MoneySherpa founder Mark Coan reveals why he founded MoneySherpa …………….

After 20 years creating B2C products and services for big Irish corporates, I’ve launched a startup, moneysherpa. Empowering Irish people to take control of their money. Here’s why.

Did you know, according to a recent study by Amarach research, that money & finance is the most frequent source of worry for Irish adults today, more than family or health? The source of this worry is financial security.
Yet when it comes to creating that security, Irish investing and pension participation is less than half UK rates. Based on comparing Irish and UK CSO data.
Why? People in Ireland need more help to overcome their financial fears.

My story
Whilst I was responsible for financial services for Ireland’s 3rd largest bank PTSB, I was puzzled by this financial in-action. I couldn’t square the number of people with savings earning no returns or on high mortgage rates and the low levels of switching.
It was only years later, when I started consulting for a financial advice firm, that it dawned on me why. The problem was a powerful cocktail of two things, financial fear and friction in the buying journey.
I got to understand their motivation a lot better by talking to people about their finances over a coffee one on one. In these conversations I’d hear the same themes over and over again.
Savers stuck with earning low returns because they weren’t aware of how to build a portfolio or even better a pension. Mortgage holders sticking with interest rates twice as high as they should be, because they were worried they might lose their house by switching or that the process would be as painful as when they first bought.
Even the people that had overcome this initial fear then found themselves bogged down in tricky choices and paperwork. Giving up before actually making an investment, setting up a pension or switching their mortgage.
In talking to all kinds of people about their finances, I realised that this fear and friction was driven by a lack of clear information, lack of impartial advice and lack of supporting services.
Our solution
Existing financial information in Ireland is too wordy and generic. Advice too expensive and compromised and support to help customers take action easily simply doesn’t exist.
In other countries like the US & UK, customers have already been empowered to take control of their personal finances by startups like moneysherpa. These countries boast 20% higher financial literacy and double the level of financial engagement seen in Ireland according to the S&P fin lit report.
At moneysherpa we try to empower people to reach their financial goals. Helping them make smarter decisions and then put them into practice.
We do this by delivering 3 things.
1. The right information, at the right time. We track what people are actually asking and make sure we give a straightforward answer. Using smart Search Engine Optimisation and our team of qualified expert contributors to produce on point content.
2. Un-compromised free advice. We provide impartial reviews and recommendations on the best approach and financial providers for our customers. Supported by our strictly impartial editorial code so no financial provider gets unfairly promoted. We are also totally transparent who we get paid by, what for and by how much.
3. The help they need. We make getting and switching personal finance providers easier. Our on site tools crunch the numbers for you, guiding you to the best rates, the provider most likely to approve your mortgage or working out exactly how much you will really save. Our sherpa customer teams will then guide you through the process of switching mortgage or making an investment over a series of video calls and emails.
That’s why we assembled a handpicked team of technologists and financial experts and decided to build moneysherpa, to better support the financial journey of Irish customers.

Our team
Dr. Joe Connolly (PhD) – CTO
With over twenty years as chief data scientist and software architect for leading multi-nationals, Joe is the architect of our tech stack which powers our customer tools.

Angie O’Hara (QFA) – Sherpa lead
Angie is a fully qualified mortgage advisor and leads our mortgage team finding the best lenders for moneysherpa’s customers. Angie writes and consults for moneysherpa on all things mortgages.

Martina Baldwin – Document sherpa
Martina has worked in customer facing roles for almost a decade.
She shepards all our customer documentation making sure we do right by our customers and readers.

Our journey
We have talked to hundreds of customers, jumped over all the required regulatory hurdles, built multiple unique tools and services, then spent hours testing and tweaking all the moving parts. Yet we are only just getting started.
Initially we will be focussed on helping people invest and switch their mortgage. Future developments will see us expand to other financial services, including pensions, savings, loans and insurance.

As well as offering our services direct to consumers, we are also able to open up our technology to selected partners using our cloud based architecture.
This will raise the bar for the Irish financial services industry as a whole. We will be announcing our first partners in the coming weeks.

What’s next?
If you share our passion to re-shape the personal finance landscape in Ireland, go to moneysherpa.ie to sign up to our newsletter or our social channels. If you want to suggest a great idea, an article or you are a potential partner you can reach me on mark@moneysherpa.ie.
If you want to make smarter investment or mortgage choices, you already know where to go ;-).

Founder of moneysherpa.ie, Mark Coan heads a team of experienced finance and technology experts, helping consumers make smarter personal finance choices. Prior to founding moneysherpa, Mark founded the business consultancy firm bothworlds and led the growth teams at Virginmedia, PTSB and Independent News & Media.