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When it comes to making the most of our money, tech still needs the human touch

20 Apr 2019

Technology is changing the way we’re doing things and making our lives easier in many areas. But when it comes to important decisions such as how to make the most of our hard-earned cash, the majority of us still want the reassurance of the human touch. 

Research issued from Octopus Investments, part of the Octopus Group, reveals that the vast majority of Brits (70%) are sceptical of purely automated services for vital issues in life such as health and money.

Despite the development of machine learning, many said that they wouldn’t trust the latest trends in robo-surgery, self-driving cars or money invested in blockchain. And when it comes to our personal finances and robo-advice (online investment management, offered without any human intervention) just 15% said they would trust it.

According to the UK wide poll among 2000 consumers:

  • Just over half (51%) have never considered robo-advice
  • The distrust of robo-advice is even higher among those aged 55-64 + (63%) and 65+ (71%)
  • Just under half say that their preference is to speak to someone face to face about their finances (49%)
  • Over a third (39%) worry about the safety of managing their money online

However, advances in this kind of technology are only going to increase, as the vast majority (81%) of financial advisers say the next generation of financial advisers will need to include robo-advice as part of their offering.

Ruth Handcock, CEO at Octopus Investments said:

“While technology is an integral part of our everyday life, and can make services more convenient, our research highlights just how important the human touch is when it comes to helping us make the most of our money. Financial planning is about more than just numbers – it’s about what it means for people, their families and realising their life ambitions. Unsurprisingly, trust is a hugely important factor. When it comes to people’s life’s savings, most people want the comfort of knowing that a professional has taken the time to listen and understand what’s important to them.

“Now, that’s not to say technology doesn’t have an important role to play. Just as in other sectors, we think it can bring additional flexibility and lower the cost to serve clients, making financial advice more accessible to all. In the same way growing numbers are communicating with their GP online, we think more and more people will interact with their adviser in ways that suit them. But the future won’t see advisers replacing humans with technology. It’ll see them use technology to enhance the valuable service they already offer.”

Hannah Lewis, behavioural insights specialist said:

“When it comes to personal finances there is often a disconnect between what people say they’ll do and how they really behave. There are also real doubts as to whether a computer is capable of understanding an individual’s life goals and aspirations.

“When seeking financial advice, you want recommendations from someone who understands both money and people. A good adviser asks questions and uses their knowledge of people’s experience, life goals and how they behave as much as their financial knowledge. They know how to gain the right information and take into account how we will really behave when it comes to saving, spending and investing. If you want to plan effectively for your future, human interaction is vital.”

– Ends–

Notes to editor

*Research conducted via an online survey among 2000 consumers split 50% UK adults who have retired and 50% UK millennials (those born 1980-1994) and equal split male / female per group from 18 December to 27 December 2018 by Opinion Matters.

For journalists in their professional capacity only. The value of an investment, and any income from it, can fall as well as rise. Investors may not get back the full amount they invest. Personal opinions may change and should not be seen as advice or a recommendation. We do not offer investment or tax advice. We recommend investors seek professional advice before deciding to invest. Issued by Octopus Investments Limited, which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Registered office: 33 Holborn, London, EC1N 2HT. Registered in England and Wales No. 03942880. Issued: April 2019.