Until recently, investment banking was exclusively the domain of the super-rich. Only the have-yachts could afford a bullish hedge fund manager, beavering away on their behalf in an ivory tower in Canary Wharf, making millions on top of the millions they already had. Not any more.
A new wave of simple, easy-to-use apps has democratised investing, speculating and financial tinkering, meaning that anyone – yes, even you and me – has the chance to make money with just a few taps on a smartphone. Here are the five front runners from the mobile fin-tech industry.
Intrigued by the prospect of investing but don’t know where to start? Moneybox takes small change from everyday purchases, and invests it into global companies via three simple tracker funds. All you need to do is connect the card you use day-to-day with the app, and it’ll round up your spending to the nearest pound – meaning you’re saving, as well as investing, too. You then set your profile to ‘cautious’, ‘balanced’ or ‘adventurous’, and your money is invested on your behalf into over 6,000 international companies like Apple, Facebook and Disney. There’s only a £1 subscription fee and you can withdraw your money free of charge at any time.
Nutmeg collates the expertise of professional investment managers, and packages it up in a single helpful app. It offers a range of investment options, including ISAs and a pension, but its general investment programme is the simplest way to invest your money, and watch the returns roll in. Investment starts at £500, with an additional £100 to add each month – but there’s no top limit. You’ll also have to choose between a fully managed portfolio, proactively organised by the Nutmeg team, or a fixed allocation portfolio, with your assets reviewed once a year. The final element to decide is the level of your risk/reward balance – are you willing to risk more to make more?
Dabbl makes investment oh so simple. You can set up an account in a couple of easy steps, and dive straight into the world of stocks and shares. Companies are handily categorised into themes, like ‘Aerospace & Defense’, ‘Healthcare’ or ‘E-Commerce’, so you can browse by interest. You can also search for a company by name, or even by taking a picture of its logo – how very 2018. Once you’ve settled on a company, helpful infographics for ‘health’ and ‘sentiment’ inform you of its financial strength, as well the current mood surrounding it, allowing you to make an informed decision of whether to invest, or not. Fees are cheap, too, at £2 a month for a subscription, which includes three commission-free trades per month.
Crowdfunding is one of the fintech buzzwords of 2018. But how does it actually work? Let Crowdcube help you out. Founded in 2011, it was the industry’s first equity crowdfunding app – and now it’s the biggest platform of them all, having totalled more investments than any of its competitors. Crowdcube is designed to to make it simple for you to buy into businesses, and you can handpick who you want to back – from up-and-coming boutique enterprises, to the next big thing. You can start investing and building your portfolio for as little as £10 – and even better, Crowdcube won’t take a penny of your returns. Not only will you be making money (it has returned over £5 million to investors so far) but you’ll also be helping cool new brands make their way in the world.
5. Funding Circle
Looking to invest in something a little different? Funding Circle is a peer-to-peer lending app that promises a return of 6-7 per cent a year. So far, 79,231 investors have lent £3.4 billion through Funding Circle, earning £177 million in interest between them – making for some enticing numbers. It’s a pretty simple set-up; you lend funds directly to established small British businesses, and earn attractive returns when they pay you back each month. There’s a choice of opening an ISA, or a classic investment account, and you also have to decide between balanced or conservative investment styles. With a minimum investment of £1,000, you have more at stake than with some of the other apps – but if you’re serious about making money, it’s a smart-thinking solution.