Absa has launched Virtual Investor, an online self-service investment platform that uses algorithms to recommend a product for customers based on their financial attitudes to risk.
The first phase of the Virtual Investor will offer customers access to a pre-selected range of the South African bank's unit trusts, with more investment products, like retirement annuities, expected to follow soon.
Accessible through any Internet-connected device, individuals can either invest a one-off lump sum amount or through a debit order from as little as R200 a month.
"Everything, including the whole application process, is done online," says Armien Tyer, head of Absa Investments. “The easy-to-use interface and low investment fees further reduce the barriers to entry that often accompany investment services, and because selection is at the customer’s discretion and pace, they can make choices in line with their affordability."
He says customers will still be able to make use of financial advisers for more guidance and assistance with more complex investment decisions.
Separately, Barclays Africa Group, which holds 100% of Absa, has today announced plans to collaborate with nine fintech startups emerging from a demo day in Cape Town. The chosen few include Abe.ai from the US, Kapitalwise from the US, as well as FOMO Group and Byte Money from South Africa to test the potential to scale up and roll out the technology across the ten countries where Barclays Africa Group has operations. Others include Howler, FlexPay, Spatialedge, Sun Exchange and Avenews-GT.
Yasaman Hadjibashi, chief creation officer at Barclays Africa Group, says: “Any of these solutions could have the potential to solve some of the biggest challenges facing the financial services sector in Africa.”