Robo-advice 

Only one in five people trust robo-advice

Only one in five people trust robo-advice

Most people are reluctant to seek mortgage advice from an automated service and prefer talking to a human broker, research has revealed.

Just 21 per cent of people would trust a robot to give them mortgage advice, despite the increasing role of artificial intelligence (AI) in people’s everyday lives, according to a HSBC report.

In contrast, 41 per cent of people said they would trust a human mortgage broker.

Meanwhile, just 8 per cent of people would trust a humanoid adviser programmed by experts to offer mortgage advice.

While this may seem like a distant prospect - humanoids are generally considered to be robots designed to look like humans – banks have reportedly been trialing “humanoid” callers that can deal with customer queries and even detect emotions.

In addition, more than three quarters of people (76 per cent) said their bank providing advice on financial behaviour was important to them, while only 44 per cent said AI-powered investment advice was important.

AI is playing an increasingly prominent role in financial services, and Smith & Williamson has just launched a fund investing in companies that capitalise on the growth of the technology.

The HSBC report, which is based on a survey of 12,000 people across 11 countries, also revealed people in China and India are more receptive to new technologies than those in European countries.

John Flint, global chief executive of HSBC retail banking and wealth management, said: “Digital demands vary from customer to customer and market to market, but the long-term direction is clear: customers should be able to bank with us when they want, in the way that they want.

“At HSBC, we want to apply proven digital technology to make our customers’ experiences simpler, better, faster and more secure. We will continue to adapt as their needs change, to provide banking services on their terms.”

Ishaan Malhi, chief executive and founder of online mortgage broker Trussle, said: “As with any new financial service, there's going to be an initial period of hesitancy before receiving wider consumer adoption. 

“This is perhaps even more prevalent in the mortgage industry, as buying a home is one of the most emotionally-significant decisions we make in our lives.

“But the advancement of tech in other sectors, such as travel and accommodation, has irreversibly altered people’s expectations when it comes to the services they receive. 

“Technology can help to deliver unprecedented levels of accuracy, consistency, and speed by automating the most repetitive and predictable actions carried out by a broker. Our customers have overwhelmingly been receptive to this. 

“To date, our customers have ranged from 21 to 67-years-old. The overriding sentiment of the feedback we receive is that people really value the speed, simplicity, and convenience that our online service offers."

simon.allin@ft.com

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