April 29, 2021

Danish startup raises millions from prominent business leaders to build infrastructure for cheaper independent asset management

In the CEO's chair at just 1-year-old Performativ, CEO Albert Geisler Fox is excited about the future. He has just brought on board a string of prominent investors, all of whom are buying into the idea that the market for investment advice to wealthy private clients is slowly crumbling for the big banks and financial powerhouses and will in the future increasingly be handled by independent advisors.

Albert Geisler Fox, together with co-founder Peter Barry and their team, has developed an investment platform that helps smaller, independent investment advisors keep track of many portfolios at the same time while giving clients insight into their portfolios. Since modern advisors operate with different banks as well as investments in alternatives (such as private equity, real estate, etc.) it is important to gather the data and display it aggregated, says Albert Fox, who elaborates that this exists for large and very small players:

"Customers will then have access to an online overview that summarises their entire finances across asset classes, banks and liquidity types. At the same time, the advisors get access to this information on an aggregated basis - and can receive alerts when different scenarios occur. When the client also trades equities themselves, these trades should of course also be included in the aggregated asset allocation. There are solutions for larger asset managers and solutions for larger investors - but between the two, there hasn't really been a full-service product that could solve the problems well enough before." says Albert Fox.

The investors, which include Jesper Kirstein (Kirstein), Jørgen Horwitz (former Director of the Danish Finance Council), Line Christa Sørensen (Trifork, Nordic Fintech Angels), Henrik Larsen (Maersk), Jesper Illum (SAP), the Innovation Fund and VF Venture, have injected DKK 4.5 million into the company, and Performativ is now flying with its first board of directors with Jesper Kirstein at the helm:

"The younger generation of private wealth clients will increasingly demand, among other things, digital reporting. It will not be, as now, an add-on or an extra service. On the contrary, I think it will become an imperative demand from clients to be able to access their aggregated, personal investment overview online, real-time. I think this product has been missing for several years - and therefore I was very interested in investing when I got the opportunity' says Jesper Kirstein.

In Denmark there are currently about 120 regulated fund brokerage companies and investment advisors. A report by EY identifies independent advisors as one of the largest growth markets in wealth management, and Albert Geisler Fox also believes that the number of advisors will double in the future:

'When private clients realise how good the service can be from independent providers, I think we will more players arriving to the scene. Unlike the banks, there are not necessarily absolute economics of scale in providing investment advice."

Albert and Peter, former finance professionals at Kirstein A/S and Goldman Sachs respectively, found last year that there was no proper IT tool for independent investment advisors in the Nordics. Albert hopes that the tool can solve a wide array of problems for investment advisors, so it can become profitable for even smaller retail clients to get independent expert advice:

"We help tell the story of how things are going, but our ultimate focus is to assist the adviser with multiple facets of operational tasks. Our key KPI is how much time we save the advisors from. Every time we can automate a task for them, the real cost for the advisor goes down while the value of our solution goes up."

Albert Fox also has ambitions for the investment platform to be attractive beyond its borders. The plan is to use the investment to gain a foothold in Denmark and then go after the world market. The rest of Europe, according to Albert Fox, is a highly attractive market - and is the company's next destination. This is also what the company's board member Line Christa Sørensen believes is a good opportunity:

"In both UK and DACH, the use of independent advisors is a much more common way of investing. I believe that Performativ's product can become a success story of Danish innovation that catches on in the rest of the world. With a product built for picky Danish institutions that can later be turned into a product for the rest of the world , I predict a bright future for Performativ" says Line Christa Sørensen, who lives in Switzerland and is also co-founder of Nordic Fintech Angels.

Performativ is part of Copenhagen Fintech. The company has offices at Copenhagen Fintech Lab and in London.