Chieu Cao: Finance and Wellbeing Enthusiasts Looking To Change the World of Pensions and Personal Finance

September 4, 2022

The Mintago team are finance and wellbeing enthusiasts looking to change the world of pensions and personal finance. Mintago is an unbiased financial platform empowering employees to improve their financial wellbeing.

The platform helps businesses save on National Insurance while also supporting the financial health of their employees.

Mintago is a complete financial wellbeing platform that offers a pension dashboard, financial wellbeing app and education programme, encouraging employees to take control of personal finances and improve pension wellbeing.

Tell us about yourself?

I am dedicated to championing happier workplaces.

I am the CEO & Founder of Mintago, previously co-founder of Perkbox, and began my career with tech giants including Microsoft, Amazon and Yahoo – with 21 years of professional experience. I am determined to help improve people’s financial education and wellbeing.

This passion translates into the work I do every day by creating an inspiring vision of the future and by motivating my team & those around me to engage with it.

My dedication has been vital this past year for the continuous growth of the business.

I have been working alongside my team to support each role – this meant also learning new things which did not pertain to the specific role I have as a CEO.

I hope that I have inspired the team to care about pension and financial wellbeing as much as I do, meaning that they truly value their work and this is shown in the finished product.

I am active in the wellbeing and startup community, as well as a hands-on individual. Since founding Perkbox, I strive to continue to make a positive impact in the wellbeing sector.

As a leader, I am a mentor for many with plenty of passion for supporting, educating and giving feedback both to my mentees – but also and especially to my teams.

If you could go back in time a year or two, what piece of advice would you give yourself?

A lot has happened over the last two years. We lived through Covid and the social and economic turmoil it created. My advice for myself would be to stay resilient and resourceful.

We need to be realistic about the world around us whilst being optimistic about our future. I would stress the importance of staying close to the people around you and looking for great people to work with.

I would tell myself to explore all opportunities provided to me and the business because you never know where these may take you. Always take the chance to network with people who you can help and who can help you to grow in return.

What problem does your business solve?

Mintago is unique as the platform allows employees to improve their financial and pension wellbeing whilst increasing their knowledge and confidence when it comes to their finances.

As well as helping employees, the business helps employers to implement the government’s salary sacrifice pension scheme, saving employers and employees money in National Insurance payments.

The platform offers services that actively help people to save money, whilst also providing useful information and empowering people to take control of their finances.

Mintago is unique in its ability to provide a comprehensive range of services for both employers and employees.

We are unbiased from a financial services perspective. Since we do not sell any financial products, we are able to support our clients holistically and they trust that we are truly aligned with their goals.

We are also building a great business and consumer brand around financial wellbeing in its truest sense.

We have grown to have thousands of users on the platform, have already saved £1m+ for businesses that use us and found £10+ million in lost pension pots through our pension hunter technology.

What is the inspiration behind your business?

Mintago was launched because of the supported belief that most people are not financially healthy and do not know how to address this.

There is a gap in the market for a platform that focuses entirely on financial wellbeing by starting with pensions (one of people’s largest assets). The business aims to make the process of managing pensions and finances easier for users of all backgrounds regardless of their financial situation.

Mintago is an unbiased financial platform empowering employees to improve financial wellbeing whilst helping businesses save on National Insurance through the government’s salary sacrifice pension scheme.

There are currently only 27% of SMEs who are taking advantage of the scheme- we facilitate the upgrade.

Mintago also offers a pension dashboard, financial wellbeing app and educational programme, encouraging employees to take control of personal finances and improve their overall financial wellbeing.

This is of growing importance against a backdrop of increasing costs, record levels of inflation, political conflicts and Covid.

What is your magic sauce?

We are doing a few things right and together they have combined to provide our customers with the best experience that is also unique in the market.

We start by understanding that financial wellbeing is an emotional and psychological problem as well as a financial problem. This means that we look at the psychology of money as a guide to getting people to adopt change and improve their finances.

We are unbiased as a business model, which allows us to truly solve issues for every customer without the need to sell a particular product. This is key as many financial wellbeing solutions on the market are essentially financial products which may not work for everyone.

