«Our tools enable you to design

your investment plan like a pro»

  • +  Personal selection
  • +  Full access to all fund types
  • +  Shared intelligence
  • +  Cost-efficient


About Investing

Why can't I find the best asset manager myself?

Anyone can find an asset manager by themselves but it's difficult to know whether this is the one best suited to your individual needs.
Finding the best asset manager for your needs does involve work and time.It requires an understanding of the asset allocation and portfolio you need, an in-depth analysis of several different asset managers, their performance consistency over time, type of investments, ethical choices and so on...

In the UK alone, there are hundreds of asset managers. So, it takes time to find the right ones for you. This is where we will help you. We hope that you find our service helpful.

Why don't I just buy an Index Fund?

There is no single fund that would fit every investor's needs. Each investor has a specific investment objective, including duration of investment, purpose and sensitivity to losses. As our saying goes, the only free lunch is diversification.

Furthermore, passive funds depend on the quality of the index they aim to replicate:
which index is suited to your needs?

Which one to select and follow?

An index is not just a plain reflection of the market. They are all engineered in different ways that generate distortions, such as over-weighting expensive stocks, while penalising those with most upside potential. And, importantly, how good is the quality of the index provider?

Try us and see how we will help you to overcome all of these hidden risks!

Why don't I just buy an ETF (Exchange Traded Fund)?

For the same reason that you cannot go for just one passive fund: diversification. Again, check for index quality: what risks are you actually exposed to without you knowing? Further, ETFs do not necessarily protect you against market shocks.

These are the fallacies of many ETF campaigns. They seem cheap and are very convenient, but they are products engineered by bankers made to generate commissions that serve their needs rather than yours. There are a lot of inherent risks that are not made aware to you. Check our tutorial on ETFs for further analysis of their risks.

Why can't I use Robinhood to just decide what and when to buy and execute it myself with no commission?

You may and you should do so if you feel confident enough (but you'll have to move to the US until they've launched over here). However, you will not always pay no commission. Nothing is free all of the time.
In the meantime, you can try out our free introductory services and see how you get on.

Fund X said it made 14% for its average investors last year? Can you beat that?

Great for them. What drove their returns? Usually, investments go up and down along with the markets. What really mattersis the return generated for each dollar of risk taken. This is what is worth watching, together with how they manage their portfolios in a period of downturn. This is where active management brings extra benefits.

Company X said it made 16% for its average investors last year - what does this mean?

Great news! How was it made? Paying dividends? Growing their share price? Both? The question is how consistent is it with good management? You can deduce this by asking yourself questions such as:
• How does it compare with the markets they operate in?
• How well does it relate to good cost management?
• How can they reliably continue to grow in such a manner? What are the risks?
• How do they plan to use this superior financial growth?
Nobody outgrows anyone else consistently over time without taking extra risk. So how good are they at managing these risks?

Why should I invest rather than just keeping money in a bank account?

History has shown that £1 today is worth more than £1 tomorrow due to varied reasons, the primary one being the effects of inflation. This statement is supported by lots of equations and financial mathematics.

This concept is called the “Time Value of Money,” which says you actually lose money by leaving your money in a bank, as often the interest rate you receive is less than the rate of inflation.So when you withdraw your money it is worth less and has less “purchase power” than when it was deposited.

To compensate for the effects of inflation, you need to get your money working now. There are plenty of ways to do this:
• High-yield Savings accounts
• Investing in equity, stocks and bonds
• Buy-to-let properties

The earlier you invest, the higher the value of your money in the long run.

However, you need to make sure that you select the right investments that are commensurate with your individual goals and attitude to risk. The simple fact is that leaving your money in a savings account will not make your capital grow sufficiently enough to retain its purchasing power.

Owning your home is not an investment, per se, because you cannot sell it if you need cash. However, working on improving your home's market value is investing.

Why choose particular shares over others?

Because all shares (equities), unlike human beings, are not created equal! Some are much better than others for many reasons: shares inbetter managed companies with better prospects, products and technology will perform well.

The characteristics of the company, and the sectors it operates in, also determine how it will react to different economic changes and challenges.

How do I get performance without risk?

There is no such thing. There is a relationship between the amount of risk and the return that is derived–higher risk often brings the potential (and we stress potential) of higher rewards.

The alchemy resides in taking acceptable levels of risk, so that you can achieve your individual financial goals. If you cannot reconcile both, then you need to either put in more money, improve your risk taking capabilities or revise your goals.

You should decide what is your “maximum acceptable loss.” This concept will help you determine what risk you are willing to take, and so see will be your expected return. Once you are happy with this, our tool “The Financial Assistant” helps you build your future around a level of risk that is right for you.

What are the dangers of ETFs?

1. ETFs have replication errors: they cannot fully replicate the markets they promise to passively invest in.
2. Which index are you going to follow - price weighted is buying in the most expensive stocks.
3. They are passive, which can be bad in market downturn
4. There is a bid-ask spread on ETFs that usually doesn't exist on open-ended funds
5. Credit risks: most ETF providers compensate the low fee they charge you by venturing into lucrative complex financial transactions with other financial institutions. They actually lend the securities you own to the likes of speculative hedge funds. So if the latter collapses, you will lose your money.
6. Big ETF providers own large chunks of the markets. They themselves contribute to market price volatility. Some of them are growing so big that professionals would say that they are the market! So, if one of their big institutional clients decides to redeem, the ETF can be stuck.
As such, you use an ETF when you want to be exposed to a specific market without any extra specific risk management requirements.

