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Digital could replace personal in financial advice

Digital advice could end up taking over the traditional advice methods if Martin Wheatley’s comments to the Treasury select committee prove prophetic, Lawrence Cook has suggested.

The director of marketing and business development of wealth manager for Thesis Asset Management, said that for some advisers, digital advice would take the form of a “natural addition to their proposition”.

His comments came after Mr Wheatley, chief executive of the FCA, expressed an opinion last month to the TSC that financial advice could be delivered online, without personal interaction.

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Mr Cook added: “With today’s technology moving apace – I’m thinking Skype in particular here - the shift from digital to personal may not be too big a jump from the customer perspective.”

“Financial services firms tend to think of relationships they want with clients rather than the other way round. So if clients want to engage with us but not in person, is that really a problem? For some it is an opportunity to service clients cost effectively and to increase the advice capacity of the firm. For others it may feel like a threat.”

He added that each firm will decide individually if they wish to offer their service in this format.

Jason Witcombe, director of London-based Evolve Financial Planning, said: “Financial advice can be dealt with online, if there is still a one-to-one relationship between adviser and client. Skype, email, phones and post are all fine.

“An automated service would be very different though.”