The financial field is one that few people enjoy dealing with. Pensions are one of the most important financial subjects for all working aged people in Israel. Despite this, pensions are often neglected and ignored. Life expectancy is rising worldwide, and governments are raising the retirement age and increasing public awareness for the management of pension savings.
In Israel, the pension is one of most talked about issues in the financial media. As pensions have gained more exposure, the market is ripe for disruption. The increase of pension awareness has set the tone for fintech solutions to grow and help the public make better decisions.
Robin has recently entered the technological world of the insurance industry and has become Israel’s most popular decision-making application in the long-term savings sector. Robin’s CEO and founder, Yossi Yarkoni, has extensive experience in managing companies and entrepreneurship following 20 years of work experience in finance, banking and insurance.
In this interview with Yossi, he shares why he chose to establish a start-up that brings great value to users in the field of pension and insurance. He also emphasizes what distinguishes Robin, resulting in it being selected for the most promising start-up of the year at the 2017 FinTech Junction conference.
Pension and insurance are the least understood areas for citizens, despite usually being among an individual’s largest assets. This was the first reason why we chose to focus on the pension field. This is a first-rate market failure, in which people refrain from dealing with their future only because they lack understanding of the industry's terminology. All day we hear about the importance of pensions and the longevity of life expectancy, but very few financial start-ups have set a goal of protecting and caring about the consumer. This is the goal of Robin, an innovative fintech application aimed at helping each consumer understand and make better decisions about their savings.
"The Robin application was developed to give everyone a complete and transparent picture of their pension portfolio by visibly presenting the level of payments and management fees needed. Robin is one of the best applications in Israel and the world for pension management for anyone interested in getting a clearer picture of what is really happening in his pension portfolio. This enables users to lead a better lifestyle and live with dignity after retirement.
"Robin currently has over 100,000 active users in Israel, which is growing at a high pace month-over-month. The company has recently begun to treat an additional market failure – multiple insurance plans. Robin offers existing customers a new product aimed at preventing overlapping insurance plans in the areas of health and long-term care. This feature is intended to be a complementary product to pension savings, in order to expand the range of services and the value users receive".
"Robin’s biggest game-changer in the pension industry is our dynamic pension. The dynamic pension is a mechanism where Robin’s advanced algorithm provides personal recommendations according to the risk level of the user. The dynamic pension recommends where to move ones’ money and gives recommendations according to the risk preference of the user.
"In other words, the system will not necessarily recommend that a user switch their pension to the one with the highest return, unless that return is achieved at the users preferred risk level. In accordance with the actual savings situation of the user, Robin offers the possibility of moving the current savings to maximize savings. In the past two years, the dynamic pension has been a huge success. It has increased savings dramatically for those whose moves followed Robin’s recommendations".
"The company is now working on expanding its operations in the US market. Robin will address one of the biggest failures in the financial sector in the US – student loan debt that is estimated at 1.5 trillion dollars. The debt that has increased by 250% in the last decade and has been affected by the American real estate crisis, which affected the ability of the students' parents to finance their children's rising tuition fees. An increase in the number of students attending university combined with an increase in tuition fees and interest rates on student loans has further exacerbated the problem".
"In 2019, Robin will offer FlexiLoan, a technological solution that will refinance existing loans. The solution will be based on blockchain technology, which will aggregate multiple lenders to the same loan at different interest rates. FlexiLoan will also offer the possibility of flexible repayment, which will allow a user to change their payment amount every month to better fit their lifestyle.
"Ernst & Young, one of the largest accounting firms in the world, will be a partner in operating the system in the US. In addition, several large US banks have already expressed their willingness to participate as lenders and the technological infrastructure will be built in cooperation with one of the world's leading technology companies".
"The potential is endless, as student loan debt in the US is growing at an aggressive pace of $245 million a day! Both borrowers and financial institutions want to assimilate a technological solution that will enable the refinancing of the loans and create a technological platform that will allow repayment flexibility. A borrower can ask to repay a large amount of the loan some months and may return a smaller portion of the monthly repayment during times of financial hardship.
"This solution will make the process easier, while the supportive technology will make it much easier. Our algorithm helps maintain a fixed average, so once there are thousands and tens of thousands of loans in the system, a situation is created where the lenders will eventually receive the same monthly repayment, while still providing the borrowers with maximum flexibility. Ideally, borrowers will prefer this product over the average student loan existing today".