HSBC boards the robo-advice train

HSBC boards the robo-advice train

HSBC is throwing its weight behind the robo-advisory movement, announcing plans to use data and algorithms to deliver tailored advice and make personal recommendations based on an individual’s circumstances.

The bank says the service - which is set to launch by the end of the year - will make wealth management advice available at a fraction of the cost to those with a small amount to invest.

HSBC has been developing the platform throughout the year and has tested the proposition using anomysed data in the Financial Conduct Authority's fintech sandbox.

Details are scant, but the bank says the service is intended to bring together the best of online, telephone and face to face investment advice.

Raman Bhatia, head of digital, UK & Europe says: “The way our customers interact with us is changing and we need to ensure that we stay ahead of the curve when it comes to the development of new and exciting technologies. We are very excited by HSBC Online Advice service and have been working with our customers and the FCA to shape our offering to ensure that we are providing the most up-to-date and smart wealth management advice possible."

The news comes just weeks after HSBC released research conducted among 12,000 consumers which found that people would rather put their faith in a robot to perform open-heart surgery than trust one to open a savings account or provide mortgage advice.

Bhatia is undaunted: "More customers than ever are using mobile and internet banking with more than 90% of our interactions with customers now done through our digital channels, so it’s the natural next step that investment advice is available online.”

The bank is not just putting the robots to work in the wealth management space; it is also partnering with Silicon Valley-based artificial intelligence startup Ayasdi to automate anti money-laundering investigations that have traditionally been conducted by thousands of humans. In a pilot of Ayasdi's technology, HSBC saw the number of investigations drop by 20% without reducing the number of cases referred for more scrutiny.

Speaking to Reuters, COO Andy Maguire said AI technology can help with compliance because it has the ability "to do things human beings are not typically good at like high frequency high volume data problems" or augment human capabilities.

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