Robo-advice is here to stay and resistance is futile.
That’s the stark message from financial forecasters eValue which this week hosted a breakfast roundtable in the City. It looked at how the financial services industry can make the successful transition from face-to-face to online simplified advice.
The discussion focused on how financial services could learn from other industries in order to become a success story, and go the way of John Lewis, Thomas Cook and Specsavers, rather than Woolworths or Blockbuster.
A large part of the discussion centred on the view that many IFAs are naturally resistant to the idea of robo-advice, yet they are starting to see it as an opportunity to build a future client base. It was generally agreed that robo-advice should be seen as a tool to expand advisers’ markets and create new consumers, rather than cutting into their current client base. The point being that 30-to-40-somethings are looking to online advice first and may well be the people who seek face-to-face advice later.
Technical Sales Director at eValue Andrew Storey said: “Many advisers are seeing robo-advice as a threat, as something which will take over their job. However, it is clear that robots can’t provide the human touch but can support the advice process for customers who wouldn’t otherwise access advice. As a result, it’s a great opportunity to bring on board future face-to-face clients to those adviser firms that can embrace it.
“The fears of advisers need to be understood and they need to be taken on the digital journey. Just as the betting industry encouraged cashiers to get involved in the digital transition, financial services providers should empower staff to keep advice in-house and prevent potential clients from going to online competitors. Digital must be used as a way of catering to current clients and engaging with new customers.”