Importance of Wealthech - an Interview with Karan Shanmugarajah, CEO WealthKernel

Karan Shanugarajah is CEO and Co-Founder of WealthKernel, a supplier of investment infrastructure for companies looking to offer digital investment services. It is a vertically integrated and one-stop-shop provider of various services, such as client onboarding, trading, and custody. WealthKernel’s infrastructure is optimized for the delivery of investment and wealth-management services to non-traditional clients. 

1. Can you briefly tell us about yourself and your company’s mission?

My name is Karan Shanmugarajah and I am the CEO and Co-Founder of WealthKernel. As a team, our primary objective is to move barriers away from fintech companies by providing saving, investing, and pension solutions. We have delivered millions of pounds of investments for retail clients across the UK and Europe so far. We strongly believe that by revolutionizing financial services, we make investments more available and accessible for ordinary people. 

2. Can you name some latest trends in the wealthtech landscape? What opportunities are there in the market?

The first trend I would like to mention is mass digitalization. Although there are still many firms that are not digitized and have no comprehensive digital journey yet, the needs and demands of modern society are becoming more and more sophisticated. As a result, fintechs are expected to provide excellent user experiences (UX), to have instant feedback loops and utmost quality regarding the service and content. 

The second is mass customization. Wealth management today is categorized along the lines of investing habits of people, rather than certain requirements. It means that it is becoming more important to understand the main needs of users and how much they’d like to invest. Every customer avoids incorrect management of money, which ultimately leads to financial burden or even debt. By working with WealthKernel, a customer trusts his financial background, and this trust should not be shattered. 

3. How have investments aided your business growth? What have you accomplished since the last funding round? 

As you know, we successfully closed 5 funding rounds led by several investors including Digital Horizon, ETFS Capital, LCIF, and Big Start Ventures. The raised funds were spent mainly on designing and developing the infrastructure – we invested in our people and acquired talents from all over the UK and Europe. We worked on our common goal – justifying the trust of all clients and removing leaky legacy pipes, which affect the savings and pensions of millions of people. 

Another thing that funding presented us is the validation of who we really are – an aspiring fintech company, which aims high and achieves great results on its way to making investments easier. This realization helped us to regain confidence in front of competing companies: as we have a significant amount of capital now, a bigger number of potential investors have a belief in our bright future. 

4. How did your company and clients overcome the recent crises over the past few years?

Although we feared the potential pandemic consequences, WealthKernel was very lucky to be digitized before Covid-19 restrictions and policies struck most of the businesses around the globe.  As the matter of fact, our customers were similar to WealthKernel and did not suffer from the crisis in the same way. One thing which is clear to me is that Covid-19 accelerated the demand for digital services, which is an advantage for the fintech sector. 

Additionally, the way how we onboarded our clients remained the same, too. As our dedicated sales team set up the digitized customer onboarding process long ago, we did not have to adapt to the work-from-home policy at all. WealthKernel platform is API-based, and the clients are from all over Europe (we never met them in person). 

5. What is next for WealthKernel?

The main goal of WealthKernel for the upcoming years is geographical expansion. As regulations and policies in every country are different, we aim to enter the remaining European countries by December this year after getting all the required licenses. As WealthKernel gets bigger, the idea of delivering our solution to all markets around the globe seems more and more achievable for me. However, progress never stops at this point. WealthKernel will be constantly developing the platform by bringing new opportunities and advanced options for its customers. 


About Karan Shanmugarajah:

Karan Shanmugarajah is the CEO of WealthKernel, a provider automated wealth and asset management solutions to institutional clients and financial advisors. With a single line of code, WealthKernel enables wealth and asset managers to service their customer’s digitality. Prior to co-founding WealthKernel, he was a portfolio manager at Barclays Wealth in London overseeing $500 million in client assets. He was a member of the North American Equity Committee and a voting member of the Selection Committee responsible for maintaining multi-asset reference portfolios across the UK and Europe. Karan has also worked in the finance industry in Canada and Singapore and is currently a director at a London-based charity that promotes entrepreneurship. He has a Master of Science in International Accounting and Finance from CASS Business School in London and is a CFA® charter holder.

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