This post is part of our new Future of Finance series which interviews the leading founders and executives who are on the front lines of the industry to get a better understanding of what problems the industry is facing, what trends are taking place, and what the future looks like.
The following is an interview we recently had with Chris Costello, CEO and Founder of blooom, inc.
1. What’s the history of blooom? Where and how did you begin?
CC: blooom was founded in early 2013 but we didn’t publicly launch to the general public until Fall 2014.
It was started by myself, Kevin Conard (my business partner since 1999) and our “techie” friend Randy. The 3 of us have know each other since our college days in the early 1990s.
In just over 3 years we have grown from $0 to over $1.7billion AUM.
2. What specific problem does blooom solve? How do you solve it?
CC: The problem we are solving is that there are roughly 90 million Americans that are participating in their workplace retirement account (mainly 401k or 403b) and the vast majority – close to 90% of them do not feel confident that they are managing their account effectively. If you are rich – you can get help easily from a number of financial advisors competing for your business. But if you have $18,000 in your 401k the industry has basically said – you don’t have enough money to “qualify” to get help from an advisor.
The financial services industry has turned something incredibly complicated and incredibly important into a forced DIY proposition. Our solution – Blooom is leveraging technology to bring a service (retirement account management and financial advice) that wealthy people have had access to for decades to mainstream America. We are doing this for (now) less than what most people are paying each month for Netflix.
3. What’s the future of finance?
CC: Investing/Saving for retirement will become:
– Less expensive
– More transparent
– More accessible
4. What are the top 3 technology trends you're seeing in finance?
Trend #1: Algorithm based investment management.
Trend #2: Leveraging data to give better advice to clients.
Trend #3: Innovative startups disrupting large incumbent financial service business models.
5. Why is the finance industry ripe for disruption?
CC: Technology has advanced to a point where it is possible for a small company to reshape how people are getting access to financial services.
About Chris Costello
Chris Costello is the CEO and Co-Founder of blooom – one of the nation’s fastest-growing robo-advisors aimed at helping millions of underserved retirement savers. Chris has earned the prestigious CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ designation and has been working with individual clients and building portfolio allocations for over two decades.
Prior to blooom, he co-founded another investment advisory firm that grew to manage over $500 million for clients. At blooom, Chris leads the company in building innovative financial services to reach a brand new audience of under-served Americans. Blooom has been named one of the world’s most innovative companies by Fast Company, and Chris was selected as “Ten to Watch in 2016″ by WealthManagement.