Honest. Constructive. Objective. No Bull
Nothing quite wakes you up like the dark mirrored recesses of Soho's Groucho club (inclusive of lewd phallic images on the walls) first thing on a Monday morning. Although Shawn Brayman (President & CEO of globalcash flow planning software supplier PlanPlus and the new miPlan+ robo advice engine) came close with his opening statements during the Algos4Robos seminar hosted by Finametrica.
"A new Robo-advisor is launched every three days in the US"
My initial instinct was 'panic'. That’s a lot of robos! It's my day job to analyse and identify the merits, fouls and trends of robots and similar services around the world providing financial advice and guidance.
Actually it's great news. Great for the consumer, great for innovation, great for competition, great for me (I should have a day job for quite a while longer), and great for the UK. We tend to follow US trends quite closely, identifying what does and doesn’t work (my job), and learning from their mistakes.
What really stood out from their demonstration at first glance, was their approach to ensuring that the automated advice process was actually suitable for each individual client. They recognise that there can be a scientific approach to automated investing but that automation also needs to be able to recognise when scientific academics don’t suit. They prefer to nudge the user to communicate with a person with professional judgment instead.
Paul Resnik, Director and Cofounder of FinaMetrica, is no stranger to building software across the World. His experience has taught him that common US FinTech mentality is to deliver as much as they can, as long as they deliver it today.
The UK’s approach is rather to sit on it, wait until everything is in place, double check, and then deliver.
If I had a pound for every time I heard “can we postpone your analysis of us until said date”, I’d only be needing a half-day job.
This week highlighted two British organisations who have put in the man hours and clearly spent a lot of time developing a robust set of functionality, with the end-consumer at the heart of the proposition.
It was great being British this week!
I put Moneybox (www.moneyboxapp.com) and Wealthify (www.wealthify.com), who are both offering non-advised investment propositions in the UK, through our full analysis process this week. Look out for our benchmarking summary soon
Moneybox has been a big in-house favourite amongst the DigitalWealthInsights team since its launch in August this year. It’s been one of the very few propositions to incorporate micro savings into it’s proposition. I myself saved £94 over six weeks into my ISA simply by rounding up all my spending to the nearest £1.
Wealthify has a very effective, streamlined and engaging customer journey. It also incorporates a unique socialisation technique through the use of it’s member ‘circles’. I believe Wealthify is in the front row of organisations leading the way to lasting customer longevity.
I’d have no problem recommending either of the above to my friends and family.
I found myself schmoozing, shoulder to shoulder, with suited and booted fund managers at the London Stock Exchange on Tuesday.
Novia hosted an event on the merits of investing in ETFs and at the same time introduced Copia, a subsidiary of theirs offering an investment range using 100% of ETFs.
I'm pretty confident that I’d smash a pub quiz now on the difference between a tracker fund and an ETF.
Some interesting data (and numbers almost as big as pie came from the event). For my purposes it was encouraging to see how automated advice propositions were ahead of the platforms in leading the way to offering lower cost ETFs to their clients.
The week ended with my first rodeo at a chatbot bootcamp hosted by Personetics.
The bot landscape is already substantial. Did you know there are already 35 000 chatbots integrated with Facebook.
I’d seen all the adverts about Amazon Alexa, well she is a bot as well!
The UK doesn’t rate it very much at the moment but let’s give her a break, she is the first of her kind. It’s possible that Google will have a similar bot out just in time for Christmas.
2017 is going to be the year of the Bot.
Is the bot going to start becoming another member of our family?
In fact, after seeing all the 'bot action' on Friday, it's pretty conceivable that a proactive cheeky little bot will be shouting at you from the fireplace in your lounge, telling you that you shouldn’t have had that extra drink at the pub quiz last night, but rather put it towards your ISA!
It’s the potential of the bot that I can’t get off of my mind this week.
See http://www.digitalwealthinsights.com/ to follow our more detailed insights and analysis of automated financial services in the UK.