Finax Blog

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Welcome to Finax: Everything You Need to Know

You have recently been informed that the business of AION ETFmatic investment services will be taken over by the robo-advisory fintech Finax. Naturally, you might have questions about this transaction. To help you address them, we would like to introduce Finax and outline the reasons why it will be a reliable partner on your investing journey.

Šimon Pekar | News | 24. May 2024

You probably have many questions about the takeover at this stage. These might range from concerns over the current safety of your funds to the long-term vision for ETFmatic’s operations.

The bottom line is that your investments have found a reliable and sustainable licensed partner. You will not be forced to liquidate your investments.

Quite the contrary, we seek to allow you to resume deposits into your current portfolio as soon as possible, eventually granting you access to our other products. Finax is one of the most successful robo-advisory businesses in Central Europe, with transparency and communication with customers being one of our strongest features.

The aim of this blog is to introduce the wider story behind Finax, its mission, and vision for the future of ETFmatic. You will learn about all the benefits and implications this transaction has for you. The blog contains the following parts:


What Are the Reasons for the Takeover?

Aion Bank, the current owner of ETFmatic, has decided to shift its focus primarily on B2B operations (i.e., services for other business entities). This makes it logical to pass ETFmatic, whose operations are oriented towards retail investors, to a company with a long-term strategic orientation on this segment (so-called B2C focus). We are proud to say that Finax has always been a strong player in this field, with transparency towards clients lying at the heart of our business model.

Since the birth of Finax, we have placed a strong emphasis on communication and education via blogs, podcasts, and webinars. We use these channels to share information about the plans and results of our company, explain the rationale behind our products (and investing in general), or discuss questions directly posed by clients. We also try to provide tailored customer support and care. Our colleagues are constantly available via phone and email in 7 different languages.

This approach has helped us build a cohesive investing community. Our clients ask us questions about their personal finances, share their ideas about product development, and participate in our events. We believe this natural customer-centric orientation makes Finax a suitable partner to take over the business of ETFmatic services.

Being able to take care of ETFmatic customers is in line with Finax’s strategy and long-term plans. We already offer our services in 6 countries in Central and Southeast Europe, and we have recently been intensively exploring opportunities to introduce them in other markets.

Both Finax and ETFmatic have unique strong features that complement each other. Finax offers a strong experience in client care and communication, ETFmatic has well-developed technological systems and expertise in markets where Finax has not been operating yet. That’s why we believe that together, we will represent a good and reliable partner on your journey to fulfil your financial goals.

What is Finax?

Finax is the first robo-advisor in Central Europe. It offers its services as a licensed broker. Finax became one of the fastest-growing financial companies in the region and secured a Pan-European Personal Pension Product license as the first financial institution in Europe.

Finax currently offers 13 managed ETF portfolios and 2 ETF life-cycling retirement strategies with automated rebalancing. The portfolios differ in terms of their risk profile and expected returns by having a varying mix of stock, bond, and money-market components:

  • 11 Intelligent portfolios with variable risk profiles ranging from 100% global bond portfolio to 100% global equity portfolio,
  • 2 conservative portfolios; the Smart Deposit based on euro interbank overnight rate (€STR) and ultrashort euro bonds, and the Intelligent Wallet based on euro interest rate and short-term euro bonds (maturity up to 3 years),
  • 2 Pan-European Personal Pension Product global life-cycle strategies.


Clients’ assets fall under the protection of the Investment Guarantee Scheme which provides compensation of amounts up to 50,000 euros in the case the assets become unavailable. Finax is regulated by the National Bank of Slovakia. Our Polish branch falls under the supervision of the Polish Komisja Nadzoru Finansowego.

Finax is owned by its management and one strategic investor. A 52% stake is controlled by an investment holding belonging to Ivan Chrenko, a major shareholder of HB Reavis, the largest office developer in Europe. 43% is held by the founder Juraj Hrbatý, and the remaining 5% has been allocated to Finax employees.

What Is Finax’s History and Mission?

The story of Finax was started in 2017 by its founders Juraj Hrbatý and Rado Kasík. You will have plenty of opportunities to meet both, as they regularly participate in podcasts and webinars for clients.

Juraj and Rado have extensive experience with the Central European asset management market. Juraj spent his career building the securities-broker dealers CAPITAL MARKETS and Goldenburg. Rado was a portfolio manager at Across Wealth Management, one of the oldest brokerage houses in Slovakia.

This experience taught them that financial businesses are often set to work against the clients’ interests, rather than in their favour. Financial institutions avoided client education, as people without proper information were more likely to make emotional decisions such as market timing or frequent trading. Little attention was being paid to matters such as tax optimisation.

Finax founders wanted to offer the same investment options they were using personally to their network. That is why Juraj and Rado decided to start Finax. You can read more in Juraj’s blog post where he described his story of founding Finax.

At the time of its founding, Finax was the first robo-advisory platform in Central Europe. The main goal was to make simple and effective wealth building easily accessible for Central European households and to increase financial literacy in the region.

All Finax portfolios are based on passive investing via exchange-traded funds (ETFs). ETFs are great instruments with very favourable risk/reward profiles for investors seeking to appreciate their savings without sacrificing unnecessary time and stress.

