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Investec Launches ‘Click & Invest’: Bionic finance is here, but is it robo advice?

Investec Launches ‘Click & Invest’: Bionic finance is here, but is it robo advice?

Investec Wealth & Investment (IW&I) has become the latest wealth and investment manager to announce an online automated investment – robo advice – platform with the launch of its Click & Invest platform

IW&I which is part of the Investec Group that manages over £150 billion in funds worldwide, has launched its actively managed online investment service for individuals in the UK with £10,000 or more to invest, aiming to make investing as ‘straightforward and transparent’ as possible.

In common with a number of recent launches such as Killick’s Silo or UBS’ Smartwealth Click & Invest serves up an intuitive and engaging user interface allowing the user to test various scenarios by changing parameters such as initial sum to invest, regular investments and time horizon and shows a range of outcomes based upon good, expected and poor investment returns.

However, in the background sit Investec’s decidedly homo sapiens investment managers aiming to outperform the market with their actively managed funds; taking full advantage of Investec’s wealth of knowledge and experience, or a bit of a swizz – you pays your money and takes your choice.

With the recent Epsom Derby just one of the high profile sporting events sponsored by Investec, as a company Investec enjoys good brand awareness and should be well positioned to leverage this as it promotes the new service, which it built from scratch.

Investec enjoys good brand awareness and should be well positioned to leverage this as it promotes the new service

Investec Click & Invest, which is authorized and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) markets itself as combining the experience of a team of investment managers with the convenience and ease of an online service, opening it up to those that previously had no access to traditional wealth management services; Investec hopes to appeal to a wide range of investors, from novices to the more experienced.

The investment portfolios that underpin the service are based on over 300 actively managed funds and these in turn are actively managed by a team of investment managers ‘using strict criteria’ with the aim of ‘outperforming the market’; funds are assessed and reviewed on a monthly basis.

Chief executive of Investec Click & Invest, Jane Warren, said: ‘Investec Click & Invest is uniquely placed as an online investment service, which is based on the same principles and expertise offered by Investec Wealth & Investment. The service is simple, intuitive and transparent, offering clients the convenience and ease of an online service, with the knowledge that their money is being actively managed by our team of experts – not algorithms.’

 

What does Muckler think?

 

Muckle is committed to encouraging long term savings and investment and promoting financial self-reliance; any initiative intended to assist in that pursuit is only to be applauded.

Although shunned as a description by some digital investment managers ‘robo advice’ has certainly made some impression in the public lexicon, and is a useful term to throw a blanket over a large number of the fintech start-ups we have seen in the last couple of years; the micro savings and investment apps can quite happily exist in this space.

However, offerings such as Click and Invest and Brewin Portfolio service are different; whereas the robo advisors use algorithms to construct risk-adjusted portfolios of passive investments – typically ETFs – the new breed make a virtue out of using actively managed funds, and the fact that they can often leverage decades, if not centuries, of investment heritage.

If ‘hybrid advice’ describes algorithmically generated advice delivered by a human, maybe Killick nailed it by coining the phrase ‘bionic finance’ to describe human investment advice delivered by a machine?; a variation is ‘cyborg advice’ but one day we are going to want somewhere to file it.

Click & Invest makes much of the strength and security of the Investec brand and Investec Wealth & Investment’s 180 years of investment expertise.

It levies one annual management fee, which is tiered according to the level of investment -0.65% on the first £100,000 invested, 0.50% on the next £150,000 that are invested and thereafter 0.35% on any amounts invested over £250,000.

There is no charge for setting up a portfolio, no dealing commission and no charges for transferring in, withdrawing money or closing an account.

Fees are also applied by the individual funds – those used by Investec charge an average of 0.6% which is deducted directly from the fund.

Click and Invest is keen to draw attention to its active fund management, sophisticated risk profiling methodology

It’s fee structure does not put it at the cheaper end of the robo advice market but Click and Invest is keen to draw attention to its active fund management, sophisticated risk profiling methodology and the fact that it reassesses the risk profiling of each investor every year and offers genuine 24/7 customer service.

The application process, designed in conjunction with research firm Morningstar assesses an individual’s attitude to risk, capacity for financial losses and investment goals; it then places them in one of five different risk-based investment strategies – Defensive, Cautious, Measured, Adventurous and Aggressive.

Clients can see the funds in their portfolio and receive monthly video updates from their investment managers about how their portfolio is performing and any changes that have been made on their behalf.

With a minimum investment of £10,000 is clearly initially fishing in a different pond from those offering a minimum investment of £1 aimed at cash-strapped millennials; still ‘mony a mickle maks a muckle’ as we like to say and Click and Invest offers yet another choice to investors and in many ways raises the bar in terms of risk profiling and management.

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