Merlin Investor: The smart financial advisor
Guido Petrelli, CEO, Merlin Investor

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Merlin Investor: The smart financial advisor

An experienced corporate executive with demonstrated history and track record in creating and running international companies in several industries and regions, Guido Petrelli is the CEO of Merlin Investor, a fintech company that aims to democratize financial inclusion and investment strategies through a software for market study, investment planning, and portfolio tracking designed for any kind of investor. In an interview, Guido speaks on an array of subjects. Excerpts:

Conception of Merlin Investor

Says Guido that the world has seen an unprecedented shift in the approach to investing, with the new generation of retail investors being reluctant to entrust third parties for managing their own money while seeking to achieve financial freedom. “Still, we identified the need to educate and empower them with the necessary tools for conscious investing, risk management and strategic planning, as the key elements to become successful and the one and only master of their own financial future.” He adds that trading platforms did a great job in starting a democratization process in the investments space, still they mainly focused on the execution, which alone is not enough and may trigger a gambling approach, especially for beginner investors. “That’s why we saw the need of supporting the new generations to manage the whole investment cycle, while understanding the importance of strategic planning and risk diversification as the key to achieve positive results.”

The Merlin solution

The Merlin Platform is a multi-asset educational, strategizing and tracking tool, complementary to any trading platform and designed for any kind of retail investor, regardless of the level of knowledge or experience. “Our technology has been developed with the goal to enhance conscious investing for everyone and to empower the new generations to easily understand and manage the full investment cycle all in one place, while also taking into consideration the role that social media plays today when it comes to investing.” To complete the trading experience already offered by banks and trading platforms, the technology has been designed as a white label solution that financial institutions can easily integrate into their own digital platforms to offer an innovative, complete, and comprehensive digital investing experience to their clients.

Merlin Investor – the conscious way of investing

Maintains Guido that only through strategic planning is it possible to balance and diversify risks while building long term positive results. “To buy and sell assets without a plan would only set you up for potential catastrophic losses. It’s the norm for all professional investors, and it shall be the same also for the new generation of retail investors considering they are playing the same game.”

Guido explains how the company found out most young folks who trade are investing without a strategy mindset. It’s a very risky approach for them, and therefore for the society, because historically markets have ups and downs, and only thanks to a positive sum game based on risk management is possible to build long lasting wealth and reach a real financial independence. “The analogy I can see is that the spread in the use of retail trading platforms has given anyone a Ferrari to drive, a very powerful but risky solution, but before doing that we missed to educate and equip them with the basic tools for conscious driving.” The result is that when the weather is nice, and there are no bumps or holes in the road, meaning when we are in a bull market, everybody believes to be the best driver in the world. Then when the conditions change the probability to crash becomes huge.”

Based on this analogy, the company is on a mission; its moots for conscious investing and strategic planning, that is made accessible to all, regardless the level of knowledge or experience. “Through our product, we gamified the full investment cycle by making market study, investment planning, and performance tracking, understandable and fun for the new generation of retail investors, with the ultimate goal to help and empower them to become the one and only master of their own financial future. Then by embedding our white label technology into their own digital platform financial institutions can go beyond the sole execution of trades while offering a full and professional investment experience to anyone and all in one place.”

Creating perfect synergies between fintech companies and financial Institutions

“I believe fintech companies have a great spirit of innovation which is not biased and affected by old best practices or past consumer behaviours. This is combined with high flexibility, speed, and risk attitude. At the same times banks have a strong understanding in terms of compliance, which is very important to make a new technology deployable into the market, together with deep market reach and a huge and loyal consumer base acquired through the years, which makes possible to effectively deploy a new technology to a wide audience in a very short period.”  Guido adds that combining the expertise of fintech companies and financial institutions, to exploit synergies and to create the perfect mix for a huge market success of new financial technologies should be the new approach. “Our approach is to work very close to the banking system in a proactive and constructive way, so that each party can learn from the other and add value in identifying the best formula for the best product market fit towards mutual success. That’s why I personally see a very collaborative and synergic approach between Fintech companies and Financial Institutions as the key for proper innovation in the banking system in the interest of both sides, and more important in the interest of the customer base who is ultimately served.”

