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How M&G Wealth is using hybrid advice to grow

How M&G Wealth is using hybrid advice to grow

M&G Wealth Advice's deputy chief executive has said its use of hybrid advice will not replace the role of the adviser.

Speaking on the latest edition of the FTAdviser Podcast, Richard Caldicott said it was about removing elements of the process which add "time and complexity" to the adviser's workload.

He said: "I suspect over time more and more of the stuff we are doing in this separate pilot channel will become more and more commonplace for advisers, because what it's not doing is remotely replacing the job of the adviser.

"It is replacing all the bits that add time and complexity to the adviser's workload, that take six hours of the nine hours to give financial advice out of the process. And why wouldn't we just gradually make those things more and more mainstream as the tech gets better and better?"

Caldicott appeared on the podcast alongside Terry Donohoe, European chief executive of Ignition - which is working with M&G Wealth on its hybrid advice proposition, and Sam Turner, a consultant at Altus Consulting who has recently written a white paper on the issue of hybrid advice.

Donohoe said: "In robo-advice it has got to be quite tight, because it is driving streamlined outcomes. Robo-advice does what it says on the tin. When we go to broader hybrid advice, it is about the inputs.

"If each of us put inputs into the fact gathering, the algorithm should drive unique outputs for each of us. It is critical then for the proposition to step above that and bring the adviser into the mix to provide that confidence around the assumptions which are there."

But despite the use of technology, Caldicott said this did not mean M&G Wealth's proposition would be priced like a robo-advice service.

He said: "The reality is, by making something hybrid you have put a human adviser at its heart and our challenge is that's got a cost, a real cost that we absolutely should explicitly and wholly pass back to the customer and that's how we are going to price this service."

Caldicott said M&G Wealth was debating what form that cost would take, whether it's on a percentage of assets, hourly or on a subscription basis.

Turner said: "We expect to see a change in the model. Where you have had a human financial planner taking 0.5 per cent on going and offering an annual review, I suspect that the younger generation of investor are unlikely to tolerate that model.

"I think they are going to have specific advice needs at a point in time, it might be a house purchase, it might be buying a second property to let out.

"There are certain tax implications to that. They will expect to consume the advice they are getting as and when they need it and that attitudinal change [...] towards an acceptance of video calling, a move towards an acceptance of advice delivered by an algorithm that all supports that model."