When Pawel Brzeminski came to Canada via Poland 15 years ago, one of the first things he noticed was a difference in how people in North America managed their money: he noted that people had more of it, but they didn’t seem to know how to plan for the future effectively.
What began as a culture shock for Pawel eventually developed into Snap Projections in 2014, an innovative way to solve problems within Canada’s financial services industry, combining Pawel’s background in software engineering with financial planning expertise into one user-friendly software package.
Before even writing any code, Pawel began his mission by uncovering what financial planners and advisors were struggling with on a day-to-day basis, sitting down with over a hundred of them across Western Canada and asking, “how can I help you run your business?”
Results revealed that financial planners had some key issues with existing planning tools on the market: data entry was a chore, creating and updating projections took too long, and a better reporting format was needed as most clients weren’t inclined to read 60-page reports created for them.
In addition to this, the financial planning industry is constantly changing with new legislation, fees and products being introduced which directly impact soon-to-be retirees the most. It was clear that consumers, and their planners, needed a better way to predict how a client structures his/her affairs in order to properly accumulate and de-accumulate wealth. With 10 million people in Canada aged 55 and over, it’s a market segment that cannot be ignored.
Snap Projections offers a way to help financial services professionals (financial planners, investment advisors, and portfolio managers) better help their clients plan for the future by ensuring they don’t run out of money in retirement, or are making use of tax-advantaged accounts, for example. Multiple scenarios can be mapped out (let’s say a client wants to retire early, or delay receiving Canadian Pension Plan and Old Age Security benefits), with results for these hypothetical futures appearing in an instant.
The product narrows the gap between the client and the advisor by getting the client more involved in the planning process: “Consumers need someone to help them along, and act as a coach, offering advice and feedback,” says Pawel.
Pawel designed Snap Projections’ software and recruited Michal Swidrak, Lead Developer, to implement it. Their teamwork resulted in a tool that planners and clients can sit down with and interactively make changes to a plan in real time. Pawel explains: “this way, planning can be done immediately, which has a profound impact on the business. The client is more engaged, becomes more educated, and appreciates more what the planner does for them. Client satisfaction goes up, and the planner can get more referrals.”
Pawel and Michal knew the idea would fly when they found advisors ready to purchase before the product was even launched. After being in business for barely two years, Snap Projections is already boasting a high growth rate: over 20 per cent net growth per month. Additionally, the user interface has received a lot of accolades for its easy-to-use interface.
As TEC Centre tenants, Pawel and Michal agree that there is a lot of value to be gained from working in close proximity to the TEC Edmonton network as well as other companies in the same building: “The ‘hallway communications’ are very useful,” Pawel explains. “You can compare notes on hiring, and running things. It’s great value for any company.”
Snap Projections has a lot to be proud of in it’s short life – the company is moving ahead and growing its team at the same time. As it helps Canadians plan for their financial futures, it can be assured that its own future is bright.