fintech start-ups. Having played a role in helping to shave off about 80 per cent of AMP’s market value, the royal commission meant that there was little spare capital to indulge in non-core experiments. Advertisement But the damning inquiry also spawned an industry-wide expectation that the nation’s sprawling financial behemoths slim down. In November, Ms George – a former ANZ deputy CEO tasked with offloading that bank’s unwanted wealth management arms – told investors the simplification project was not finished. As well as executing the demerger from the private markets division of AMP Capital next year, AMP will “continue to review [its] portfolio of assets to ensure AMP is the right owner”. While MoneyBrilliant did not get a mention in AMP’s 110-page investor briefing document, it seems it was another casualty of that review. Meanwhile, a few blocks away at Westpac’s Kent Street headquarters in Sydney’s CBD, the decision to become an owner of the offloaded app was just as telling. Advertisement As another key victim of Hayne, Australia’s oldest bank has been under similar pressure to simplify its business – and perhaps even more so, given the provision of wealth management and insurance products was seen as a dangerous deviation from the bank’s core lending and deposit-taking functions. Westpac’s 2020 annual report was titled “Fix, simplify, perform”. It was among the first of the big banks to begin dismantling its wealth assets, selling or closing all of its financial planning subsidiaries in March 2019 in response to the simplification mantra. But it is the last of the banks to exit the sector completely, with its wealth technology platforms and under-performing superannuation funds still being operated by the bank currently in what is known as the “specialist businesses division”. Wealth exit lingering Jason Yetton, the executive in charge of that division, told The Australian Financial Review this month that it was still very much Westpac’s intention to sell those remaining wealth assets, especially the storied Panorama platform. But the fact that the bank is willing to purchase a new piece of technology that diversifies the services it provides to customers – before it has even completed the wealth exit, unlike its competitors, suggest it is not quite facing the same pressure to simplify as troubled AMP. Advertisement “The acquisition of MoneyBrilliant is part of Westpac’s consumer digital banking strategy,” said a Westpac spokeswoman. “The technology will be used to primarily assist our customers with their banking, budgeting and cashflow.” The clear and important implication is that MoneyBrilliant is not wealth management. While that may be technically accurate – in that it does not give financial advice or recommend investment products – it is only a whisker away. The app allows consumers to see all of their assets and liabilities in one place – including not just savings and loans, but “investments and superannuation”. It even has a dedicated portal for professional financial advisers, giving them access to the financial behaviour metrics of their clients. For some, the acquisition is therefore an obvious stepping stone to other new revenue streams. “Westpac acquiring MoneyBrilliant is evidence that the banks are starting to more aggressively consider how to step back into the wealth arena in a digitally led manner,” says Pat Garrett, a former JPMorgan executive and co-CEO of online investment adviser Six Park. Advertisement “We never thought the banks were permanently exiting wealth, but rather stepping back, reassessing a more prudent approach, and returning to the wealth arena in a more sensible way.” Caleb Gibbons, founder of fintech administrator Cache, agrees. “This announcement fits the broader trend away from traditional, complex and conflicted wealth advisory models towards smaller, simpler and mobile-first wealth management offerings,” he says. “Westpac isn’t the first and won’t be the last major Australian bank to move towards more innovative products in this space.” While making clear that MoneyBrilliant will be housed within the consumer-facing retail bank, rather than BT or elsewhere in the business, the Westpac spokeswoman equally did not shy away from the idea that more add-ons may come down the track. “We will continue to build tech-based solutions to help our customers manage their money,” she said. That may be of benefit to the bank’s shareholders and customers. But it certainly can’t be considered “simplification”. Aleks Vickovich is the wealth editor. He writes about financial advice, funds management, superannuation and banking, with a special interest in the next generation of investors. Connect with Aleks on Twitter . Email Aleks at aleks.vickovich@afr.com Save

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  • Where is MoneyBrilliant's headquarters?

    MoneyBrilliant's headquarters is located at Sydney.

  • What is MoneyBrilliant's latest funding round?

    MoneyBrilliant's latest funding round is Acquired.

  • How much did MoneyBrilliant raise?

    MoneyBrilliant raised a total of $1.08M.

  • Who are the investors of MoneyBrilliant?

    Investors of MoneyBrilliant include Westpac Group, AMP New Ventures and AMP Financial Services.

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