Voice of the Customer

People could be more likely to turn to a friend than seek “robo-advice” to help them when it comes to making money decisions, research suggests.

A survey of consumers across 15 countries, including 1,000 in the UK, found only 3% in Europe would be willing to give up control over their finances and let a robo-adviser act on their behalf without them first giving the go-ahead.

A robo-adviser computer programme learns people’s preferences and invests money based on this information.

People’s views in the UK were in line with the average across Europe, with only 3% of Britons saying they would let a computer conduct financial activities without it needing their approval, the ING International Survey Mobile Banking 2017 – Newer Technologies, found.

The international survey found that in general, when seeking investment advice, two-fifths (40%) of people would seek out a human financial adviser if looking to invest, while 14% would speak to friends and family.

Alternatively, 16% of people are willing to find the information they seek themselves via the internet and specialist websites, the research found.

But it said that, again, “few are willing to trust a robo-adviser”, with just 4% of people saying they would seek advice from a computer programme.

ING behavioural scientist Nathalie Spencer said: “Letting algorithms make money decisions for us has the potential to be really advantageous and free up some headspace – yet we found that many people are reluctant to give up control of these decisions.

“As newer technologies like robo-advisers become more prevalent, we may see people start to embrace the personalisation and convenience it offers, but the desire to control decisions will most likely mean that most will always want final approval.”

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