Innovation – The key

Guido believes that the success for fintech startups comes from their strong ability to innovate and quickly deploy cutting-edge and cost-competitive technologies into the market for the benefit of financial institutions. They are just great in seeing things differently as they are not biased by past best practices, old cultural mindsets, and regulatory constraints. “So, It’s crucial they don’t lose such DNA as It’s the primary competitive advantage they can play, and the same is true for any technological company which becomes a leader in its own space.”

Also accept the fact there is no company or product that comes around without problems or risks, so get used to fixing problems and to take risks, and while you do that always remember that you didn’t wake up today to be mediocre, he adds.

Future of Fintech startups

“I am personally very positive about the future of Fintech startups as I believe we are just at the beginning of a new era where financial institutions need to quickly reinvent themselves through technological innovations to handle a very competitive market environment, and Fintech startups can play an important role in supporting the banking system to properly accomplish such transition.”

Notes Guido that until recently, and for many years, the interaction between the bank and its customers was happening at a physical branch and through a face-to-face interaction, while banks were relying on less technological intensive internal processes. “It’s not the case anymore for many customers, and It’s expected to almost disappear in the next decades with the new generation of customers preferring digital solutions and interactions as a much quicker and effective alternative. Also banks internal processes will continue to be digitalized to boost efficiency in running their business. That’s why I believe the demand for new financial technologies will continue to rise in the next coming years, while opening up to huge opportunities for Fintech startups that will be able to deploy innovative and reliable products.”

Challenges galore – Fintechs

This entrepreneur believes in finding the right balance between innovation, speed, and compliance within the BFSI regulatory framework. “Fintech companies by their own nature are used to innovate fast through quick experimentation, while the BFSI sector, due to its magnitude and old-dated cultural approach, struggles to continuously reinvent itself and to keep up with the speed demanded by an always more and more challenging, evolving, and competitive landscape.” I believe that synergic and strategic partnerships between fintech companies and financial Institutions can deliver the ultimate result of deploying properly regulated and innovative solutions for the benefit of the society.

Leadership traits

“I believe that as a leader my primary duty is to envision and strategize the path of the company moving forward and towards a brighter future for our team and for the stakeholders we involve, while keeping mediocrity out of the door and making sure my organization is aligned with the same sense of commitment, accountability, passion, and ambition I own.” A hard-working, curious, and ambitious anti-conformist, Guido refuses to accept something just because it became an accepted standard by shaping the past to become the norm.

He urges fellow entrepreneurs to acknowledge the fact that failure is part of the game. “It will become your very worst enemy leading first you and your team, and then the company, to wreck. You can’t always win, so you should rather focus on scoring a positive-sum game, as It’s all that matters in the end.”

“There are many learnings I made along the road and that helped to shape the mantras I follow in my professional life. If you intend to increase your chance of success, then start by being conscious that there are no free lunches and that you always need to give all you have without leaving anything for the way back.”

Future of Merlin

The company is currently focused on three main areas. Prioritizing continuous and never-ending improvement of its technology aimed to upgrade the experience they offer either to financial institutions and to the final users to who our product is deployed, working to boost their market presence to make their solution known to more financial institutions serving retail clients in several countries, and eventually concentrating on scaling their team and operations to be able to handle the opportunities they foresee. “As we expect the trend of retail investors to continue increasing on global scale, also in new markets we believe carrying great potentials, and considering we have a scalable and customizable digital solution which can be adopted by any bank in every country, we are currently working to position ourselves to manage expectations, without forgetting about our mission to make conscious and strategic investing accessible to anyone through strategic partnerships with Financial Institutions.”

Company: Merlin Investor

Website: www.merlininvestor.com

Management: Guido Petrelli, CEO

Founded Year: 2021

Headquarters: West Palm Beach, FL

Description: Merlin Investor is a Fintech company on a mission to democratize financial inclusion and investment strategies through a software for market study, investment planning, and portfolio tracking designed for any kind of retail investor.

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