The platform chosen this time is Akoni Hub Limited, a platform for individuals, businesses, charities and non-profits and financial advisers – it currently offers some competitive savings accounts via its platform, which you might want access to. But just what is it and what value can it add to you?
Background information | About the platform | Today's savings market | Who might Akoni be right for? | Fees | Application process and customer service | Maturity process | Dashboard and tools | A final word...
Akoni was founded in 2015 and is an innovative Fintech company based in London. Felicia, the CEO, founded the company because of her frustration as a Finance Director of an SME, who could not find a solution to meet the need for effective cash management.
Akoni is a cash management platform for individuals, SMEs, sole traders, charities and non-profits and financial advisers - a platform that provides a simple and complete solution to actively manage cash with strong governance and improved returns. The key benefits are:
- Increased returns by actively managing the cash through the platform
- Access to multiple banks to diversify risk without the hassle of having to complete multiple application forms
- Automated prompts when products change, for efficient ongoing cash management.
- A Range of cash management tools driven by data.
- A single view of all cash savings, wherever they may be held.
Akoni is an award winning FCA regulated platform partnering with wealth platforms, financial institutions and currently works with 22 partner banks, offering a range of savings products on the platform.
Akoni Hub is a platform of the pick and mix variety. Think of it like a supermarket which offers a variety of savings accounts to choose from.
The key benefit of a savings platform is that you can open a number of different accounts with different providers, but you only have to fill in an application form once and only need to satisfy ‘know your client’ identification checks once when you set up your Akoni Hub account.
Individuals are able to increase their returns on cash assets over existing options via a fully digital one-off application process including ‘Know Your Client’ and Anti Money Laundering checks. Its Hub and Panel model and Trust Framework enable hassle free multi-bank access
Individuals also have access to Smart tools including improved cash planning, personalised products, open banking nudges and liquidity and risk management.
In addition, a single view of all cash assets including deposits held at other institutions, enabled for future prompts is possible.
The platform is a “one stop” shop for businesses, addressing their needs for cash management, taking into account aspects like governance and liquidity requirements.
Businesses can create a draft portfolio to view different scenarios prior to deciding. Through the dashboard, SMEs can manage their cash by opening/closing deposits but they can also track external deposits that they have with banks that are not part of the panel.
All deposits are then included in the liquidity chart, which gives them an overview on when the funds would be available and how much. This is a very valuable tool for planning.
Additionally, Akoni incorporates features for risk-based decisions and governance requirements, such as counterparty and risk exposure.
Akoni partners with Fitch Solutions to offer the Fitch Financial Implied Rating (FIR), which is an alternative to the traditional credit rating that is based on limited financial metrics and provides greater coverage as all banks with public financial information have a FIR. This allows businesses to work with banks not traditionally rated as well as to compare them on risk basis.
Akoni is simple and easy to use:
- Free registration and use of the tools – but there is a fee if you decide to complete the form and open deposits.
- Build a portfolio with the products offered by the panel banks.
- Easily track deposits you currently have with your bank.
- Simply fund your hub account that sits with Barclays and Akoni will place those funds into the deposit product you selected.
- Instructions to open/close a deposit can easily be placed via the platform.
- Akoni always follows your instructions.
There is no minimum required to use the Akoni platform, however given the fee, it is better value for those looking to deposit more than £100,000 into one or multiple cash savings accounts.
Akoni Hub currently has partnerships with 22 UK savings providers, 11 of which offer savings products on the platform, including easy access, notice accounts and fixed term deposits.
The Akoni Hub platform is for individuals, businesses (including sole traders), charities and non-profits, financial advisers and their clients. As well as limited companies, example of some of the institutions that use the platform include schools, religious institutions, letting agents, solicitors and insurance companies.
Of course, just because a product is on the platform, doesn’t mean that it is a best buy, especially when you deduct the platform fee. But sometimes simplicity and convenience is the best option, which is why these platforms are being developed. If they encourage savers to move their money from the High Street banks and therefore earn more, whilst keeping more of it safe, that’s a better option than not moving the money at all.
You can always check what the very best rates on the market are by looking at our best buy tables.
As mentioned above, Akoni is not whole of market; it currently has partnerships with eleven UK banks, Barclays, Aldermore, Metro Bank, Hodge Bank, Clydesdale Bank, Arbuthnot, OakNorth, Investec, Shawbrook, Hampshire Trust and Cater Allen, offering easy access, notice accounts and fixed term deposits.
However, just because these accounts are on the platform, this doesn’t automatically mean they are market leading – so it makes sense to check the competition on our best buy tables or call one of our savings experts on 0800 011 9705.
If the following characteristics meet your requirements, the Akoni Platform could be the solution to your cash needs as you can open multiple savings accounts, with multiple providers without having to make multiple applications.
And as the platform offers access to easy access and notice accounts, as well as fixed term bonds, if you are looking for a way to earn more than your high street bank is offering, this could be the simple alternative you need, to leaving your funds languishing and potentially unprotected.
- There is no minimum portfolio and there are products available for a minimum of as little as £1,000, however, some other products have minimums of £10,000 and £100,000. Plus, as there is a fee to use the platform, it is better value for businesses looking to deposit more than £100,000 of cash between multiple providers.
- Registration is free and once you have found accounts you are interested in, if you then choose to proceed, you will need to apply online and this process includes confirming the platform Terms & Conditions and acknowledging the fees (as explained below). Once you are onboarded, there will be no more paperwork to complete.
- Apply once and satisfy upfront ID checks - you will need to send the necessary address and ID documents along with the application – but no separate ID checking is required for every new savings account opened.
Akoni charges an annual minimum commitment fee of £50 incl of Vat for individuals and £100plus VAT for businesses. This fee will be offset against the ongoing platform fee which operates on a tiered structure ranging from 0.20% to 0.10% depending on deposit size.
