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Robo offer will soon become essential for advisers: Symons

Advice businesses are being told it should now be much cheaper and easier to set up roboadvice platforms than it might have been as little as three years ago - and soon a good robo offering will be expected by clients.

Thursday, November 24th 2016, 6:00AM

by Susan Edmunds

Andy Symons, financial services sector leader at PwC, said he expected roboadvice would be a common fixture of the New Zealand industry before long.

“I expect to see a number of smaller players wondering if this is the way to establish a platform in New Zealand without having to have a physical network and people. I expect incumbents would also have plans afoot to look at their current businesses and how roboadvice could be incorporated to create more efficiencies and better experiences for customers.”

He said there was likely to be strong demand from consumers for such an offer. Younger generations preferred a digital experience in a number of areas of their lives, he said. While they might not be the target of investment advisers at present, they would probably turn to a wealth advice robo offer if it was easy to use and accessible.

“If I was a financial adviser right now I would be asking ‘do I want to have a digital offering that’s complementary to the service I provide? And if I’m choosing not to, am I choosing not to play in a certain part of the market?’”

He said the challenge for advisers was that if they chose not to get involved in roboadvice, they might be opting out of an important part of the future market.

He said it should not be expensive to set up a robo offer. The tools and platforms available to develop the robo capability were increasingly available, he said. “Compared to putting together a digital advice site three years ago, I expect it would be relatively straightforward and the cost to be much more attractive now.”

He said PwC research in the UK found 65% of people were interested in using digital advice. A good platform could start to become a differentiator for providers, he said. In the same way that banks now need a mobile app, advisers would need a simple robo platform just to get people in the door, he said.

“It might be simple but it could be the beginning of the relationship between a wealth adviser and a consumer.”

Tags: roboadvice

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