Fees  

Tech push cuts Coutts advice fees

Tech push cuts Coutts advice fees

Coutts has shaken up its advice fees to reduce costs for its clients, with technology playing a “fundamental” part in lowering its charges as it switches to fixed fees.

Clients of the wealth manager and private bank - which counts the Queen among its clients - will now be charged a one-off flat fee depending on their needs — £2,000 for investment advice and £5,000 for financial planning.

Coutts previously used a percentage of assets charging model, like most firms in the industry.

Camilla Stowell, head of wealth management at Coutts, said: “This is the next stage of our strategy of driving down costs for clients. We have been moving in this direction for some time. 

“In 2016 we removed ongoing advice fees as, having reviewed what our clients need, we felt they should only be charged if advice plans need to change to meet their needs.”

The changes mean the one-off fixed fee will be the only charge clients face, as further implementation fees have been scrapped. This means individuals wishing to add further funds to their plan will not incur extra charges.

Coutts said technology had played a “fundamental role” in the bank being able to reduce these charges, opting for a personal service digitally enabled for both clients and advisers.

Ms Stowell said: “When robo-advisors first entered the market, there was commentary that the technology will replace the human adviser. 

“We didn’t agree at the time and we still don’t, however we strongly believe that technology can enable the adviser and provide better access for clients.”

She added the bank had been “working hard behind the scenes” to reduce the cost of delivery to clients and that it was “fair and right” to pass that benefit on to clients.

The move comes at a time when the wider Natwest Group has moved all of its wealth businesses — including Coutts, Adam & Company, Holt’s, Drummonds, PCAIS, Premier Banking and Premier 24 — under the management of Peter Flavel, chief executive of private banking.

While several robo-advisers have entered the UK market in recent years, many have struggled to make a profit and some have now hired hire human advisers.

The pandemic has accelerated the trend towards digital solutions, such as remote meetings, e-signatures and other technology systems have kept the industry afloat at a time when lockdown put an end to face-to-face meetings.

imogen.tew@ft.com

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