Two minutes with… Chris Williams
In this ‘2 minutes with’ segment, we put Chris Williams, CEO of Wealth Horizon, under the spotlight. Wealth Horizon is the new online financial advice business that is set to launch this summer and change the way in which retail investors manage their finances.
Easy one to start with Chris, can you tell us more about Wealth Horizon and when it will launch?
Simply put, Wealth Horizon offers online financial advice for consumers. We set it up because we saw a need to make financial advice more accessible and, for most people, this is a journey that starts online. To date, nobody has been able to achieve this for a variety of reasons, including ensuring that the advice is regulatory compliant, but we have. Wealth Horizon will offer people a very simple model, providing as much or as little advice as they need.
How do you see the digital advice landscape playing out in the future?
While we’re seeing more and more consumers starting their financial journeys online, only a small proportion of them are completed online. I think this aspect will change as people become more accustomed to investing and managing their investments online – you just need to look at what has happened with online banking.
What is the biggest concern facing investors in Britain right now, what should they be looking out for?
What they should be concerned about is how much they are paying to access advice and investment services and whether this is value for money. A lot of people will spend time to find the cheapest insurance quote, but then just accept one of the first quotes for financial advice because they believe that is simply the cost of ‘doing business’. In fact, as with every financial product, people should be shopping around to find the best rates.
Tell us about your life outside work. Do you have a family or any hobbies?
I have two kids aged nine and 11, so time is pretty scarce! I try to take my son to watch Bristol City FC every other week and in between that, I like mountain biking and a bit of gardening too. Anything outdoors really!
Have you always been good with money?
No – I was actually pretty useless to start with at university, but I soon learnt some valuable budgeting lessons, if only to be able have sufficient beer money…
Do you think there is enough financial education for young people today? What do you think is the solution?
I’m delighted that financial education is now on the national curriculum for secondary schools, although ideally, I’d like to see it introduced at primary school too. I do think there is some way to go though in the way financial education is taught. For instance, I am also really keen to see the behavioural aspects taught, rather than just budgeting basics: this is the best way to change attitudes to money.
What kind of investment advice would you give your younger self?
I’d tell myself not to get hung up on trying to invest large amounts. Starting small is just fine providing you begin saving regularly early enough.
So, outside of financial services, what is the one journalist or column that you regularly read?
I love Lifehacker, which is great for productivity and tech tips. I probably spend too much money as a result of reading it though!
Who is your favourite tweeter?
There’s a few, but industry wise, I’d probably say Phil Young from threesixty: he’s insightful, irreverent and doesn’t take himself too seriously.
Finally, before we let you get back to what sounds like a hectic schedule, who is your biggest inspiration?
That would have to be my kids: they’re fearless, always looking to learn, but know how to have a great time too.