Robo-Advice – an industry divided?

Robo-Advice – an industry divided?

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February’s Space Money Talks forum demonstrated in no uncertain terms that the FS industry is a long way from achieving consensus on the role that Robo-Advice should – and could – play in the future.

Following the forum session, our moderator John Lappin took the panellists aside to give them an opportunity to expand on the viewpoints aired earlier around the Money Talks table.

It’s clear that some panellists such as LV=’s Phil Brown and Chris Daems of AE in a Box have taken to Robo-Advice like the proverbial duck to water, whilst others are, to put it mildly, yet to be convinced.

A massive opportunity or a leap into ‘cloud-cuckoo’ land?

LV= are now offering a full-blown Robo-Advice service for pension planning with their Retirement Wizard. So, not surprisingly, LV= Head of Policy Phil Brown is a passionate advocate of Robo-Advice’s potential benefits to supplier and customer alike. He suggests that there are half a million people who are in danger of a sub-optimal retirement and who are therefore an ideal target for Robo-Advice.

Compare this with the views of Michael Ward, MD of comparison site payingtoomuch.com. Michael doesn’t believe that the general public will readily accept Robo-Advice or be prepared to pay for it in large numbers.

He’s also concerned about the risk of a site like his own giving potentially incorrect advice to literally thousands of people.

Pensions expert Billy Burrows goes even further, believing that – in his own words – it’s ‘cloud-cuckoo land’ to suggest that Robo-Advice can replace an adviser when dealing with such an emotive topic as retirement.

Agree or disagree?  Our panellists outline their contrasting points of view in this short summary video.

 

Engaging customers – is segmentation the key?

Marilyn Cole of Space believes that a lot needs to be done to rebuild the public’s trust in the financial services sector generally – and its ability to give advice – before Robo-Advice can truly take off.

A key part of this, she believes, is understanding what it is that consumers actually want from Robo-Advice and, secondly, ensuring we learn from their behaviour when they’re interacting with it.

However, Keith Churchouse, Director of online planning site SaidSo.co.uk doesn’t see these barriers. He suggests that Robo-Advice will be accepted far more openly by the so-called ‘millennials’ – consumers under 40 or so who have grown up with technology.

Chris Daems supports the view that Robo-Advice can succeed extremely well in certain discrete audience segments – such as Auto Enrolment advice for smaller UK companies, the market that AE in a Box specifically targets.

But whichever viewpoint you share, one thing about Robo-Advice is absolutely certain: this is a debate that’s going to run and run!

You can watch the main Robo-Advice debate and all the full individual interviews on the Space Money Talks YouTube channel

Download Robo-Advice Report

You can get the full story from the Space Money Talks Robo-Advice session by downloading our free PDF report.

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