We believe money should be a tool to gain time for doing what you love, instead of losing it by spending hours analysing charts and economic indicators. That is why our solutions are easy to understand, straightforward, fully automated, and user-friendly.

We wanted to keep our portfolios as simple as possible to allow all our clients to understand why this approach works. We wrote hundreds of blogs, published hundreds of podcasts, and organized more than 150 webinars to explain our products, philosophy, and facts about the world of finance and investing.

This strong focus on transparency and communication has created a unique community of Intelligent Investors who are directly engaged in shaping our company. The numbers provided in the following section prove this success.

Finax in Numbers: A Reliable Partner

Finax grew to become the most successful investment startup in Slovak history. Currently, we manage 530 million euros for more than 51,000 clients. This makes our business several times larger than ETFmatic, meaning that the combined company represents a solid foundation to support your savings.

Our services are accessible in most European Union member states, but we are actively present in 6 countries: Slovakia, Czechia, Poland, Croatia, Hungary, and Romania. In each of these countries, we provide tailored care, education, and communication in the local language. That is why the takeover by Finax could provide many of you with customer care in your native language.

We did not limit our offerings to investment portfolios. As our extensive educational activities suggest, we seek to be an overall guide for our clients on their personal finance journey. That is why we started developing a personal finance management app Finbot, which allows users to link their bank accounts, categorise their expenses, and track their budgets and net worth.

Our journey involves both national and international recognition. We have received several awards for investment innovations, advisory, and management in Poland and Slovakia.

However, our biggest achievement was becoming the first licensed provider of the Pan-European Personal Pension Product (PEPP) in the entire EU. It’s a new modern pension product that will become available to every European citizen.

 

What Is Our Vision for the Future of ETFmatic? 

This section aims to introduce you to the long-term vision of ETFmatic integration with our existing operations.

When it comes to the transition, nothing needs to be done by you. The terms of your contract will stay the same as they were before, Finax will just become your new service provider, as Finax is acquiring the entire investment unit of Aion Bank.

We seek to enable you to resume deposits into your portfolios in January 2024, immediately after the transaction. The investment strategy and composition of your portfolios will not change. You will keep your current portfolios with their present conditions. However, it will not be possible to open new ETFmatic portfolios.

Please note that trading will be temporarily halted from 30-12-2023 until 04-01-2024 due to the transfer of securities from AION’s custodian Saxo Bank to our custodian: the Belgian bank KBC. This means that withdrawal requests might not be processed during this period. Trading will resume from 05-01-2024. Once the transfer is complete, your securities will be held in one of the largest Belgian banks and a prime European player in the safekeeping and custody of financial assets.

In the early months of next year (2024), we will begin migrating ETFmatic’s front end to our channels. This means you will log in to your account via the Finax website and smartphone app. After completing this process, we will enable you to open other portfolios. You can learn their details on the product subpages of our website.

We promise to always keep you updated on the new developments.

What Benefits Will the Takeover Bring to You?

We believe the takeover will quickly bring several specific benefits to you:

  • Customer care & support: Starting January 1st 2024, you will be able to reach out to our front office at any time by calling us or writing an email to client@finax.eu. We are available to you in English, Slovak, Polish, Czech, Hungarian, Croatian, and Romanian.
  • Wide range of products: As mentioned before, Finax is a pension market disruptor, provides a personal finance management tool, and offers conservative products with very competitive risk-free yields alongside medium-term and long-term equity and bond ETF portfolios.
  • New features, functions & products: Finax invests a significant portion of its revenue and personal capacities in development. We listen to our customers. Our goal is to keep the status of an innovation leader, to constantly increase customer experience and satisfaction and to improve our efficiency and simplicity of use.
  • Sustainable business: Finax is one of the few robo-advisors in Europe that managed to reach sustainable organic growth. Our balance sheet is solid with no debt burden and secured funding.
  • Education & community: We want our customers to be financially independent and to live happier and satisfying lives. Finax helps clients reach their goals through intensive, simple, and unbiased education.
  • Expanded guarantee: Under the Belgian Protection Fund, financial instruments deposited with institutions are only guaranteed by the state up to the amount of €20,000 per person. In contrast, the Slovak Investment Guarantee Fund provides insurance on assets up to the amount of €50,000.

Market developments show that it is very challenging to combine low-cost portfolios with covering expenses for talent, development, and financial education. Finax managed to build a sustainable business model based on these principles, and we invite you to be a part of it.

We will share our knowledge, philosophy, and tips via regular webinars and blogs. We will answer your questions about any topics related to personal finance. We will invite you to share your opinions on how to improve our products and services.

One of the first options to engage in such communication and learn more about Finax is a webinar planned for the evening of 5th December. We will be happy if you stop by and ask any questions you might have.

We believe this blog convinced you that the portfolio management provider change is beneficial for you and that your savings move to a safe place, prepared to be a good companion on your financial journey. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact ETFmatic customer care or join us for our free webinar on Dec. 5th.

More questions that might come to your mind were answered in transaction FAQs.

We are looking forward to welcoming you to our community of Intelligent Investors!


Šimon Pekar
Šimon Pekar
Analyst
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