Nutmeg boss hits back at criticism

Nutmeg boss hits back at criticism

Nutmeg chief executive Nick Hungerford has disputed criticism around a lack of diversity in the Financial Advice Market Review expert panel.

Speaking to FTAdviser, he said the panel’s make-up was “really diverse”, pointing out that it features a range of consumer groups, insurers, fund managers and wealth managers, adding that “everyone could write a submission”.

In October last year, the Financial Conduct Authority and HM Treasury was criticised for lacking actual advisers and failing to include representatives for claims management firms.

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The panel did feature four members from the financial advice world, including Intrinsic chief executive Richard Freeman, Keyte Chartered Financial Planners director Robin Keyte, Hargreaves Lansdown chief executive Ian Gorham and former Financial Adviser columnist Gill Cardy.

Mr Hungerford, who was also part of the panel, said the Financial Advice Market Review is “hugely positive” in helping to get more people involved in finance.

Commenting on the company’s plans to launch an advice service, Mr Hungerford said the firm is still waiting on permission from the FCA and is in the process of trying to hire advisers, after receiving lots of applications from candidates who did not quite fit the bill.

“Many applicants said they could provide advice and speak to clients and bring in business, but that is not really what we were looking for.

“We are not thinking about this one-on-one model. We are thinking about a new type of financial advice, and reinventing the model to provide great financial advice for everybody. We can’t do that one-on-one, it’s got to have an element of artificial intelligence.”

Mr Hungerford said the costs of the advice Nutmeg will provide have not yet been established, but added providing advice for people with such varying levels of wealth means the firm needs to “conquer some initial problems first”.

He added Nutmeg has to develop from a base which is not presumptuous, instead thinking about a wider audience. It is currently interviewing existing customers and looking at the data to find out what clients want from the new service.

Mr Hungerford also revealed fresh plans for Nutmeg to open a new London office in March.