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Investors like a human hand on advice and fund tillers survey finds

18 October 2017

The majority of UK investors want their portfolios to be managed by experts rather than rely on automation, similarly with their financial planning, despite growth of robo-advice, a Legg Mason survey has found.

While automation is becoming more commonplace across financial services in recent years, UK investors are yet to be convinced by full automation when it comes to investment portfolios, the asset manager says.

Of investors surveyed, just 5% said the development of an investment portfolio should be left purely to technology, while only 14% said technology should take a leading role.

Instead, the majority of UK investors want humans to take the lead when it comes to building their investment portfolios.

A third (34%) believe portfolio construction should be human-led and supported by technology, while 22% believe it should only be performed by humans, with no interaction from technology.

The findings are within Legg Mason’s 2017 Global Investment Survey, its fifth annual survey of investor attitudes and sentiment which assessed the views of 15,300 individuals around the world.

Financial planning

Similarly, when creating a financial plan, just 16% of UK respondents said such a plan could be created solely by technology (robo-advice), or as part of a technology-led solution. This compared to 64% who favoured a human-led or human-only approach.

Alexander Barry, head of UK sales at Legg Mason, said the findings showed the best route forward for the delivery of advice will likely be an amalgamation of the two.

“Clearly, for UK investors, advice from a human is still of paramount importance, and this is unlikely to change for some time.

“However, as technology continues to develop and becomes ever more sophisticated, there is clearly scope for advisers to utilise robo-advice to offer a wider service to clients.”

The findings globally were similar to the UK, with 65% of global respondents agreeing a financial plan should be human-only or human-led, and just 19% thinking it should be technology-led or solely created via technology.

“Even in countries around the globe, like the US, where robo-advice and automation in financial services has been around longer, human interaction in some form or another remains crucial to the majority of clients,” Barry added.


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