The UK saver and investor will be increasingly served by consumer-led technology, but digital advice still needs an element of the human touch, says Simon Binney, business development director at Wealth Wizards.
While the idea of a fully automated saving and investment process with no human intervention made for an exciting business case, the fact is only a minority of people feel confident in making their own investment decisions. We all need advice of one sort or another, whether that is basic guidance and triage to start investing or saving into a pension, or more complex advice for areas such as estate planning.
Which is why, what is proving to work as a financial advice model is not ‘robo-advice’ as many envisaged, but consumer-led and human-assisted advice. It is a process that is built on trust and incremental engagement with the customer. In this way, the advice process can be tailored to the customer’s needs while still being delivered cost effectively.
Consumer-led services for basic investment and saving needs, which hand holds the investor through the process to transaction with a carefully constructed triage process, chat bots and guidance, are going to both help advisers reach more people with regulated advice and guidance.
And running alongside that will be a similar digital onboarding process for customers with a need to speak to an adviser, for example where they have more complex needs, which refers them to an adviser at just the right time in the process.
Here, the customer is taken down a quick, easy-to-use digital process, which they can complete when it’s convenient to them, and access to an adviser can be dialled in when it’s clear it is required. But the heavy lifting of gathering the customer’s data has already been done meaning the adviser can straight away get down to talking about the customer’s needs and goals, i.e., the value elements of advice to the client.
Technology used this way perfectly complements the human advice process allowing firms to meet the advice need of many more people while maintaining a focus on face-to-face advice (whether physical or virtual).
For nationals, networks and consolidating advice firms, who are looking to broaden their client banks amongst mass affluent clients and bridge the intergenerational wealth gap, the consumer-led and human-assisted approach offers huge opportunities.