GuideVine’s CEO, Raghav Sharma, discusses GuideVine’s mission to help people find the right financial advisor for them, with Bloomberg Advantage’s Carol Massar and Kathleen Hayes. Live from FPA BE 2015 in Boston. This interview was broadcast on September 28th, 2015. [Transcript follows the Soundcloud link]
Bloomberg host: All right everybody, the company calls itself the “Match.com for Investors.” If you are looking for a financial advisor, Guidevine has a way to find the right one for you. Let’s get more on how it all works.
Let’s bring in Guidevine CEO Raghav Sharma. Great to have you here on Bloomberg radio. You are based in New York, correct?
Raghav Sharma, GuideVine CEO: We are.
Bloomberg host: You are here at Boston at the National Financial Planning Association’s annual conference. Talk to us about exactly how Guidevine works?
Raghav: Sure. Match.com is a pretty good analogy. What we do is, our mission is to help consumers and investors find the right financial advisor for them.
So, for everyone who is looking for a financial advisor they can come in, they can go through the matching algorithm, they can talk to some of our consumer concierges, and they watch videos and profiles of advisors that match their needs. Then from there they can decide if they want to connect to that person or not.
Really we want to put the choice in the consumers hands of finding an advisor and choosing one.
Bloomberg host: How is the algorithm work so that you really do make a good fit, a good financial fit for a customer, a client with an advisor?
Raghav: We search on things like the services that are looking, for the assets that they want to put to work, life‑stage, and distance, geography and a lot of different things. Then we give people 10 matches, but we don’t just say, “Bob, Suzy, Amy, and this is where they are.”
We show videos of every one of our advisors, what makes them tick, what it looks like and feels like to be a client of theirs. So that way, that personal connection gets made and if you feel comfortable you reach out as a consumer.
Bloomberg host: So, Raghav, don’t most people want to meet their financial planner in person?
Raghav: That’s true. We find 70 percent of the consumers who come to our site, which is about 2,000 a week, are looking for someone local. We call it the “I want to meet them after the Little League crowd”. And then there is 15 percent who say, “Look as long as the advisor can work over Skype I’m fine with that.”
And then there is people in the middle who really want someone kind of close to them but also still a good fit.
Bloomberg host: Who is your typical consumer?
Raghav: They are 40 to 45, they are married, with children. They are looking for an investor manager. They are looking for someone who can help them with doing things tax efficiently. They are looking for retirement planning.
40 percent of them have over $1 million they are looking to put to work. 2/3rds of them are making over $250K, and they are all over the US.
Bloomberg host: Do you mind me asking, what do they pay you for the service of matching, or is there more service you do later?
Raghav: It’s completely free for the consumer. It’s the 200‑plus advisors that we work with, they pay an annual subscription fee to be on the platform.
Bloomberg host: What is it mean though that you guys now have a deal with Fidelity and you are working with Fidelity? What does that mean? How does it change the service, if at all?
Raghav: We are really pleased to be partnering with an organization that shares our belief on how consumers and investors are going to find financial advisors going forward. It doesn’t change anything for us in terms of our algorithm. You’ll still get the best match for you. What it does is, it’s allowed us to go nationwide much sooner than we might have otherwise.
Bloomberg host: Because you tap the Fidelity network essentially?
Raghav: Exactly. It’s 3,000 firms that we now have the potential to partner with, and these are going to be just great people to add on to the platform for our consumers.
Bloomberg host: So do you match consumers with a planner and that’s all you do? Or do you stay in touch, making sure the relationship goes well, and and making sure they haven’t broke up, [laughs] to continue the match analogy?
Raghav: We have consumer concierges who work with consumers as they are thinking through choosing an advisor, so what questions should you ask. In your matches is there anyone who really specializes in what you are looking for? But then after, that it’s up to the advisor and the consumer.
For advisors we are a digital marketing partner, so we help them not just get access to our user base, but we help them think through what makes them unique, how can they do that and push that out to consumers and across all their platforms.
Bloomberg host: To find out more information they just go to…
Bloomberg host: Got it, going to leave it there. Raghav thank you so much, we appreciate your time today. Raghav Sharma, he is CEO of Guidevine joining us right here on the “Bloomberg Advantage.” This was Bloomberg Radio.