Fresh From The Field — Kernal By Edition
Kernal is a simple, gamification-free platform that was created to support educated investment for kiwis – by providing world-class investment funds in order to grow financial wealth over the long-term. The goal for Edition was to reduce noise, lower costs, and keep the focus on long-term investing, to create something that would enable kiwis and lead to a wealthier and more financially literate Aotearoa.
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In today’s economy, traditional money-saving methods are falling short. Using information provided by the Reserve Bank of New Zealand, we calculated that, each year, Kiwis lose over one billion dollars in potential wealth by leaving their savings in the bank.
Thanks to Covid-19 and the increased accessibility of trading platforms, Kiwis’ awareness of and appetite to be involved in their financial wellbeing is higher than ever. However, seeking out wealth managers and financial advice is still seen as ‘out of reach’ and tilted in favour of the intermediaries.
We were frustrated with the inefficiency and lack of innovation in the industry. We needed to create a long-term wealth-building solution that provided a curated range of investments, to empower all Kiwis to safely save for their future. So, we created Kernel–a simple, gamification-free investment platform to support educated investment–with a goal to foster a wealthier, more financially literate New Zealand.
The Design Response:
In our approach, we surveyed over 500 current and prospective investors and conducted 30+ interviews. We found many Kiwis are great at saving and repaying debt but hesitate when it comes to investing.
One way to overcome this challenge was to create a standardised solution that felt bespoke to an individual’s needs – ideas for which we delivered over a series of agile design and development sprints. Sprints started by sketching low fidelity solutions as a team before using a newly developed component library to bring to life designs we could share for feedback. We tested progress with users every week before inviting a core beta group of 120 existing Kernel investors to start using a functional MVP. Having a direct line of contact to our design team created a valuable feedback loop, empowering us to rapidly test and iterate before pushing live.
Kernel had to effectively deliver important information in a simple way to cater to various financial literacy levels. Automating where possible, like our Pause-Start Auto-invest function, meant we could remove unnecessary noise or gamification. This was important to us because, the reality is, good wealth creation should be boring and aligned to personal goals and aspirations, not something that keeps you fixed on picking “winners”.
Providing a hassle-free setup was crucial to securing hesitant first-timers, so we implemented a seamless onboarding and AML verification process to get investors settled within five minutes. No paperwork necessary.
Catering to entry-level investors; Kernel provides pre-selected investment bundles, helping users warm up to making independent decisions. Plus, our insights section keeps investors in control by reviewing their portfolio across the different industries, companies, and funds. Kernel’s 11 fund options, including Clean Energy, Green Property, and the first NZ 50 ESG index fund, systematically assess and weight investments according to highly-considered criteria, including sustainability.
With Kernel, there’s no transaction fee, accounts under $1000 are free and parents can invest on their children’s behalf – making our platform, we believe, the most accessible investment platform in the country.
The Design Team:
- Design Directors – Jodie Catterall, Scott Kennedy
- Team Members – Ashley Keen, Armin Svoboda, Ryan Potter, Sam Williams
The Client Team:
- Becca O’Shea
- Christine Jensen
- Catherine Emerson
- Dean Anderson
- Stephen Upton