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Big providers prime targets for automated advice

Big financial institutions already operating in this country are the most likely providers to roll out roboadvice in the near future, says the man behind an online KiwiSaver information and comparison site.

Tuesday, October 18th 2016, 6:00AM

by Susan Edmunds

Binu Paul

Binu Paul, of SavvyKiwi, is next month hosting an event, Finnotec 2016, which will discuss financial innovation and technology, including roboadvice.

The new version of the Financial Advisers Act will make this possible for the first time.

But Paul said New Zealand should not expect to see any new start-ups rolling out roboadvice soon.

Things such as the cost of building a database would be prohibitive, he said.

“At the end of the day it will be the incumbents who will find the most traction with roboadvice,” he said.

Roboadvice would largely be used as a customer acquisition and marketing strategy by big operators such as banks and fund managers, he said.

“It will give them the ability to provide advice to more people who currently don’t receive advice. The technology was always there, this just makes it more nimble and personalised and customised for the individual.”

Big operators would already have the customer base and brand required to roll out a robo offering, he said.

“In terms of commercial viability, incumbents stand the best chance. But that’s not necessarily roboadvice. I call it roboselling. They end up distributing their own products rather than providing an independent view of what’s best. Independence might be the casualty in all this.”

Paul said when he approached Callaghan Innovation about funding for SavvyKiwi in 2013, he had told them that his plan was to start with a focus on KiwiSaver but to eventually expand that beyond that.

He said he was not rushing into any further roboadvice at this stage but had had three or four incumbents talk to him about creating a platform that would extend beyond KiwiSaver.

“That means, suddenly from day one, you have a lot of scale,” he said.

Tags: roboadvice

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