Human service is not a thing of the past, however, with branch usage at the highest level since 2010.
Robo advisors are sweeping Europe, with UK consumers jumping on the trend and prepared to turn to robots for financial advice.
According to a report by Accenture, over two-thirds (68%) of UK consumers would use robo-advice to aid traditionally complex banking decisions, including how to allocate investments (74%), the type of bank account to open (68%) and retirement planning (60%).
25% of those surveyed found impartiality to be a key attraction of robo advisors, with this figure rising to almost one third (32%) in the over 65’s. Interestingly this is nearly double that of millenials (23%). In addition to impartiality, speed and convience were also cited as key attractions for UK consumers. Lower costs as a key attraction was cited by 30% of those surveyed.
However, although the report indicated that UK consumers would be receptive to robo advisors, the findings also show that high-street branches are not a thing of the past. Branch usage
Branch usage is at the highest level since 2010, suggesting consumers still expect human advice and support. Over half (53%) of UK customers now regularly access their branch compared to 47% in 2010. Significantly, Generation Z (aged 18-21) customers in the UK visit their branch more regularly than any other generation, with one in four (25%) visiting at least once per week.
The onus, then should be on banks to invest in technology and, as Accenture’s Peter Kirk advised, to strike “the right balance between human and robo service.”
“While consumers seem open to new forms of technology and advice and are seemingly more comfortable interacting with robots for certain types of financial services, their reliance on high street branches continues. Banks need to recognise that for many consumers including the younger generation, the shift towards computer-generated services cannot be at the expense of access to human service at their local bank. The demand for branches seems set to continue,” said the Mr Kirk, Accenture’s head of distribution and marketing services.