Digital retirement adviser AdviceBridge claims its software is theoretically “powerful enough to replace the adviser” completely, but its intentions are more benign than that.
Speaking to FTAdviser, chief commercial officer Bruce Ely-Johnston described AdviceBridge as a platform that helps advisers automate all of their processes, allowing them to focus on the client relationship instead.
He said the hybrid advice platform, which mixes human and robo-advice, can undertake the tasks that an administrator, paraplanner and adviser can do.
“However, we know this step is far beyond what people are comfortable with and there’s always scenarios that can’t be completely undertaken by technology, e.g. comparing soft benefits of a pension,” he said.
“We believe there should always be human oversight and human emotions can’t be captured and incorporated through tech, hence the AdviceBridge system has been developed specifically to support advisers with their clients, not to replace them.”
Ely-Johnston said AdviceBridge reduces the time he believes it takes to onboard a new client from 35/40 hours down to under five and he said this time saving translated into an 80 per cent reduction in costs and a 70 per cent increase in profit.
He said: “At the heart of the AdviceBridge solution is an immensely powerful and intelligent advice engine which collects and analyses all of the client data before delivering the optimum solution and producing a review or recommendation report without the adviser having to lift a finger.
“In fact it's powerful enough to replace the adviser or paraplanner completely - although we know the reality that that wouldn't happen. However this demonstrates the efficiency of the system in that the adviser/paraplanner doesn't have to do the fact-find, research of current investments, analysis of what solutions e.g. wrap & investment product, what tax wrappers etc, nor write the recommendation report.”
Ely-Johnston explained all of these aspects were done by the software, including cutting processes, removing re-keying and therefore cutting out all of the manual time that an adviser or paraplanner would take in compiling, analysing and researching.
The platform claims to deliver the ideal solution available to the client, showing exactly how much they will save in terms of fees and tax.
In addition to this, the system provides both adviser and client a dashboard showing their "safe to spend" amount in retirement and what they can spend now, without the need of full cashflow planning.
Robo versus real
Discussing where this platform fit with the robo-advice versus real advice debate, he said: “A robo-adviser is simply an online investment service which typically asks you about 10-15 simple questions and then allocates you to a suitable basket of investments, which it then manages for you on an ongoing basis.
“Real advice involves reviewing a client’s current holdings, which could be simply just cash through cash, Isas, pensions etc, understanding their income, financial aims and then recommending how it should be properly structured.”