We can’t stand the term – as there is no robot involved in the process – but we appreciate there is a great focus on this format currently and massive investment in the model, searching for the winning provider. Unfortunately, it is our belief that there simply will not be a winner.
In developing Managed Direct we looked at every ‘robo’ offering and found two consistent failings. The first is that ‘Robo’ Advice has exactly the same regulatory requirements (and therefore liabilities) as face-to-face advice. As such the process is just as time consuming for the client (albeit not so for the adviser). The misunderstood issue here is that whilst a client would expect traditional face-to-face advice to be in-depth and diligent (and therefore time consuming), when it comes to doing something online the expectation is for a solution that is quick, simple and straightforward.
In short, you cannot expect someone to put up with the time frames of real world transactions in an internet driven environment.
Managed Direct addresses this in two ways. The first is to separate the initial advice from the ongoing service. This ensures that clients preconceptions about the two distinct elements are fully met in advance. The second is by structuring Managed Direct so that it can be offered as a non-advised direct offer service. This enables the online process to be as quick, simple and straightforward as the client would expect.
The board of Intelligent Money has great experience in this market. Firstly, the majority of people using these platforms are doing so only because they believe they are saving money when compared to an advised option. The downside, however, is that they are constantly worried whether they have made the right decision on previous fund choices and/or are making the right decision on new ones.
Of course there are also some people who consider they know better than professionals and purposefully choose this route, but they remain in the minority.
Our aim was to create a solution that gave the majority a fully managed solution, combined with telephone support and access to advice whenever required, that has a combined reduction in yield equal to (or less than) the biggest DIY solutions.
We believe that this approach provides a real solution to the advice gap by offering a service that is genuinely wanted by a large section of the public who, for whatever reasons or preconceptions, are not comfortable with any of the alternative models.