Money and Media - Communications, Connections, Comments

Robo copped

Unless you’ve been locked in a cupboard for the past few years, it’s been impossible to ignore the rise of robo-advice across the financial services market place.

You know, those automated online apps from the likes of Nutmeg, Moneyfarm, et al, aimed at a younger investor profile compared with the sorts of customer who’d typically head towards more traditional fund supermarkets.

Last year, consultants Boring Money estimated that about a third of the 800,000-odd UK DIY investment accounts opened in the nine months to September 2018 were done so via a robo-adviser. Wowsers. When the equivalent figures are totted up for this year, I can’t believe the proportion will have done anything other than increase.

These sorts of stats got me thinking. If there’s a growing appetite for robe-advice amongst investors, there’s presumably scope (need?) for greater, formal coverage of this sector.

Robo-advice: limited coverage

But as far as I can tell, the rise of the robo-advice phenomenon has not really been reflected in the UK’s financial publishing space. Sure, there are occasional articles in both the consumer money pages (here’s a paywalled one from the FT in March) as well as in the more specialist financial B2B press (such as this listing in Investment Week).

To my knowledge, however, no established financial publisher in the UK has grasped the nettle properly and created a full-blown media outlet dedicated solely to the subject of robo-advice.

What are they waiting for? I’m certain their counterparts of 20 years ago would have been more adventurous and jumped at the chance. It’s hardly as if we’re talking about a here-today-gone-tomorrow aspect of financial services.

To someone like yours truly who’s launched several financial titles in the past, the commercials make sense too. Audience-wise, there’s a growing number of customers, complemented all the while by fierce competition from providers.

Needless to say, if the thought should arise I’m happy to throw my editorial hat into the ring and help develop the idea.