Behind the Idea: Gretel

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Over 20 million people aren’t aware of the dormant assets they have sitting in forgotten accounts, which experts estimate to be over £50 billion. Gretel has the ambition of reuniting people with their money.

Financial companies have an obligation to reunite customers with their lost money – whether through client money rules, data quality regulation or the legislative framework of the Dormant Assets Scheme, however individual financial companies only have part of a customer’s financial picture. Through its cutting-edge technology, Gretel sees the big picture and can reconnect financial organisations to their customers and their unclaimed assets. Uniquely, once a customer has signed up with Gretel, the service will keep working for them to constantly look for lost monies and flag any new accounts as and when they are identified.

Duncan Stevens

Duncan Stevens is CEO and dormant assets expert. Having been directly involved with the Government’s Independent Commission on Dormant Assets and, in response to the Commission’s recommendations has built Gretel as a free to use platform for consumers.

What has been the traditional company response to financial technology innovation?

In the dormant assets space, financial organisations have had different responses, but invariably, reconnecting with lost customers has involved a significant amount of manual intervention and has been a time-consuming and costly process. Many financial companies have legacy issues with their back-office technology, layers and layers of IT have been added over the years. 

IntelliTeq’s focus is on cutting edge digital enablement and through the Gretel platform, we have built a digitally unified environment to enable customers and corporates to reconnect across any financial instrument. 

Many financial companies have an obligation to reunite customers with their lost money – whether through client money rules, data quality regulation or the legislative framework of the Dormant Assets Scheme, however individual financial companies only have part of a customer’s financial picture and so can only ‘look’ for products customers might have with them. From a customer perspective, this is pretty fragmented as a comprehensive search involves contacting numerous organisations. Through its cutting-edge technology, Gretel will see the big picture and can reconnect customers with their unclaimed assets across multiple financial organisations in a single transaction.

How has this changed over the past few years?

Customers increasingly demand low friction services and the ability to get everything they want under one roof – Amazon is a prime example of how technology has evolved to service demand!

We have understood this requirement and spent considerable time architecting and building a platform that takes only minutes to log in to, and which provides a one-stop hub friction-free journey to reconnect with all financial companies where dormant assets are identified. 

With customers always looking for value-add adjacent services, we are constantly innovating and have a number of developments already in build so that Gretel will further support vulnerable customers digitally and provide additional services to financially empower customers and make their lives easier.

Is there anything that has created a culture of change inside the company?

Absolutely, at IntelliTeq we realised that to create Gretel we would need to re-write the rulebook for financial services. The founders of IntelliTeq have all come from bigger businesses where change and innovation can take time – simply due to logistics; it’s hard to turn the 6-mile oil tanker!

As a fintech start-up, we’re in the enviable position of being able to see the problem and innovate at pace to create a solution for the financial services industry and consumers. 

Speed, Simplicity, Progressive and Relevant are our mantra. From customer onboarding to internal decision making, we believe that it should be quick and frictionless; jargon and unnecessary complexity are out! We are passionate about innovation and have a firm eye on what will help our customers and clients in the future. Gretel is a true reflection of our company culture and ethos.

What Fintech ideas have been implemented?

With innovation and digitisation at the heart of Gretel, we’ve built truly ground-breaking technology to solve to a whole raft of decades-old problems. By creating a uniquely joined-up technology ecosystem, we can bring customers and financial service providers together in a way that has never been done before and in so doing, we will enable the return of £50bn of unclaimed pensions, savings and investments to 20 million people.

Building on our core proposition, we have a number of developments in the pipeline to support our customers and clients by providing useful additional and complimentary services. We need to keep the specifics under wraps for obvious reasons….but we’re excited!

What benefits will these bring?

Using smart technology to solve problems and make life easier for both our customers and our clients is our key driver – everything we consider has that front and centre.

Gretel has been built to help customers and financial companies reconnect and in so doing enable customers to be reunited with their money which at a time of increased economic hardship and uncertainty, is hugely beneficial;

Our roadmap of future developments all run to the common themes of reducing complexity, speeding up process, empowering customers, supporting the vulnerable, saving money for our clients and supporting with regulatory challenges.  

Do you see any other industry challenges on the horizon?

Absolutely! COVID-19 has had a huge impact on the way we do everything; from grocery shopping to banking, to meeting friends and colleague.  As part of this the way customers interact with corporates is changing seismically, and digital initiatives that support both sides to interact more rapidly and smoothly will lead the way.

Juxtaposed with the need to accelerate adoption, is the existential crisis faced by many financial companies which has made the rapid adoption and deployment of new-tech very challenging. Many companies have been fighting numerous fires and the focus has accordingly been on the core requirements, with new developments placed very much on the back burner – although in reality, some of these will significantly reduce friction and support both corporates and customers as we enter the new normal.

Can these challenges be aided by Fintech?

Yes, the digital age is truly here, like it or not, and Fintech will be critical in bridging the gap between legacy technology and process, and the new normal, where digital interaction is not just a nice to have, but an essential.  

Customers need and are demanding support and with a turbulent period ahead, FinTech initiatives like Gretel that put the customer at the heart of innovation will have a huge role to play.

Final thoughts…

The entire planet is facing unprecedented challenges and the time to come together in common purpose is now!

We’re passionate about what we can do to help customers and corporates and how as a Fintech start-up, we can use our vision and agility to develop technology that can change lives for the better.

  • Gina is a FinTech journalist (BA, MA) who works across broadcast and print. She has written for most national newspapers and started her career in BBC local radio.

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