Monday 22 October 2018 1:55 pm

Industry heavyweights from Barclays, RBS and Coutts back new personal investment robo-adviser Pia


Big-name former executives from institutions such as Barclays, HSBC and Coutts are behind a new startup aiming to help consumers navigate the world of investing.

Pia, an online "personal investment assistant" scheduled to begin its launch in summer, counts advisory board members such as T Rowe Price Global Investment Services' former chief executive Todd Ruppert, Coutts' former managing director Gayle Schumacher and an unnamed former chief executive of Barclays Wealth.

The app uses artificial intelligence to create a virtual assistant, which can help consumers understand and choose investment products and services ranging from share trading platforms to online wealth managers to crowdfunders.

“I am impressed with the team Lex has assembled and envision a future where education and machine learning combine to help retail investors decide how and where to invest," said Ruppert.

"Aggregating such a wide array of investment and service information in one place also promises to help consumers save time whilst advancing levels of knowledge and transparency."

The full app is due to launch this autumn, after the beta launch for members in summer.

Pia, which City A.M. understands is about to close an institutional funding round, has so far received investment from New Look's founder Tom Singh, a former Barclays Wealth CEO and a former Coutts chief investment officer, as well as a syndicate organised by angel investor group QVentures.

"Investors deserve better content that inspires their investment choices," said Pia's chief operating officer James Mackonochie.

"Pia will provide interactive and engaging education aimed at making investing real for everybody and not just the few."

Mackonochie, who was formerly a management consultant at Deloitte, established Pia along with QVentures founder Lex Deak, who is now Pia's chief executive.

Niamh Wylie, previously of Royal Bank of Scotland and Coutts, will curate the market commentary and other content generated by Pia.