Family business proves that heart and compassion can stand up to data-harvesting giants
In an industry obsessed with data and overwhelmed by data breaches, Edinburgh-based father and daughter have teamed up to take on the challenge of providing trusted financial advice whilst protecting the public’s privacy concerns. Emerging from frustration at the unethical data-harvesting practices of bigger financial services, Grant and Mhairi MacDonald launched online directory Find it Near Me in 2020 to give the power back to the public.
Find it Near Me is a directory of advisers that strives to be balanced and transparent. “We prioritise the public’s privacy – we take no personal details and they receive no cold calls. This means the power is in the prospect client’s hands to contact the Adviser they want to work with.” says Grant MacDonald, Find it Near Me. “We are rejecting the conventional practices of the Goliaths of the finance industry by empowering the public and protecting their privacy.”
It’s been just over one year since the directory was launched, and Grant and Mhairi are happy to have met a benchmark of over 50 advisers on the site. That’s 52 Financial Advisers from across Scotland and the North of England that believe the public’s privacy should be prioritised.
When a member of the public searches for financial advisers online they will find a variety of third party search engine companies that harvest and then sell their personal details to financial advisers for a fee. The adviser then will cold call the person which can be distressing.
Privacy concerns about data are global and local. In 2019, Facebook were fined $5 billion to settle Cambridge Analytica privacy violations for mishandling consumer data, while in 2020 campaigners voiced concerns after the Health Department admitted the UK’s Covid track-and-trace programme was launched without an assessment of its impact on privacy.
“61% of UK consumers worry about how their personal data is being used by companies and 55% now prefer to be anonymous when browsing online,” says Chase Buckle, Trends Manager at GlobalWebIndex.