Would Your Financial Advisor Trust You Enough To Let You Decide How Much To Pay?
This post was originally produced for Forbes.
Andrei Cherny, CEO and co-founder of Aspiration, is creating a whole new model for financial services in America. The idea is to provide the sorts of investment strategies employed by the wealthy to ordinary, working Americans. The strategies include impact investing.
Cherny explains the companies philosophy, “We think of ourselves as a financial firm with a conscience. And there is no reason that needs to be a contradiction in terms.”
“At Aspiration, we are first and foremost in the opportunity business. We want our customers to be able to get economic opportunity for themselves and give it to others at the same time. And that’s what they want too,” Cherny adds.
“Every financial firm out there keeps yelling ‘Trust us!’ We’re the only one that actually trusts them [the customer],” he concludes.
Aspiration allows its clients to choose how much to pay Aspiration for its services, offering that as a sign of trust. Other interesting features of the new model include devoting a portion of profits to charity and giving their clients the opportunity to do the same.
On Thursday, August 13 at 1:00 Eastern, Cherny will join me for a live discussion about his plans for the novel financial services firm. Tune in here then to watch the interview live. Post questions in the comments below or tweet questions before the interview to @devindthorpe.
More about Aspiration:
One of the fastest growing online investment platforms, Aspiration offers everyone the type of investment strategies that were once limited to only the wealthiest Americans. Using cutting-edge technology, Aspiration is revolutionizing how financial services are delivered to Americans by successfully pioneering a democratized and purpose-driven investment firm with a conscience and building an unprecedented level of trust with its customers. Aspiration:
Democratizes access to wealth creation by creating financial and investment products for the middle class, not millionaires. We bring these products directly to the consumer on Aspiration.com, bypassing traditional intermediaries. These products include:
The “Aspiration Flagship Fund” which guards against the roller coaster of the stock market,
The Aspiration Summit Account which is a 1% interest, no monthly or ATM fee, FDIC insured checking account, and
The upcoming Aspiration Redwood Fund which will be a best-in-class sustainable product investing in companies that see better financial returns because of their smart environmental, employee, and governance policies.
Features a radically pro-investor “Pay What Is Fair” fee structure that trusts customers to pay us what they think is fair — even if it is zero.
Brings the Toms/Warby Parker approach of getting/giving to financial services by donating 10% of revenue to charitable giving around microloans and mentoring for low-income Americans to start businesses — and serving as a platform for easy giving by customers as well.
Andrei Cherny is co-founder and CEO of Aspiration, a new trust-based investment community that launched in 2014. Aspiration is dedicated to democratizing the financial world by bringing elite investments to everyday investors in a way that marries profit with philanthropic purpose. Andrei brings to this role nearly twenty years of experience as an advisor to some of America’s top companies, the co-founder and president of a media start-up, a financial fraud prosecutor, a bestselling author, a senior White House aide, and a nationally-recognized economic policy expert.
For more than a decade, Andrei provided strategic advice for companies such as Microsoft, Intel, Qualcomm, Bank of America, and American Express both at his own firm and as a Managing Director at Burson-Marsteller, one of the world’s largest communications firms.
Andrei is the co-founder and president of Democracy, a print and online public policy journal launched in 2006 to bring new thinking on the major issues facing America and the world. Today, Democracy has over 300,000 unique visitors a year. Under Andrei’s leadership, Democracy worked with then-law professor Elizabeth Warren to develop the idea of and strategy for launching the push for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau which now promotes fairness for mortgages, credit cards, and other consumer financial products and services.
As a former Assistant Arizona Attorney General, Andrei prosecuted complex financial fraud and corporate crime with a 100% conviction record.
Working in the Clinton White House, Andrei was the youngest White House speechwriter in American history. President Clinton has called him a “critical part of the team” which brought about the economic successes of the 1990s.
Andrei has served as a Senior Fellow at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government and at the Center for American Progress. He has written frequently on economic, technology, and business issues for publications such as the New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, USA Today, Investors’ Business Daily, and the Financial Times and has appeared on television programs including ABC’s Good Morning America and World News Tonight, CBS’s The Early Show, The O’Reilly Factor, and The Colbert Report.
Andrei’s first book, The Next Deal: The Future of Public Life in the Information Age (2000) examined how business, government, and community life will change to meet the challenges of the 21st century New Economy. The Los Angeles Times called the book “visionary in scope” and the Financial Times reported that The Next Deal had “become required reading” in British Prime Minister Tony Blair’s government. He is also the author of the bestselling The Candy Bombers: The Untold Story of the Berlin Airlift and America’s Finest Hour (2008) on the intersection between the end of World War II, the beginning of the Cold War, the 1948 presidential election, and the Berlin Airlift. It was called like “Stephen Ambrose at his best” by historian Douglas Brinkley and is one of the top 50 highest rated 20th century American histories on Amazon.
Andrei served eight years as an officer in the United States Navy reserve. He graduated with honors from Harvard College and from the University of California Berkeley Law School.
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