Robo-adviser delays mortgage entry due to lockdown

Robo-adviser delays mortgage entry due to lockdown

Online financial adviser OpenMoney has confirmed to FTAdviser that it has postponed the launch of its mortgage advice service due to the coronavirus crisis.

In January Anthony Morrow, the firm’s chief executive, told FTAdviser it was likely to enter the market in June or July to offer advice to first-time buyers but this has now been pushed back to later in the year.

OpenMoney is continuing to develop the technology and proposition for the service and plans to launch to existing customers when the lockdown begins to lift, before rolling out to the wider market.

Under the government’s lockdown advice, sellers who were already marketing their properties before the lockdown can continue to do so and accept offers. But viewings cannot be conducted in person, meaning the market has come to a near standstill.

OpenMoney had decided to enter the mortgage advice market after finding that buying a house was among the goals of most of its clients. 

Speaking to FTAdviser in January, Mr. Morrow also said OpenMoney was serving 45,000 clients and growing at a rate of 1,500 new customers every week.

While new customer numbers have slowed down since the start of the year, the firm has been acquiring an average of 1,128 new customers a week since the end of the 2019/20 tax year.

According to OpenMoney this is more than double the number it saw in the same period last year. The firm now serves more than 65,000 clients.

OpenMoney offers a hybrid of technology and human advisers to deliver regulated advice for a fee, while also offering free, unregulated guidance.