Anthony Morrow, CEO of evestor.co.uk comments on what the future holds for robotics and robo-advisors:
In recent years, the financial service sector has increasingly moved from a very paper-based environment to one where much can be done online, whether you are setting-up a pension, managing your money or making an investment.
This trend is only set to continue as people become more comfortable carrying out these sorts of transactions digitally.A recent survey from L&G showed that nearly half of mortgage brokers see robo-advice and technology as the biggest threat to their business in the next three years.
However, placing the emphasis on threats and being concerned about change is misplaced. Instead, financial services companies should be looking at how they embrace new technologies, as this will create greater opportunity in the long-term.
There are some obvious hurdles to overcome in the financial sector. At the moment, robo-advice is in its infancy.This is down to the constraints of capital and resource of the providers, whose capital investment decisions are heavily scrutinised; but also down to customers’ trust in managing their finances digitally.
To develop a sense of trust amongst consumers, there needs to be some form of supervision of the systems that are being used. The human element is important to be able to understand and manage the risks of robotics. Cyber security is an added pressure, but something that will be overcome in time as we see more developments to tackle this.
Fintech has benefited from a very benign environment, with low cost of credit and record levels of venture capital money taking advantage of low interest rates.This will inevitably run its course, so fintech businesses need to think about how they’d succeed in a more challenging environment.
Another interesting development that will present a challenge for the sector is PSD2, or the Revised Payment Service Directive. Next year, banks will need to allow their traditional customer base to use third party providers to manage their finances. PSD2 started as an EU initiative to break down banks’ monopoly on their user’s data. It allows merchants, like Amazon, for example, to retrieve customers’ account data from their bank with their permission. That means they can make a payment directly for the customer, without having to redirect them to another service like PayPal or Visa. It will be interesting to see how these big players can overcome this set back.
Those that do will form the future of the financial sector as robotics becomes increasingly prevalent.
The growing use of technology should be embraced as it can only be a good thing for the industry. It can help to benefit customer relationships, as their experience improves and the costs are lowered.
Building trust, adapting to more challenging times ahead as well as an abundance of patience are the essential ingredients for long term success. The challenges that it will bring, as any change does, should be viewed positively as opportunities.