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Department store partners with Nutmeg for UK wealth push

As it plans to spend £100m over the next five years to quadruple its financial services business

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British retailer John Lewis has joined forces with UK digital wealth manager Nutmeg to launch its first investment products to customers.

They have rolled out a junior Isa, stocks and shares Isa and a general investment account.

The three products aim “to help those who otherwise would not consider investing”, John Lewis Financial Services said in a statement.

The products will all invest in funds with high environmental, social, and governance (ESG) standards and customers’ money will focus on businesses which score highly in the areas of carbon emissions, climate change, renewable energy, social impact and ethical practices.

The launch forms part of its plans for 40% of the company’s profits to come from outside retail by 2030, and it has committed to spend £100m ($137m, €117m) over the next five years to quadruple its financial services business.

Survey

The move comes as John Lewis conducted a survey of 2,000 UK adults, which found 52% said the pandemic made them reassess how they spend and save.

Those continuing to save £1,000 or more has increased by almost 20% – and over two-thirds of people now want to spend that money on new and bigger goals like starting their own business or renovating their home.

The survey also showed that 72% would consider investing in stocks and shares rather than just putting their money into a current account, yet 59% said they were put off as they had no idea where to start or it was like a ‘different language’ to them.

Fewer than 10% of those surveyed said they already invested.

Amir Goshtai, John Lewis Financial Services director, said: “The pandemic has been tough for many, but others have managed to save more every month. They’ve also reassessed how they want to spend their money – more than ever, they want to secure their financial future and that of their families.

“Our products allow people to put money aside and to take that first step into what is often perceived as the complicated world of investments.

“This is where the trust and love that customers have for our brand combined with Nutmeg’s expertise can make a difference, while making John Lewis even more relevant for life’s big moments; whether that’s saving for a home or preparing for the arrival of a new baby.”

Record numbers of DIY investors

Holly Mackay, chief executive of Boring Money, said: “This is a really interesting move, coming after a year which saw a record numbers of UK adults become DIY investors for the first time. John Lewis has been flirting with the investment industry for years and it is interesting to see the timing of this engagement, confirming that investing has now firmly moved from the City to the digital high street.

“A major barrier for robo-advisers has been the cost of acquisition and the lack of consumer trust in smaller brands. This move deals with both headaches for Nutmeg, supporting customer acquisition and giving them association with one of the most recognised brands in the UK. It is quite valuable for Nutmeg as a badge of honour – I suspect the terms that John Lewis have been able to negotiate will have been extremely favourable.”

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