Banco Santander has launched a mass-market robo-advisory service for customers with as little as £20 a month to set aside.
The bank's Digital Investment Adviser (DIA) guides people through straightforward questions about their current financial position, what they want to achieve and assess the level of risk they are prepared to take with their money. Customers can choose to select specific long-term investment goals, such as paying for a child’s wedding or a property.
Once they complete their advice session, DIA will indicate whether their financial goal is achievable. They then have the option to pay £20 for a personalised report directing them to one of four Santander Asset Management funds, specifically created to match the profiles and risk attitude score calculated through DIA. The assets in the funds are a mixture of bonds and equities, which are assessed every quarter to ensure they still match the required risk rating.
The robo-adviser will will also point to other options if it identifies that investing isn’t currently right for the applicant. For instance, a customer without any emergency savings may be directed to a savings account while one with outstanding debt would be advised to repay that first.
The service is aimed at ordinary savers who are discouraged from investing by financial jargon or the perceived high costs of financial advisory services. Research by Santander among 2000 UK adults estimates that there are are 1.8 million Swifts (Savers Wanting to Invest for the First Time) with £450 million a month in spare cash they are willing to invest, at an average of £247 each.
Alexia Kilby, head of investments at Santander UK says: “Investing today shouldn’t be just for those with thousands to spare - the launch of our Digital Investment Adviser (DIA) is designed for a new type of investor with investment levels set at just £20 a month. Our research shows there are lots of people out there who have cash available to invest but are losing out as they just don’t know where to start.”