Which robo-advisers are working

Having a rich parent can undoubtedly be a godsend, but as the three previous examples found to their cost, it can also be a wake-up-in-a-cold-sweat nightmare.

Yet there is evidence that with a little more patience and pragmatism these relationships can begin to pay off, particularly where the digital brand evolves its business model to provide business-to-business/to consumer services, as well as its direct-to-consumer shop window.

Scalable Capital is now fast approaching £2bn assets under administration across its platforms, and this will be further boosted when it announces further successes through its B2B strategic focus with BlackRock.

Meanwhile Wealthify, with its Aviva backing and access to distribution, has more than doubled its invested customer base to 25,000 over the past year, and will shortly launch a pension proposition.

It now also has a real focus on the B2B space, too, with a number of new advice partnerships in development.

Other forward-thinking partnerships include: Bank of Ireland working with Ignition Advice; Danish bank Jyske partnering with Munnypot; Nutmeg receiving investment from Goldman Sachs and going international via its B2B partnership with Taipei Fubon Bank; Tiller moving from D2C to B2B only and focusing on wealth managers; while Wealthsimple, the major D2C robo player in Canada, has a pure B2B focus in UK and Europe, with new partnerships to be announced.

Differentiation is key

The challenge for any new brand — regardless of sector — is to win hearts and minds.

Insightful consumer research, increasingly using behavioural experts rather than traditional market researchers in the design of the research approach, observation, and analysis, uncovers real consumer needs or challenges.

For example, concerns such as reducing monthly bills, building up emergency savings or a nest egg, reducing debt, protecting the family, helping to buy a home, reducing a forthcoming tax bill, or thinking about retirement, may come up.

What typically will not come up is a product question, such as “tell me how to invest into a stocks and shares Isa”.

Some organisations get this.

See how Wealth Wizards is evolving its MyEva ‘adviser in your pocket’ proposition and its AI-based advice rules engine to keep advisory businesses consistent in their advice.

Or witness how OpenMoney is beginning to deliver a breadth of hybrid services, which are a far cry from the Robo 1.0 type linear journey into a risk-based investment model, which so many have launched over the past few years:

• Qualified financial advisers have developed a set of algorithms that create personal recommendations for people going through the online journey, and these advisers are available via phone or Skype if needed.

• Depending on client circumstances, the algorithms provide both regulated and non-regulated recommendations – 6500 people received a recommendation in January, of which 812 were given recommendations to invest.