Robo-advice  

Investors prefer human advice on charges and performance

Investors prefer human advice on charges and performance

Robo-advisers should consider hiring human advisers to satisfy investors' needs, particularly for the process of explaining fees and charges, latest data has suggested. 

In research published by fin-tech firm Nucoro today (September 24) a survey of 1,028 UK retail investors showed more than half wanted to speak to an actual adviser when understanding the fees and charges associated with their investments.

Demand for human interaction was also high among investors who wanted to better understand the performance of their investments, with 43 per cent citing this as the stage in the investment process at which they would want to speak with an adviser. 

Selecting investment products, defining investment goals and understanding tax wrappers also all featured prominently in investors' preference for a human adviser.  

But the preference to be advised by a human did not deter investors from the idea of investing digitally, with more than half, at 53 per cent, agreeing they would consider using a robo-adviser platform. 

Nikolai Hack, chief operating officer and UK managing director of Nucoro, said: "Robo-advice platforms are a relatively new development in the wealth management sector and are clearly set for strong growth, which in many cases will be driven by younger investors.

"However, robo-advisers clearly need to provide service levels around several issues important to investors, and in some cases, this could mean providing access to human advisers." 

At what stage in the process of using an investment service do you feel the need to speak to a human adviser?

Percentage of UK retail investors

Explaining fees and charges

51%

Understanding the performance of my investments

43%
Selecting investment products36%
Defining my investment goals28%

Tax wrappers and reporting taxes

25%

Investment methodology explanation

24%

The sentiment of a robo-human hybrid is one which is being increasingly echoed across the advice industry, with some larger players now adding human advisers to their service.

Speaking at the Robo Investing conference in London earlier this month James Richardson, head of WealthPilot at wealth manager Brewin Dolphin, said bigger robo-advisers in the UK were now hiring human advisers to "keep them ahead and keep them going" and boost profitability. 

At the same conference Xavier de Pauw, group head of strategic initiatives at Degroof Petercam, a Brussels-based financial services company, pointed to clients wanting the "human factor" in the advice they receive on investments above a certain amount. 

Speaking at the time Mr de Pauw said: "When I put my life savings into something, I do want someone to actually talk to. Having a hybrid model, for me, is really giving the option to the client of how they interact with us. I don’t think it’s up to us to say you should do this or that."

rachel.mortimer@ft.com 

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