After years of development and capital raising, Perth fintech start-up Smooth Retirement has officially launched its new equity release advice service for Australian retires.
The company has created smart technology which allows them to deliver accessible, tailored advice to seniors on improving their income, cashflow and lifestyle in retirement, based around using some of their home equity.
The standout difference is the combination of financial planning advice on retirement income and cashflow, as well as the ability to provide comparisons and recommendations on different reverse mortgages and equity release products, in a unique all-in-one service.
Since mid-2016, the team of finance professionals behind the company have been working the development of its proprietary built retirement planning software as well as its dual licensing with the financial service regulators.
CEO and Managing Director Scott Phillips, also co-creator and founder or the business, said: “We didn’t just go through the regular channels when we applied to ASIC for our licences, we lifted the bonnet on our business model and gave them complete visibility of our plan to deliver our service to retirees in an easy to understand, transparent and affordable way, mainly online.”
“We believe we are one of the only fintechs in Australia to hold both an Australian Financial Services Licence and an Australian Credit Licence, and this dual advice and credit assistance capacity, combined with our modelling and planning software, is what makes our service entirely new and a real market first.”
Mr Phillips said while there was an enormous level of innovation emerging amongst the growing number of start-ups in Perth, raising capital is challenging.
“It’s hard work getting a business and entirely new concept off the ground and in many ways it bloody well should be. You are dealing in so many unknowns and real people’s money!”
“Developing new software is extremely expensive and so are the mistakes you inevitably make along the way. It’s all part of the journey.
“The delivery of our technology has been a significant spend for us and we are very excited and proud that the hard work has all come together and we’re not only in business, we’ve successfully met our launch deadline.
“We are extremely grateful for the support we have received from our private investors and now the hard work begins to deliver to them the good results that they deserve.”
While the new business is driven by smart tech, it was real people and problems rather than innovative software, that were the catalysts for its creation.
“In my previous roles in superannuation and banking I’d seen the same problem time-and-time again, people under financial stress and facing the grim realisation they simply did not have enough to last all the years of their retirement,” Mr Phillips.
“All the while the majority of their wealth – usually more than all their other assets combined – was contained in the family home and sitting there untouched.
“Too many retirees are experiencing financial stress and while they could certainly benefit from some good financial advice and guidance, invariably they find the traditional services model simply out of reach to them. For many it’s just too costly.
“We committed to delivering a much better service to retirees than they have previously received and one that makes equity release more accessible and easily understood so they can enjoy a more secure, stress-free and enjoyable retirement,” Mr Phillips said.
The Smooth Retirement model delivers long-term tailored plans for retirees using all their available assets, including their family home, to improve their lifestyle and cashflow in retirement with solutions to increase income, refinance debt, access lump sum capital, pay medical bills and / or fund aged care.