CompaniesNov 2 2015

Bestinvest founder launches cyborg advice service

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Bestinvest founder launches cyborg advice service

EQ Investors has launched a new online and telephone-based regulated investment advice service.

The boutique wealth manager, led by Bestinvest founder John Spiers, stated it is designed for private investors seeking portfolio management at affordable rates.

Clients will have 24/7 online access to their portfolios, in addition to a team of fully qualified financial advisers at the end of the phone, enabling them to manage Isas, general investment accounts or pension pots.

They can complete either an online or telephone-based risk questionnaire on their circumstances and financial goals, deposit money for a one-off amount, or set up a regular monthly payment.

The Simply EQ service also has an affordability assessment to measure the suitability of investing and the ability to transfer a range of existing pension schemes, including personal and stakeholder pensions.

It provides access to EQ’s range of discretionary managed portfolios, underpinned by the due diligence carried out by the firm’s investment team.

An investor with on the Simply EQ Low Cost Portfolio of £10,000 will be paying less than £10 a month in total charges, while there is also the ability to invest individually as part of a group, with discounted rates dependant on the number of members, starting from groups of 10.

Mr Spiers stated: “We believe this is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to change an industry and build something new that will deliver a first rate investing experience.

“I’m also extremely excited by the group discount scheme – it’s time to reintroduce the concept of community back into the world of business.”

As FTAdviser reported back in July, predictions were that ‘cyborg advice’ - where automated services are complemented by human input - would be more likely to catch on in the UK market, as opposed to fully automated, or ‘robo advice’.

In the last six months, several providers have announced different moves into this emerging market.

At the start of May, LV launched a regulated online advice service for the retirement income market, in conjunction with online adviser Wealth Wizards. This followed Just Retirement’s ‘simplified’ advice service in April, which it said is designed to help retirees with medium-sized pension funds navigate the pension freedoms.

As previously reported, the US market has also exploded this year, with the entry of big players like Charles Schwab and Vanguard, along with BlackRock’s deal for FutureAdvisor.