Most notable robo advisor launches and plans from Q1 2017

Robo advisors have been instrumental in shaking private banks and wealth managers out of their comfort zones.

Most notable robo advisor launches and plans from Q1 2017

Whether or not the automated advisory service offerings are luring away wealthy clients and ‘disrupting’ the traditional wealth market, one thing is for certain. Robo advisors have been instrumental in shaking private banks and wealth managers out of their comfort zones.

Traditionally, private banks have not been as fast as retail banks or even credit card companies to embrace the digital world. There are several reasons for this – major ones being that the clients these banks deal with are typically high value, extremely private and steeped in interpersonal relationships and service. 

When it comes to modernising themselves, front to back on the technology spectrum, it hasn’t been an easy or straightforward journey for wealth managers. Legacy systems and complex products and services have posed barriers as have old-school skills and mind sets. But change has come about. 

Millions of dollars and massive projects later, several private banks have launched nifty online and mobile banking interfaces, advanced PFM tools, enhanced data management capabilities and robust security provisions. These efforts are ongoing. Some banks have even set up their own innovation hubs. Artificial Intelligence has come to the fore with gusto and social media is also being exploited to gain clients’ attention.

As robo advisors are becoming gradually more commonplace, traditional incumbents in the wealth space have taken notice and launched their own robo advisor platforms.

 

Q1 of 2017 has seen real movement in this space among private banking players. Some of the biggest private banking players have brought to the fore their very own robo advice offerings. Some of the new propositions are leveraging firms’ human advisor expertise alongside a set of automated tools to offer a hybrid model.

 Launched in Q1 2017

 UBS – SmartWealth

UBS’s new robo advice service, SmartWealth, was launched at the end of February to target the UK mass affluent – a new segment for the private bank, which has traditionally only serviced millionaires.

OCBC Bank – WeInvest partnership

Singapore’s OCBC Bank has teamed up with local fintech firm WeInvest to pilot a robo-advisory service that will allow users to invest in stocks and ETFs through automated algorithm based portfolio management advice.