Importantly, you need to be careful when selecting an ETF to check: Its total expense ratio
• The nature of the index they are based on.

What are the dangers of active funds?

The key danger in using actively managed funds is your reliance on a few individuals' ability to decide on your behalf. So is the manager's decision making process sound? Who drives the decisions? Are they experienced at selling in a timely manner in troubled times? Is the cost justified for the improved risk-return profile? How sound is the manager's brand name?
However, using active fund managers is not just an act of faith. You cannot rely on past performance so need to consider the consistency of a manager in matching their style. Remember, most active funds actually fail to outperform their market sector averages.

What should I consider when evaluating active funds?

Carefully consider your individual investment goals.
Choose diversified investments that meet your criteria.
If you opt for a passive approach then you patiently wait and don't overreact to market events. If you want to be active then you must commit to give the time and discipline that this approach requires.

Why should I use active asset managers?

People usually go for active managers with the hope of getting extra returns above the markets. This doesn't always prove such a remarkable choice for plenty of reasons:

Lots of literature has been published that analyses this area. It all comes down to managers' investment style, costs and constraints

However, there is a key benefit in using active managers: their ability to navigate falling markets. They do not depend on a formula to know when to sell when markets are in negative territories. They tend to generate better risk-adjusted returns.

How should I choose between two different Equity funds?

You only choose between two different equity funds if they aim to serve the same purpose. Otherwise they complement one another.

At first you may think that past performance is an indication of future performance and, therefore, chose the fund with the better past performance. Actually this isn't the case.

Consider the following: if you toss a fair coin and get heads 5 times in a row, that is no indication you are more likely to get heads again. Performance, like odds, has no memory. The same goes to equities, no one really knows what will happen in the future - the events are independent.

The best way to choose between two different funds depends on the following factors:
• How established is the fund?
• How experienced is the team?
• How sound are its risk management rules?
• How aligned is the fund with your values and approach to investment?
• How expensive is it to run?
• How much do you like what they aim to do?

Why is the language of finance so obscure?

Everyone industry likes their own little jargon: engineers, lawyers, doctors… That is what they all studied.

In the case of finance, it is even more visible because it blends lots of disciplines together: economics, statistics, behavioural sciences, law, engineering, marketing, story-making, fortune-telling…

We try to demystify the world of finance and investment and use plain English. If things still remain unclear, let usknow so that we can correct this. We are building a community!


About Strip Your Banker


Why did you create Strip Your Banker?

We believe that the financial marketplace is full of hidden costs and jargon to confuse customers. This allows banks and financial firms to charge higher rates than they should and reap the profits.

Our vision is to create a platform that enables transparency, educates investors and reduces unfairness in the marketplace. We aim to do this with our flagship asset allocation engine “The Personal Finance Assistant”, our “Education Project” available on our website and finally by being able to rate an asset manager on an open forum.Essentially we have created the first digital social platform for investors.

There are many so-called competitorsthat claim to help investors, but which suffer from the same old problems:
• Being yet another asset manager and so adding to an alreadyconfusing choice
• Selling past performance as if they were able to replicate it in the future
• Claiming to be cheap while not disclosing their total cost of investing (known as their total expense ratio)

How are you different from Traditional Finance?

Firstly, we are the first platform to give you the tools the pros use so that you can decide for yourself. Nothing complex, complicated or scary. Just give it a go. Technology is here to help so let's use and enjoy it.

Secondly, we focus on transparency: there are no hidden costs. Many claim this, but in reality theyhave hidden costs. To compare and see how we do really differ, check our cost comparison table.

Thirdly, we are the first to put the asset managers straight in front of you. You can rate them, send them comments and ask them questions so that they work better for you.

How are you different from Nutmeg/Betterment/Wealthfront?

In short, they are asset managers. We are NOT asset managers.

We are here to help people find a mix of asset managers that together offer the best package for your investment needs, whether it's you wanting to save for your children's education, or for your retirement - or perhaps a combination of both.

Those guys do a brilliant job updating the business of a wealth manager to an online model. They actually are portfolio managers picking products made by others. They make philosophical bets and discretionary decisions on markets directions. We do not do that. This is not our job.

They want to bring wealth management to the masses. We bring decision power to each of you. So use our tools to screen those guys out and to pick a personalised investmentcombination that is suited to you!

What's your business model - how do you make money?

Our aim is to build a solid and trustworthy business based on a free-to-try service. When our product is fully developed we intend to charge advisory fees and to give you the choice of paying this either as a very low proportion of the assets we manage for you or as a share in the growth our suggestions achieve for you. To keep our costs low, we also ask asset managers to pay a fixed cost per fund that is listed. Our fees in no way depend on what we recommend and this charge is because we help asset managers to reach new audiences from their marketing channels.