Application Process and Customer Service
You can set up an Akoni account and choose a variety of products online.
In order to decide whether Akoni is right for you, create an account online and choose some accounts that might be appropriate. If you decide that the accounts available could be what you are looking for, choose to ‘Activate’ your Akoni account and you will be prompted to apply online, using the online application form.
The online application for business and individuals is completely paperless due to our Cash Connect function of connecting your nominated bank account via Open Banking and our ID verification being completed digitally.
- ID - all individual applicants and at least two directors (or one if only one is appointed) and the principle shareholders of the business will need to supply identification documents along with the application form, but as mentioned earlier, this is the only time you’ll need to do this. Once you have passed the ID checks and are accepted onto the Akoni Hub, you will be able to choose multiple accounts without having to make multiple applications.
When you have been onboarded, you will receive a welcome email with the details of your Hub Account (sort code and account number) as well as your unique reference number so you can fund your Hub. Every time you fund your Hub account, transfers should include this reference number. Akoni may also contact you, by telephone or email to reconfirm the deposits.
You can pay into your Akoni Hub Account (held by Barclays) by a single electronic transfer or multiple transfers for smaller amounts, (if necessary over a series of days,) depending on your banking arrangements and costs of transactions. Faster payment transfers have a daily limit but are cheaper than CHAPS (paying the £20- £30 fee).
As soon as you send the money and the deposit has been instructed, Akoni will initiate the transfer of the funds from the Hub Account to the new providers and place the instruction to open the deposit. The confirmation of the opening of the deposit from the selected bank can take a couple of days, however in most cases the interest is backdated to the day the funds were sent to them, so you do not lose any interest. This is always subject to a cut-off time which varies from bank to bank. To guarantee same day transfers instructions and funds should be received by Akoni before 1pm.
Your money is always held by any of the banks mentioned above (hub or panel) in a trust account of which you are the beneficiary, so you do not have risk exposure to Akoni.
You will also be protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) for up to £85,000, that is applicable to each individual provider, in line with the FSCS rules and requirements.
This does mean, however, that you need to be wary of placing more than £85,000 with a provider that your company already has funds with – although you are in control of where your money is placed. Akoni provides the ability to manage cash across multiple banks, providing risk diversification, a particularly key criteria for corporates and charities.
As this platform includes instant access and notice accounts, you can choose to redeem funds from your portfolio. If you choose to make a withdrawal from a notice account, you will be notified when the funds are to be transferred to the Hub Account AFTER the notice period is up.
Once the funds are back in the Hub Account, you can then request them to be either moved to a different savings account or choose to have it sent back to your nominated current account.
On maturity of a fixed term deposit, if no instruction has been given, the initial deposit and interest will be returned to the Hub Account with Barclays. But it will remain there until you give your instruction as to where it should go next – either back to your linked current account, or into a new savings account via Akoni Hub. Akoni will send notifications and prompts to try to ensure any deposits are not left languishing in the hub account.
The platform cannot automatically move the funds out of the Hub Account, so it is the customer’s responsibility to confirm what happens to the funds next. Otherwise the funds will stay in the Hub Account, earning no interest, potentially unprotected if it is more than £85,000 and fees will also continue to be charged. As mentioned above, Akoni will prompt the customer if funds remain in the Hub account.
The reporting of what accounts you hold on the platform is important and is a tool to help you make decisions. Akoni provides a dashboard so that you can view all your accounts in one place – showing you the balance, interest rates and maturity dates. There is also a liquidity chart that shows you what cash is available month on month so that you can plan ahead and match it with your expenditures
The Counterparty Chart graphically shows you how your cash is split between providers and therefore how much exposure to them you have. The Risk Allocation chart is based on the Fitch Financial Implied Rating and shows your exposure to risk
There is also a semi-annual statement showing all transactions across all your deposits and your Hub account, including any interest paid. This is a huge benefit as we know how just how much hassle it can be getting this from individual savings providers.
Akoni offers individuals and businesses a simple way to make their cash earn more interest, by choosing the best products from those available on the platform, while addressing counterparty and risk diversification.
This can include easy access, fixed rates and notice accounts – and hopefully the choice of account types and providers will continue to increase going forward. We will keep you up to date on this.
As well as the above mentioned platform, Akoni also provides a dynamic cash solution for Independent Financial Advisers (IFAs) and their clients including:
- Governance and regulatory review and reporting dashboard- we personalise solutions and prompt financial products to the company.
- Cash regulatory and legal requirements- checklist for companies subject to specific requirements including FCA’s client money regulations (CASS), Section 42 and fiduciary obligations of trustees.
- Cashflow modelling and cash portfolio rebalance- cashflow modelling based on client requirements, utilising Akoni’s own bespoke licenced cashflow model and where required, company training.
For more information, contact Akoni and ask them about their solution for Financial Advisors.
These offers will change, so you’ll need to keep an eye on how they compare with the wider market.
Obviously, the best option is to open up the highest-paying accounts available from the whole market, but we understand that some people just don’t want the hassle or don’t have the time.
So, if you’re looking for simplicity when opening multiple accounts and you’ve money sitting in a dreadful account, such as NS&I Income Bonds or the Lloyds Business Banking Easy Access paying a paltry 0.01% - then you’ll get a better return with Akoni. So, don’t sit back and do nothing, make the switch to a better account.
*We are occasionally paid by some providers if you click through from our Best Buy Tables and open a savings or current account with them. We will never accept a payment that compromises in any way our independent, whole of market approach to providing information on savings products. For clarity we will indicate those companies who remunerate us with an asterisk (*).
All rates correct at the date of publication.