Iain Clarke – All of Us Financial
- Written by: Neil Cote
- Produced by: Anjali LaPierre
- Estimated reading time: 5 mins
The better informed the investors, the more likely they are to prosper. But, oh, how the odds can be stacked against them—the details of finance so small-print and arcane to many.
And it often seems that the traditional financial industry is most comfy with such an arrangement, muses Iain Clarke. After all, they take a cut of every transaction, be it for buying or selling, thus gaining something even when the client doesn’t.
Even the registered investment advisers, whose interests are supposed to be aligned with those of their customers, may help themselves to an undue percentage of a successful portfolio. So there’s an overdue need for financial industry disruption—in Iain’s words, a democratization.
That, in a word, is the selling point of All of Us Financial, an innovative San Francisco-based fintech startup where Iain has aided the cause as CIO of a team of 12 since prior to its unveiling last September at New York City’s FinovateFall conference.
The platform launched in beta at the start of this year, and the Full Monty planned in mid- to late February with All of Us welcoming individual investors into a collaborative and informed virtual community enhanced by sophisticated machine learning and encouragement to share their thoughts on the markets.
Transparency and more
“Look at the financial industry. They’ve had it so good for so long,” the very energetic Iain tells Toggle from his San Francisco office. “Well we’re about bringing costs down, being 100 percent transparent and putting power in the hands of the individual investor.”
All of Us is positioned to give firms such as Robinhood a run for the money in the mobile trading market, he believes, explaining that this new fintech is seemingly ideal for the social networking generation. The same goes for those who play fantasy sports online since the data-safe, omni-channel platform allows one to gauge his or her performance against friends as well as the platform’s aggregate performance.
Join the community by tapping into the firm’s website or by downloading the All of Us app on iOS or Android, Iain explains, and make your own equity trades at the tap of a finger.
Members share in every revenue stream the company has; a transformative industry first. For example, they share in payments received for orders when they trade, commonly known in the industry as payment for order flow. On their homepage, members can see exactly how much money All of Us has earned on them year-to-date as well as how much it has saved them. This is unheard of radical transparency that is raising eyebrows in a retail brokerage community not used to sharing exactly how the money is made.
Should an All of Us user have $100,000 on the platform, the firm makes no more than $500 annually regardless of how the user is faring. All of Us believes it is the first company that genuinely stands for truth in investing, Iain says. Customers are gradually starting to realize that there is really is no such thing as “free trading” because the brokerage community is busy making money on them in myriad hidden ways. But there is such a thing as fair trading, and All of Us is bringing it to customers for the first time.
As to how All of Us can stay afloat with a no-fee model, it’ll be through the back end—the selling of order flows and earning a spread on cash in accounts.
In due time, options may be part of the platform that’s now just equities.
Already other investors are sharing insight on the user-friendly All of Us dashboard while maintaining full control of their portfolios. The collective wisdom and buying power should only grow with the membership.
Long-term, Iain and his colleagues foresee introducing the platform to an international clientele through regionally licensed and regulated broker-dealers and funds. Given the bullish reaction it’s garnered in the U.S., they say the platform should know no borders.
And it’s an eclectic bunch that makes up the five-member executive team, its members rooted in finance, tech and global business, and striving to be more than just another West Coast startup. “We differentiate from a pack of 22-year-olds starting something up in mom’s garage,” Iain says with a confident laugh. “We really know what we’re doing.”
Though a seasoned 46-year-old tech veteran, Clarke’s the youngest on an executive team fronted by CEO and founder Alan Grujic, a native Canadian who’s proved his financial creds with numerous companies since 1990. Grujic also invested $2 million of his own funds into the company while raising another $1 million from PEAK6 Investments and friends and family.
All of Us also has a valuable partner in Intelliware, a Toronto company well-versed at providing engineering and technical support to the financial industry. That company has been entrusted with broadening out and bolstering All of Us’ engineering prowess, with Iain speaking highly of its means to build out flexible platforms for specific tasks.
As for the British-born Iain, he’s been plenty agile himself throughout a career that’s had him plying his tech know-how at Fortune 500 companies in the United Kingdom, Australia and the United States.
Prior to joining All of Us at the outset in May 2018, he had worked nearly seven years at Capgemini, starting off as head of cloud services in Sydney, Australia, and rising to global partner executive in San Francisco. Before then he had productive stretches with Oracle Corp., and Sinclair Knight Merz.
While in Australia, he earned a Master of Business and Technology at the University of New South Wales, and for Clarke the learning never stops. After all, the technology and financial industries are equally evolving, and Clarke is revved to be among the point men in mixing the two at All of Us.
“We’re promoting a new business model built on full transparency and negative trading costs,” he says with a hybrid U.K.-Australian accent acquired during lengthy tenures in both locales. “The trading of stocks has been around for centuries and in some ways it really hasn’t changed much. Thirty years ago, the original discount brokerages disrupted investing. More recently Robinhood did the same. It’s our turn now to disrupt the disruptors by putting individual interests above those of the financial system.”
For all of us, he says. After all, there are plenty of firms that work just for some of us.
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