ATB Investor Services knew they needed to update their offering to compete in a rapidly changing market, with threats from both established financial players, as well as new FinTech starts ups. We knew our customer centric approach to design, coupled with emerging market trends could create something that really appeals to their customers.

The impact of robo-advisors and the impact of FinTech on the investment industry has been a hot topic for the past couple of years. Startups like Nutmeg in the UK or Betterment in the US and Wealthsimple in Canada are delivering slick and simple user interfaces and are challenging what has traditionally been a ‘stodgy’ industry. Big businesses like Charles Scwhab and Fidelity are also offering new robo services that have lower management fees.

So how can a traditional and provincial financial institution compete in this market?

ATB Investor Services partnered with Market Gravity and together we sought to understand how they could be more relevant to the ‘mass market’ segment, 20-40 year olds with less than $100k in investible assets.

Over the course of 15 weeks, we developed a new proposition together.


In the bitterly cold depths of a Canadian winter, we really got to understand Albertans through a series of in-home customer interviews to go deep on their hopes and aspirations, financial understanding and current investment activities.

The interviews formed the foundation of our insight. We also spoke with financial advisors, reviewed the competitors and scanned the globe for disruptive trends and precedents in other markets.

We took the team away from the office to the Calgary Olympic Park, the scene of Cool Runnings and Eddie the Eagle, for an ‘insight hothouse’ to share what we had all learned, pull out the killer insights and generate some big ideas.


  • Everyone talks about saving for retirement at a young age. But telling customers they need at least $1m just turns them off saving anything. It seems unachievable. ATB needed to make savings and investments feel more manageable. They needed to make it feel easier for customers to just start saving.
  • Financial Institutions are often motivated by assets under management. Yet the real win with this segment is new customer accounts. These accounts will grow with the business over time and become the next generation mass affluent and high net worth customers. This creates longer term value for the bank.
  • Savings seem easy, investments feel complicated. Customers want to save for a rainy day, a house or for their retirement and investments are a means to an end. Too much complex investment information puts customers off investing. ATB needed to make it more about personal goals and less about the actual products.
  • With products like credit cards, customers are rewarded for spending money. So why can’t customers be rewarded for saving money too?


As a result of our insight and our ideation sessions, we had a range of potential features that could be tested with potential customers. Customers reviewed a visualization of these ideas on their mobile device and recorded their feedback in a short video.

Working together with the team at ATB, we brought these features together to form a clear, focused single proposition – ATB Prosper.

Prioritizing features is never easy. It’s hard to kill off ideas, but crucial to developing something simple, coherent and appealing to customers. To make this easier, we created a game called ‘Proposition Poker’.

We wrote the best features onto blank playing cards and created a competitive game amongst the team. Each member had to create the best proposition using just five features. They could trade with each other, or play a joker (hockey goalie, Devan Dubnyk) to steal a card from a colleague. Whilst it was light hearted fun, it really helped us get ruthless with features that were essential to the proposition and lose the ones that weren’t.


We then set about making our idea real. We developed a more detailed and refined prototype, constantly testing and iterating with customers. We tested it with customers in-branch in Calgary, with a video advisor interaction mocked up using Skype.

By the time we left Alberta, ATB had an interactive prototype which brought the customer journey, multiple rounds of qualitative and quantitative customer feedback, a customer explainer video and an initial commercial case.


ATB Prosper makes saving and investing simple for customers to achieve the goals most important to them.

When customers tell Prosper about their money and savings goals, Prosper provides advice on how to help achieve them. Whether saving for a new home, a major purchase, retirement or just putting money away for a rainy day – ATB Prosper can help. Customers can start with just $100, track their progress through a simple dashboard and get rewarded with a $5 Prosper bonus for every $1000 they save.


Following the completion of our work, ATB have worked with a leading software development team from Toronto to build the proposition. The team have developed the product at the same time as training the ATB team in agile development practices.

ATB Prosper has just launched in the market – we can’t can’t wait to see how it performs! We know savings and investments can be tough for many Canadians, but we hope ATB Prosper will make it a little simpler.

Reflecting on the project

Tony Sevenko
VP for Mass Market at ATB Investor Services

“The work the Market Gravity team did to research, test concepts and ideas for a new digital investment platform was instrumental in the development of ATB Prosper. Their iterative approach, tools, expert insights, and creative thinking got us to a place we would not have got to on our own. The output of our work together gave us the foundation we needed to confidently engage with a developer to build a more compelling application. The result was ATB Prosper – a smart, simple, helpful investing application that will attract the next generation of investor to ATB Investor Services.” 

Iain Montgomery
Engagement Manager, Market Gravity New York

“It is really exciting to see the fruits of our work together with the ATB team come to market in ATB Prosper. Working day to day with incredibly talented and motivated people, like Tony and his team, to help a traditional financial institution bring something new and innovative to market is what we love doing. Congratulations ATB!”

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