As a complete financial wellbeing solution, we start by helping employees manage all of their past and current pensions in an unbiased way. Our pension hunter allows our users to easily locate and see all of their pensions in one place.

They can then decide if they want to keep them separate or combine them for ease and better results. They can also contribute with confidence to their current pension.

This is unique as many pension tracing services out there will consolidate traced pensions into their own fund, which may not be in the best interest of the user.

From there we also provide a whole suite of financial support from free IFA access, education, budgeting tools and much more. We are seeing real progress and change from our customers.

The cost of living crisis has really made people recognise the value that Mintago can provide and we are very pleased to support our customers in this time of need.

The Mintago pension hunter is a feature created to fill a gap in the market. Although the government pension finder helps employees to track down pension pots, the Mintago hunter only requires minimal information for experts to locate and retrieve lost pension pots for users.

Mintago’s pension hunting technology has a 90% success rate and allows searches to be conducted more efficiently. It is the starting point of a user’s financial wellbeing journey with the platform, with found pots factored into the insights users receive as to how best to plan their retirement and manage their pension contributions.

Mintago’s pension dashboard is a comprehensive platform that has the ability to forecast someone’s net wealth for their entire life by capturing their lifestyle choices.

Therefore, the outcome is extremely accurate and uniquely tailored to the individual. Accuracy is ensured by the inclusion of open banking and pension hunting, with this providing the most reliable data.

Mintago is keen to take steps towards open banking for pensions, again ensuring that users gain the most accurate portrayal of their situation and can manage their finances accordingly.

What is the plan for the next 5 years? What do you want to achieve?

There is plenty of success ahead of us.

With 73% of SMEs in the UK not on a salary sacrifice pension scheme, the backdrop of increased costs, difficulty in hiring and retaining staff, record levels of inflation and the National Insurance tax hike, conditions are perfect for a platform like Mintago that saves thousands for businesses and their employees.

With product market fit established, it is now about investing in our outreach, creating a wider funnel to secure leads and investing in our sales team to have the manpower to speak to and close those leads. We are planning to grow our sales team and invest in more marketing.

Mintago’s objective is to improve society’s financial wellbeing- we are very pleased that at this early stage of our business we can already say that we have made a material beneficial impact on our users. So far we have saved £1m+ for businesses and have found £10m+ of missing pensions for employees.

We are a completely unbiased platform that gives people control of their finances. Through the platform, we give users the ability to know exactly what they own (including any missing pensions from our pension hunting service).

We then help them plan and prioritise what they need to do (through our forecasting tool and financial education), with support from tools that will help them get there (including being able to amend their monthly pension contributions in our platform and speak to a financial adviser for free).

We are the only platform that provides all of these benefits for our users and are genuinely unbiased- we are not associated with a fund, we are not ourselves a fund and we don’t earn commission from referrals.

Our business model is providing Mintago as a benefit for employers to provide to their employees.

What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced so far?

I believe our business to be pretty strong, but the market changes over the last few years have made us adjust quite a lot to ensure that we are growing and serving our customers in the best way possible
We are very fortunate in that the market downturn has made people more aware of financial health and what we can do to help them improve their financial situation.

We were expecting to promote our business in a growing market, but since the cost of living increases due to inflation, we’ve seen that people tend to focus on their present financial problems a lot more instead of planning for the future.

This means that we need to help people save better and make the right decisions sooner because the market has changed so quickly.

How do people get involved/buy into your vision?

We work with businesses of all sizes from startups to those with thousands of employees. We help those with low-income staff to those with a higher-income team. Some of our customers already use salary sacrifice pension but love what our financial wellbeing platform can do for them.

We would like to see more businesses taking into consideration the importance of financial wellbeing. Ultimately, this is what helps their business as well as their employees, as financially healthy employees make for a happier, more productive workforce.

If you are a business looking to improve the financial wellbeing of your employees and save on National Insurance costs, feel free to reach out to us. We’d be more than happy to walk you through our platform. You can find us on our website at mintago.com or get in touch at [email protected]

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