Robo-advice  

Digital pensions adviser launches

Digital pensions adviser launches

A pensions robo-adviser targeting savers with pots of over £250,000 and focusing solely on decumulation has launched in the UK.

Chancery Lane was founded by chartered financial planner Doug Brodie and William Todd, who was the co-founder and IT architect of fellow robo-adviser Nutmeg.

The company provides online retirement income planning advice, with its services designed for portfolios of £250,000 plus.

Although virtual, there will also be optional human involvement and for those clients who would prefer, there is an option to meet an adviser face to face or speak to one over the phone.  

According to its website, it is an appointed representative of Master Adviser, which is also run by Doug Brodie.

As part of its investment strategy, Chancery Lane uses investment trusts listed on the London Stock Exchange, which it says gives a consistent level of income while protecting the overall amount of capital.

Brodie, founder and CEO of Chancery Lane, said: “Over the past twenty years, as DB schemes disappeared, we noticed all our clients sought either immediate or future income – isn’t that what a pension is for?

"Securing a regular, inflation-beating retirement income is way too expensive using gilts and fixed interest so we simply research natural income wherever it can be found. 

“Being independent we don’t use our own funds, and investment trust reserves enable dividends to be paid whatever the health of the economy – as we saw in 2000, 2008 and 2020”.

The firm has two actuaries and a mathematical physicist on its team to develop algorithms which identify long-term income streams from these investment trusts.

Chancery Lane provides free-to-use tools online where clients can model their own income using real investment data. 

Its account management fees for advisory clients are 0.833 per cent per month, 1 per cent per annum, of which 35 per cent  overs advisory work, 45 per cent covers investment supervision and the balance covers regulatory costs.

Bridget McIntyre, director at the firm and a former UK chief executive of RSA Insurance, said: “We really do understand the emotional and financial anxieties of retiring: losing the 40-year structure of Monday to Friday can be just as difficult to adjust to as losing the monthly paycheque. 

“Chancery Lane has been formed by baby boomers, our team knows the worries of being 50, 60 and 70, and we want our service to allay those anxieties.”

She added: “We want to make it as hassle free and easy as possible and our virtual approach will ensure that wherever you are, you are always just a zoom away from a face-to-face conversation.

"We also understand the importance of empathy. We speak our clients’ language, and this is at the heart of everything we do.”

The robo-advice space faced change last month as JPMorgan Chase announced its plans to acquire robo-adviser Nutmeg for an undisclosed amount.

Industry commentators at the time said this would show the way the advice landscape will move in the long-term, but all eyes will be on whether the investment bank can make a profit from the robo-adviser.