The COVID-19 emergency has forced individuals to rethink their approach to financial securities. The uncertainties caused has driven people to plan for their financial needs differently and more efficiently than they have done in the past.
According to a report released by Standard & Poor’s and the World Bank, only a quarter of Southeast Asians are financially literate –a situation that carries “significant costs.”
“Consumers who fail to understand the concept of interest compounding spend more on transaction fees, run up bigger debts and incur higher interest rates on loans. They also end up borrowing more and saving less money,” it explains.
Cheryl Wang, a former financial advisor, was moved by these reasons. Apart from that, one of the best advice that she had ever received was to increase one’s income and invest in career during the twenties and early thirties. However, she noticed that few people were taking the right steps towards it.
In July, Wang then decided to build PlannerBee to solve a challenge that Wang was herself facing as a financial advisor.
“I was dreaming up this app for years, from thousands of conversations I’ve had in the past ten years as a financial advisor. Handling a roster of more than 6,000 clients has allowed me to meet a huge variety of people, and examine so many different types of needs,” she explains.
“When I start out planning with a client, I always do a pretty lengthy and in-depth assessment of their finances. I kind of wished an app as Planner Bee existed, and one day I decided I’ll try to launch something like this myself,” she continues.
PlannerBee allows individuals to track their expenses and figure out if their investments and savings are in line with their goals with their smart goal-tracking capabilities. The app has been created keeping simplicity and ease of use in mind.
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Users can simply download the app on the iOS platform and sync their bank accounts and insurers, after which the platform securely encrypts the data on the cloud and Amazon data centres. Each user is then able to customise his budget plans according to their needs.
“What sets us apart from other close competitors is that we are focused on covering multiple countries, multiple banks, insurers and investment providers,” Wang tells e27.
Partnership with SaltEdge
Most recently, PlannerBee partnered with Canadian fintech company SaltEdge to sync the data of users seamlessly with numerous banks.
Some of the banks PlannerBee has been able to connect with via SaltEdge include HSBC, DBS, Standard Chartered, Maybank, and OCBC Bank. The app has also been recognised by the Singapore Fintech Association.
“The ability to sync seamlessly with multiple banks, and safely pull all of that information into one place lies at the heart of effective financial planning. In my ten years of managing close to a thousand clients, taking the first step to assess all your cash and assets remains the biggest obstacle for most people in properly managing their finances,” she adds.
Planner Bee relies on Salt Edge’s platform which claims to be both “secure and compliant with the top banks’ requirements in over 70 countries.”
As of now, the app has 2,000 downloads after just three months since its launch. For the future, PlannerBee plans to keep on growing its team with the target to secure one million users across Asia in the next seven years.
Image Credit: Cherie Wang
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