Santander has become the latest high-street bank to offer robo advice, by delivering a ‘Digital Investment Adviser’ targeting first-time investors.
The bank’s research found there are 1.8 million first-time investors with an average of £247 per month spare cash they can invest, and that is the target of this new service.
Santander will charge clients a flat fee of £20 for a suitability report, which is a departure from the contingent charging model used by many robo advisors.
there are 1.8 million first-time investors with an average of £247 per month spare cash they can invest
The clients first receive information about what they could achieve from investing and an assessment of the level of risk they want to take, and then receive a report based upon their response.
There is an ongoing platform fee of up to 0.35% (35 bps) per year.
The robo-advice service is restricted to Santander’s own funds and in addition to the platform fee, fund charges are:
- Santander Multi Index fund 1 – 34bps
- Santander Multi Index fund 2 – 39bps
- Santander Multi Index fund 3 – 44bps
- Santander Multi Index fund 4 – 49bps
The service will also direct clients to other options if it feels investing is not right for that individual, – potentially paying off expensive debt before they start investing, or putting money into a savings account if they are not prepared to take investment risk.
In developing its service, Santander teamed up with behavioural risk profiling fintech firm, Be-IQ, which launched last year following work with academics. Its risk-profiling tool accounts for individuals’ cognitive biases such as a client’s self-perception of risk tolerance.
Neil Bage, co-founder of Be-IQ said: ‘Santander came to us and we said through our research we can prove that what people think of themselves, their self-perception of risk-taking, is often not the same as reality.
Investing today shouldn’t be just for those with thousands to spare
‘You might think subjectively you are a risk-taker but the second you start experiencing losing money your behaviour kicks in and more than likely you will react in a different way to the way you anticipated you would. Santander wanted the full picture.’
Alexia Kilby, head of investments at Santander UK, said: ‘Investing today shouldn’t be just for those with thousands to spare – the launch of our Digital Investment Adviser is designed for a new type of investor with investment levels set at just £20 a month.’
Kilby added that, through Be-IQ’s risk profiling service, Santander can give ‘its customers a behaviourally centric investment profile, which, in turn, allows us to offer our customers a personalised investment proposal’.
The launch comes weeks after UBS closed its robo-advice service in August – more