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Provider encroachment overtakes robo worries

Provider encroachment overtakes robo worries

Advisers appear to have no fears about the advent of robo-advice and are instead having sleepless nights about large product providers going direct to clients, according to Intelliflo.

A survey at the technology firm’s recent conferences in London and Manchester, attended by 700 advisers in total, also found almost two thirds of advisers did not want a British exit from the EU – compared with 37 per cent who opted for leaving.

Around two fifths of advisers told Intelliflo they viewed large providers going direct to clients as the biggest threat to their businesses.

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These results represent a marked change from the same poll last year, which showed robo-advice to be the biggest threat – in fact this year only a fifth of advisers said it was their number one concern.

Nick Eatock, Intelliflo’s executive chairman, said: “It is clear that the fear that robo-advice might take away business has subsided, as advisers have gained a better understanding of what it is, how it works and where the opportunities for them lie in harnessing auto-advice to enhance their own businesses.”

Mr Eatock is one of a growing number of voices saying advisers should embrace technology rather than fear it, telling the same conference that Intelliflo’s own robo-advice service would allow advisers to tap into a market which cannot currently afford advice.

David Thompson, managing director of marketing and proposition at Axa Wealth, also recently said that embracing robo-advice could free up time to service clients who needed personal interaction.

Meanwhile, PricewaterhouseCoopers found that high net-worth individuals increasingly valued a good digital offering from their adviser.

Adviser View

Chris Foster, a financial adviser with Lancashire-based Pennines IFA, said: “We add value to the relationship, so I don’t see it as a threat, and robo-advice is just for someone who wants to invest.

“For me, providers spending millions on advertising is going to result in more money for everyone, because it might encourage people to knock on our doors.”

damian.fantato@ft.com