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LV claims to be only firm offering actual robo-advice

LV claims to be only firm offering actual robo-advice

LV’s head of policy has claimed his is the only company in the UK which truly offers robo-advice.

Speaking at the Future of Life and Pensions conference in London, Phil Brown said the service offered by LV was the only one of the 60 claiming to offer robo-advice in the UK that actually offers a personal recommendation.

Mr Brown said: “If you ask the right questions you find LV remains the only company that is in this space providing a personal recommendation and giving full advice.

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“It is very difficult to talk about robo-advice in the context of the vast majority of providers not actually giving advice.”

Last year, LV bought a majority stake in robo-advice developer Wealth Wizards, confirming it would launch an automated retirement advice service on an algorithm-based platform, which puts particularly complex cases through to telephone-based advisers.

In October, it had already been approached by other providers, pension schemes and advisers keen to incorporate the technology into their own systems.

Mr Brown said the charge for the service is £199, which he claimed offers “the same level of advice you would get for paying £2,000”.

“Technology gives massive efficiencies in the advice process. If you look at a model like The People’s Pension, there it is - the scheme providing the advice. It is all about having access to the customers.”

Earlier this year, HSBC unveiled plans to re-enter the stand-alone advice market aimed at individuals with between £15,000 and £100,000 to invest.

Mark Hussein, chief executive and head of UK insurance at HSBC Life, said advice can be made cheaper by making the process simpler.

“People perceive advice as expensive because they don’t understand what they are getting,” he commented. “It is a challenge to advisers in the market to say is there a way of simplifying the process we have to go through.

“Simplifying the process is key because that’s what people are looking for,” added Mr Hussein.

Nick Eatock, Intelliflo’s executive chairman said: “I believe robo advice will fail unless there is the opportunity to deal with a real person when needed.

“We’ve designed our automated advice to give advisers the opportunity to enable clients to invest directly but the system has ‘stop’ mechanisms built in so advisers can step in to help clients if it looks like they require advice. We believe this is the ultimate solution.”

Distribution Technology, Nutmeg, eVestor and WealthHorizon, which also provide technology-based financial advisory services, have all been asked to comment.

Adviser view

Ashley France, a mortgage adviser with Cheshire-based Ark Financial Planning, said: “I can see how robo-advice could work for simple things but if you are calling it robo-advice, surely there has got to be some advice.

“If we give someone advice we take on the liability if they choose to complain but a robo-adviser might say it was you who made the decision.”