Your IndustryJul 1 2019

Robo-IFA launches

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Robo-IFA launches

Wealth Wizards has launched a digital independent financial adviser that is fully regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. 

The MyEva web-app and chatbot is available to users via employers to help employees improve their financial situation. It is already being offered by employers such as the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and Calvin Klein.

According to Wealth Wizard the app takes people through a financial health check and provides personalised recommendations based on those responses.

This includes things like how much they should be contributing to a workplace pension, how to build long-term savings and advice on investing their money. 

Chartered financial planners and technology specialists created the app's algorithms and where MyEva is unable to assist, clients are referred to a team of human advisers. 

Andrew Firth, founder and CEO of Wealth Wizards, said: "We know from experience that so many employers are looking to improve financial wellbeing in the workplace and importantly, measure the success of that improvement as part of their benefit and engagement programs.

"MyEva has been created with a personality that provides a supportive arm around the shoulders, nudging people to make better financial decisions that their future self will one day thank them for at an appropriate pace for all individuals, regardless of personal circumstances.

"At the same time, she will help employers develop policies and programmes that meet the needs of their employees so there is a double benefit." 

Nicola Wells, global reward director at Unilever, said: "Unilever share a vision with Wealth Wizards to make financial advice affordable and accessible to all, to inspire societal change. 

"A personalised approach to improving financial wellbeing with great MI to act upon will ensure that we as an organisation will be confident knowing we are helping people access financial guidance and advice that is right for them, regardless of their circumstances."

Employers that implement MyEva can access real time, anonymised data on the money worries of their staff.

Data gathered from almost 1,700 employees in a pre-launch beta-test of the app revealed that 58 per cent would struggle or panic if faced with an unexpected bill, while 20 per cent were in significant debt or found it difficult to pay it off. 

Meanwhile, 62 per cent admitted they had not been able to save, despite wanting to and 40 per cent had not always paid into a pension. 

The Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust (CNWL) was among the companies that beta-tested the app and David Bell, head of human resources at the trust, said the service from Wealth Wizards had a significant impact across the organisation. 

He said: "It has helped with our understanding of the needs and wants of our employees and how best to proceed with our financial wellbeing strategy. 

"We worked with the communications and marketing teams at both CNWL and Wealth Wizards to develop an effective plan to launch the service and our employees really enjoyed engaging with the Wealth Wizards staff at events across the trust. 

Mr Bell added: "For CNWL it has been a fantastic initiative – we have been supported by great partners in Wealth Wizards and have some quantitative data about the financial health and wellbeing of our staff to help develop our plans."

Martin Bamford, chartered financial planner at Informed Choice, said: "Delivering financial advice at scale requires a technology solution. There simply aren’t enough human financial advisers to go around to satisfy current demand, let alone fill the reported advice gap and make positive improvements to our national personal finances. 

"A combination of chatbot and human adviser seems like a very sensible way to reach a very large audience.

"Computers won’t replace humans just yet when it comes to advice delivery, but you had better believe that time is coming before too long."

MyEva is the latest in a string of robo-advisers that have launched in the UK in recent years.

But some are sceptical that the strategies make sense economically. Investec closed its robo-service in May after tallying up losses of £32m over two years.