British asset manager Schroders has acquired a minority stake in fintech start-up Qwil Messenger to improve ease of communication with clients. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

In May this year, Qwil became the first fintech start-up to have joined Schroders’ global in-residence programme, known as Cobalt.

Qwil’s flagship product is a chat platform that enables firms and clients across the globe to communicate directly through a single app.

After joining the Cobalt programme, Qwil launched a live service for customers in July. Working in partnership with Schroders under the programme, Qwil developed a product that complies with the security and regulatory requirements of global enterprises.

The chat platform is now in use within Schroders’ businesses. Additionally, it has been deployed by other financial services and professional firms.

Schroders chief digital officer Graham Kellen said: “Qwil has developed a product which we believe has significant potential to improve the engagement Schroders has with clients, partners and businesses.

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“This investment is already tangible evidence of the success of Schroders’ Cobalt programme.”

Following the investment in the Qwil, Schroders has joined the former’s board.

Schroders Innovation and Fintech Alliances head Charlotte Wood said: “We believe that Qwil’s product solves a real industry challenge, increasing the ease of communication for staff, clients and partners while ensuring the highest standards of privacy and confidentiality are achieved.

“With the implementation of GDPR and the growing focus on data security, the timing is excellent for Qwil’s product to gain momentum in the market.”

Launched in April 2018, Cobalt was designed to nurture financial services-focussed start-ups.

As part of the programme, Schroders collaborated with start-ups which have progressed beyond the conceptual or pre-product stage to support their development. Firms selected for the programme will have direct access to relevant business divisions within Schroders, as well as resources and potential investment.