Robo-advice — how to get it right for investors

Robo Advisors

It was billed as Europe’s ‘must attend’ event for digital wealth and financial innovation, promising to pack in the trends and insights across asset management and banking.

The conference didn’t disappoint. Robo-Investing Europe 2017 Let’s Talk Digital™ provided lots of insight and food for thought. Here I’m sharing the highlights I think particularly apply to the world of investors.

Getting it right

From an investment house point of view, as we look to build financial technology (fintech) ventures, we need to start by getting the infrastructure right from the start so it meets our clients’ needs.

That’s really about remembering that people online are looking to make transactions, and those seeking advice want to speak to someone. Amazon are a good example here as all it takes is three clicks and you’re communicating with them. With this in mind, I learned that it really pays to think about what clients want upfront, right at the planning stage.

In fintech, particularly robo-advice, it’s crucial to:

  • Have a clear vision for what you want to achieve.
  • Ensure services are competitively priced.
  • Keep it simple — no jargon, graphs or percentages.
  • Be transparent, and cost inclusive, to ensure value for money.
  • Choose a hybrid solution — people aren’t completely ready for a whole online journey. This is particularly true in investments, where clients still want to have someone to talk to/advise them. We need to enable this as well as progress technology.
  • Personalise the experience with gamification, an online marketing technique used to encourage engagement with a product or service, which basically involves applying elements of game playing to other areas of activity, in this case robo-advice, which is a good way to engage clients
  • Take an active approach to risk — time weighted.
  • Learn and understand what a client wants to do before they do it.
Fintech Disruption

Brilliant comms linked to a simple product

The key point, which was arguably the main one of the day, was from Angelique Schouten, from financial services software firm Ohpen, and centred around “Your infrastructure has to match your ambition”. It resonated because having a clear vision and plan from the outset makes sense. She also made the point that brilliant communication linked to a simple product will also help investment houses to stand out from the crowd.

Risk and impact

There are many considerations though, with gamification repeatedly being reinforced as an excellent way to engage clients. According to Paulo Sironi, Fintech Thought Leader at IBM Watson Financial Services, personalising the experience to the client not only strengthens the relationship, it also manages the client specific risk. So, we recognise it’s imperative to allocate assets based on what they want to achieve and when.

Clients first

At The Blackmore Group, our core value is putting the needs of our clients first, and so everything we learned and discussed at the conference was invaluable.

We are now actively talking about this so that we can help fully inform the fintech ventures that we build moving forward, ensuring our clients are front of mind as we plan and develop our services.