'Everyone' will have a robo-adviser, firm predicts

'Everyone' will have a robo-adviser, firm predicts

All consumers will soon have a digital adviser that will be available 24/7, a robo-advice boss has predicted. 

A number of companies have looked to robo-advice in recent years as a means to plugging the much-debated advice gap, but some have argued this market has been slow to take off amid scepticism around the lack of human advisers in this business model and the cost.

But Andrew Firth, chief executive and co-founder of Wealth Wizards, said the future of the industry was digital and would still feature "heavy involvement" from human advisers. 

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In an advice report published by the robo-advice company today (December 18), Mr Firth said the concept that consumers will initiate dialogue with a chatbot instead of over the telephone was fundamental to his vision.

He said: "We can now see, absolutely, that the future of advice is going to be something digital that will be available 24/7.

"In fact, I’m going to be even bolder and say everyone will have a digital adviser in the not-too-distant future.

"I take this standpoint based on the momentum of our own digital adviser, as well as the increased presence of chatbots and robo-assisted customer services."

Wealth Wizards' own digital adviser MyEva launched earlier this year and the app now hosts more than 1,000 conversations each month, at an average length of eight minutes. 

Mr Firth added: "The 26,000 IFAs in the UK will not be able to keep up with the demand on their time once financial awareness reaches its peak, so I can only conclude that digital is the best way to solve this problem.

"The current environment has shown us that we cannot attract and train enough people to be financial advisers, so that they can service the population and this challenge is coupled with the affordability one, which already locks many working people out of the equation."

The Wealth Wizards boss pointed to his own experience in bringing to market internet banking in the 1990s.

Not attending a bank in person had been considered by many finance commentators as "completely revolutionary", Mr Firth said. 

He added: "All signs indicate that the adoption of digital advisers will be the equivalent revolution for financial advice."

So far experience has shown the advice industry has not been an easy one for robo offerings to infiltrate.

In May, Investec announced the closure of its Click and Invest robo-advice business after two years of losses, stating the reality of the industry was that appetite for its service had remained low and the market itself was “growing at a much slower rate than expected”. 

Results season this year also saw robo-advisers stay in the red again, with Nutmeg and Wealthsimple posting losses of £18m and £3.6m respectively for 2018.