Robo-advice offers no threat to adviser business

The man and the little boy measure the robot's performance. They use a digital multimeter
  • More than three quarters (78%) of financial advisers are confident that robo-advice offers no threat to their business
  • But a third (31%) do point to robo-advice and similar digital services as one of the top challenges to the wider industry over the next two years.

Three in four (78%) financial advisers are confident that robo-advice offers no threat to their business, according to Aegon’s Technology in the Financial Advice Market report. This is despite nearly half of financial advisers (45%) expecting more demand for robo-advice over the next 12 months.

The degree of concern felt by advisers correlates to the typical size of their client portfolios, with advisers whose client portfolios are at the lower end of the scale more alert to the threat from the lower cost option of robo-advice. In some cases, this may also be explained where those with smaller portfolios may have less complex needs that could be served on a more basic, standardised approach. For advisers with client portfolios of more than £200k, 88% feel it offers no threat to their business, and even for portfolios of up to £100k, the figure remains high at 73%.

The advent of automated advice is still in its infancy but already it is estimated that in the UK the technology has already provided advice on over £1 billion of assets, out of total assets of 6.9 trillion* in the asset management industry. And robo-advice is expected to continue making inroads in the financial services sector. Benefits could include cheaper cost, as well as the potential for speed, and as such it could play a part in potentially plugging the gap for those who need simpler advice but either aren’t currently prepared to pay for it or simply can’t afford it.

While the majority of advisers believe robo-advice is no threat to their business, a third (31%) do point to robo-advice and similar digital services as one of the top challenges to the wider industry over the coming two years, a little behind Brexit (40%), the greatest perceived threat.  Advisers who manage less than £5 million in client assets are three times more likely to feel threatened by the technology than those who manage over £100 million (63% vs 20%), suggesting advisers with less scale consider the new technology as more of a challenge to their business.

Steven Cameron, Pensions Director at Aegon said: “The increasing use of technology in financial services is essential to engage customers in the future. It also provides opportunities for adviser firms to find new ways for people to access advice, particularly on less complex topics, which may not have been open to them in the past. This innovation has real potential to enhance adviser businesses, providing parallel advice and guidance offerings that can benefit customers and help close the advice gap.

“The poor customer take-up of pure robo-advice propositions in the market today highlights the ongoing importance of the human aspect of an adviser’s service. For this reason, we see robo-advice technology as being most likely to represent an opportunity for advisers to complement their offerings and not a threat. Customers will increasingly come to expect digital services alongside traditional advice so it’s important advisers embrace technology and consider how best to deliver a seamless experience across digital and physical channels.

“Providers need to support intermediaries to create a successful market for advice and we believe robo developments will prove to be healthy for the adviser industry. As advisers grow used to the new innovations, they should prove to be a useful and valuable extension to face to face financial advice.”

*Asset Management in the UK 2015-2016, The Investment Association Annual Survey


Further information

Research conducted by Opinium among 252 UK Financial Advisers. The fieldwork was conducted 21 - 27 June 2017.

Neil Cameron
PR Manager
Aegon UK
Tel: 0131 549 3393
Mob: 07972 403 757


Notes to Editors

  • In the UK, Aegon offers retirement, workplace savings and protection solutions to around two million customers and employs approximately 3,450 staff. More information:  
  • As an international life insurance, pensions and asset management company based in The Hague, Aegon has businesses in over twenty five markets in the Americas, Europe and Asia. Aegon companies employ over 28,000 people and have millions of customers across the globe. Further information:  

Aegon is a brand name of Scottish Equitable plc. Scottish Equitable plc, registered office: Edinburgh Park, Edinburgh EH12 9SE. Registered in Scotland (No. 144517). Authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority. Financial Services Register number 165548. An Aegon company.

© 2017 Aegon UK plc.