November 11th, 2020

Spotlight On Tech

Here, we put the spotlight on our Technology Team so you can get to know our Head of Engineering, David De-Vilder, and understand why technology is so important at Assetz Capital.  We also discuss the role of the team, how they use your feedback to make enhancements to the platform, the challenges they face, and what the future holds.

Get to know our Head of Engineering

I’ve spent most of my career in Financial Technology (Fintech), working in Technology for one of “The Big Three” investment banks. After a short break from the world of Finance working as a CTO for a start-up, I joined Assetz Capital 2 ½ years ago. Today, I’m Head of Engineering and I help drive the business forward through the provision of technology.

Working closely with Chris Mellish (CTO and Co-Founder), we ensure that our technology strategy meets the needs of our business by driving productivity through effective process, managing technical risk and keeping our software engineers tightly integrated with all other areas of the business.

One of the things I enjoy about my role is planning the future evolution of technology at Assetz Capital.  I keep an eye on the latest trends within the wider Fintech space, ensuring my team and the business remains as competitive as possible from a technology perspective.

Why is Tech so important?

Technology is at the heart of everything we do here at Assetz Capital.  As a Fintech company, it’s important for us to have a strong Tech team so that we can continue to deliver new and innovative technology solutions for our investors.

The Fintech environment is incredibly fast-paced and ever-changing, so it’s important for us to be agile and respond to the changes in our environment around us. It is now commonly accepted that Technology underpins the finance sector and we’ve seen a fundamental change in the way financial services operate, using technology to give control back to the customer with the power to manage their investments at their finger-tips.

The peer-to-peer lending sector is no exception.  Technology underpins the connection between those who wish to lend and those who wish to borrow – giving investors a fairer share of the interest and borrowers the access to finance they need to grow.

It’s not all just computers, coding and algorithms

It’s easy to think that tech is just code, computers and algorithms, but behind all of that is a rapidly expanding team of 18 highly-skilled people based in Hampshire.  To ensure we’re driving technological improvements across all areas of Assetz Capital, the department is split into four different teams, which each have a specific product focus: Investor, Borrower, Operations and Platform.

The Investor Team’s focus is to develop the investor platform to improve the overall user experience for our investors; The Borrower Team provide the systems to support the loan application process; The Operations Team maintain the internal systems which support our colleagues’ day-jobs and streamline our business processes; The Platform Team are responsible for providing the fundamental technology building blocks of our P2P technology platform, such as our bespoke financial models and banking systems.

The key to making effective improvements is regularly listening to feedback. Our ambition is to provide the best investment experience in the market and the role of user feedback plays a crucial role in achieving this.  Whether that’s from our Customer Service Team, who regularly speak to our investors, or our Origination Team who process loan applications, it’s essential we understand the challenges faced by the end user of the technical solutions we design.

Our team finds investor feedback particularly valuable in shaping the user experience of the platform.  Whilst we regularly keep an eye on relevant forums and investor feedback gathered through our Customer Service Team, we also have user groups, made up of Assetz Capital investors who test out our latest releases and tell us how we can do better.

Investor feedback plays a vital role in the development of the various platform enhancements.  Earlier this year we launched a beta version of a new investor dashboard which allowed our customers to test the new functionality and communicate their feedback and comments directly to the Tech Team. This not only helped us to iron out any ‘bugs’ and fix any issues before switching all investors over to the new dashboard, but it also enabled us to incorporate feedback and make additional usability improvements.

Another great example of working with our investors was the launch of the Access Account Marketplace. The Tech Team formed a focus group using a wide selection of investors that had previously offered constructive feedback to gauge their reaction to the new marketplace, allowing the team to understand and improve the user experience before the launch.

Keeping your investments safe

Security is of paramount importance to Assetz Capital and we want you to be safe in the knowledge when using the platform, you’re using a safe and protected service.

There’s a whole host of security checks that happen in the background when investors are registering to use our platform as well as when you’re depositing or withdrawing funds.  Our systems will automatically run Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Know Your Customer (KYC) checks, along with automated bank account verification checks and Confirmation of Payee – making sure your funds reach your intended destination both safely and securely.

To further enhance the security of the platform, we have introduced a number of measures. Two Factor Authentication is now firmly in place and offers an extra security step for investors when accessing or performing security-sensitive actions on your account.

As well as these features we regularly review our platform security as a whole, which includes external reviews of our cloud infrastructure, social engineering and phishing testing, disaster recovery and penetration testing.

Adapting to the challenges of Covid-19

The unprecedented global impact of Coronavirus presented a significant challenge to our team.  Providing investors with enhanced liquidity options was a key priority for the business, and therefore in May our team switched focus to deliver the Access Account Marketplace.  Delivering this new and unique functionality, alongside the other demands of the business, and with the impact of COVID-19, was a challenging process but one which shows that we are able to quickly adapt to difficult situations.

A key learning point throughout this experience, was the importance of communication, both internally and externally, to our investors to keep them updated on progress and to act upon feedback post-launch.

Since launch, the Access Account Marketplace has offered our investors an option to invest or withdraw at a discount, with investors benefiting from over £15m worth of discounted loan holdings.

What the future looks like for technology

Looking to the future, our Tech Team is at the centre of the company’s growth and will continue to innovate, evolve and enhance our technology to offer the best service and products possible for our customers. We will continue to listen to our customers to help shape the future of our investment platform, whilst further automating our internal processes to streamline and scale our lending service.

We look forward to continuing to work with you, our investors, as we continuously make improvements to the Assetz Capital platform.  If you have any feedback or questions relating to the platform or our Tech Team, then you can ask Chris Mellish (CTO and Co-Founder) via our new ‘Ask Our Panel’ feature, simply click here to submit your question.