In the financial world, where access to certain markets is limited, one entrepreneur saw an opportunity to level the playing field. Before founding WiseAlpha, an award winning digital bond market platform, Rezaah Ahmad had already made his mark in the realms of M&A, Leveraged Finance, and Hedge Fund investments. Driven by a desire to create something remarkable, he embarked on a mission to bridge the gap in the corporate bond market.
This blog delves into the story of WiseAlpha, highlighting its evolution, significant achievements, and its positioning for future success in the ever-changing financial industry.
We’d love to know about your career before WiseAlpha and where you first found that entrepreneurial spark.
I spent part of my career working in M&A and Leveraged Finance, structuring and executing numerous multi-billion debt financing and advisory transactions. Following this, I worked for a Hedge Fund, investing in senior secured loans, high yield bonds and distressed debt. I always knew I wanted to run my own business and create something myself so I left early enough before it became too hard to make the jump.
During my time in the bond markets, I was struck by how closed and elite the corporate bond market was and how difficult it was for an individual just to buy a bog standard corporate bond. It’s crazy that you can invest easily in the equity of a large company, such as Ocado, but can’t easily buy its bonds. Clearly, there was a gap in the market and with the growth in Fintech and willing backers I made the decision to set up WiseAlpha and become an entrepreneur.
How has the business evolved since its launch?
We are the UK’s only digital bond market and created the business with the mission of democratising the corporate bond market. This remains our core focus.
It hasn’t been straight forward as there has been numerous vested interests and complicated regulation to navigate but we are winning those battles and now there is a widespread realisation that the lack of access to FTSE corporate bonds has been harmful to investors. We are the inventors of Fractional Bonds and the original global leaders in the democratisation of the bond market. Since we launched at the end of 2016, we have gradually built out our functionalities and features to create an enhanced user experience, built a robo-manager and expanded our range of bonds to cover most of the UK bond market.
More recently, we have become a SaaS for banks and other financial institutions globally, empowering them to provide Fractional Bonds to their clients. We believe, a combination of a direct to consumer offering and our business-to-business offering will enable us to increase penetration of the market, without spending millions of pounds on marketing.
What can you tell us about the market and how WiseAlpha is positioning themselves for success?
Some industry heavyweights are saying that Corporate Bonds are the must-have product for 2023. We are certainly positioned to take full advantage of this environment. For example, the likes of Hargreaves Lansdown and Brewin Dolphin are calling for bond-trading reform. We are now expanding our offering to wealth managers and other institutions to enable large volumes of investors to access the bond market.
WiseAlpha has been ahead of the game for a long time and we are able to serve clients directly through our online portal, or partners can use our white-label solution or access the market through our Wealth manager Client Management Portal. We are expanding B2B business marketing to wealth managers in the UK, building on the Titan Wealth deal we recently announced in the UK.
Can you share a success story or a significant achievement that WiseAlpha has experienced?
With regulatory change for the bond market taking place globally, WiseAlpha is at the forefront of this change supplying technology to leading institutions in their countries as the liberalisation of the bond markets happens jurisdiction by jurisdiction. Recently, we have implemented a partnership with a leading bank in their region that has over 1 million customers. We licensed our technology and white-labelled our platform for them so their clients can invest in Fractional Bonds. We expect to go-live in the next couple of months.
What are the aims of this raise and why right now is the best time to launch the campaign?
We are raising funds to make new hires so that we can deliver multiple partnerships at a time. Specifically, we would like to hire more engineers. Through our partnerships, we can achieve revenues in the millions per annum, which can help to further expand our business.
We are also a firm believer in democratisation and think it is only fair for a company like WiseAlpha who is democratising the bond market to work with a crowdfunding platform so that investors of all sizes can join us on this journey.
How do you envision the future of WiseAlpha and the impact it can make in the financial industry?
We are the original global leaders in calling for the democratisation of the bond markets. This is now already having a significant impact helping to drive forward discussions across the industry, with regulators and the government for further enhancements in access to corporate bonds.
What do you love to do in your free time?
I enjoy going out to dinner, going to comedy evenings, and watching films.
I am interested in government policy, history, politics and conversing online with others and researching other technical disciplines so that I have a full 360-degree view of the world for the next stage in my career after WiseAlpha whatever that may be.
If you weren’t building WiseAlpha, what do you think you’d be doing?
Working in government in policy.
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learnt so far building WiseAlpha?
Always be prepared for the unexpected. When you get knocked down get up again straight away and keep fighting. If you believe in your business and yourself you will succeed.
By democratising the corporate bond market and driving conversations for change, WiseAlpha is on a mission to position itself as an industry leader. To learn more check the campaign page.