COCOA Invest founders Omar Shaikh and Lars Buur think the Nordics are often overlooked and under-served when it comes to personal finance. A London native, Omar sought to bring some of his expertise from his homelands financial sector to the Nordics. He began collaborating with Lars, who was based in Denmark, and COCOA Invest was born.
While they were both working on the concept from different countries, ultimately, they wanted to build a company headquartered in Denmark. “The idea”, stated Omar, “was always to develop this business in Denmark”.
Banks and brand loyalty
“Banks these days have no brand loyalty”, explains Omar. Gone are the days when customers chose one bank and stuck with it for all their financial needs.
This made both Omar and Lars think long and hard on how they could offer a personal financial service that truly put the focus on their users. What they have done is effectively create a platform that one can personalize to meet different life goals, such as buying a new car, putting a down payment on a new home, or even saving up for a rainy day (aptly named, “rainy day fund” on their platform). This helps users plan for the expected and unexpected.
“Other companies have done similar business models, creating a make-up of how people invest”, but investing with COCOA is a different way of looking at the world of personal finance. It is set up for long-term investing versus someone planning on putting in some money today and hoping to take out a lot tomorrow.
The focus is on ordinary folks being able to invest their money and have long-term growth. “Every client is treated as if they had 10 million Danish kroner”, stated Lars, “it is a simplistic solution for all”. It also allows diversification, as people are able to build and construct their own portfolio, and there is 100% transparency on what one is investing in. Furthermore, money is never locked in; it is completely liquid at any point in time.
Building transparency into the platform
Lars and Omar have worked intensively to make the overall use of the platform completely user-centered. They wanted to put the user directly in the middle of their focus on how they structured the website. They wanted the simplicity of what COCOA Invest offers financially to be reflected in their platform as well. “We wanted to be sure to give people the experience they expect”, stated Lars.
COCOA also uses a transparent fee structure, which sets them apart in an industry where fees can be byzantine – and crippling.
Furthermore, when you invest with COCOA, there is a tiered system that works in a way that if you have a family member or friend who invests with COCOA as well, the fee that you will be charged is based on the culmination of capital for yourself plus the amount your family member or friend invests. This lowers the fee amount charged to both parties investing.
Both Lars and Omar are very experienced in their respective fields. “What sets us apart”, says Omar, “is our focus to challenge the current offering to provide a better service for the retail investor that can take control of their financial future”.
COCOA is currently seeking FSA approval from the Danish Regulatory Agency before officially opening for business, but people should signup for the early version via www.cocoainvest.com to gain access as soon as they are open for business. **