Uk banking giant RBS is to cut by 220 the number of human advisers it employs, to switch its clients to an automated advisory service commonly referred to as ‘robo-advice’.
The news coincided with the release of a major report into the state of the UK’s financial advice industry which called for greater use of robo-advice types of systems, in an effort to ensure consumers got adequate advice in planning for retirement.
In a statement, Royal Bank of Scotland said face-to-face advice would now only be offered to customers with more than £250,000 to invest, although the new service would enable the bank “to help a new group of customers with as little as £500 to invest”.
In a statement, a NatWest and RBS spokesperson said: “We want to help as many customers as possible to invest their money in the right way for them. The demand for face-to-face investment advice is changing. Our customers increasingly want to bank with us using digital technology.
“As a result, we are scaling back our face-to-face advisers and significantly investing in an online investing platform.”
At the same time, the bank also said its Protection business would also now be available only over the phone, “due to the gradual decline in the number of customers” in that business. Some 200 additional jobs would go in this sector, it said.
As reported, the FCA’s Financial Advice Market Review today included a recommendation that robo-advice programmes be expanded, to ensure more people got good financial advice.
Today’s announcement by RBS is the latest in a series that have been issued in recent years by major UK banks, which have been getting out of the business of offering financial advice, in part, it is said, because the RDR regulations have made it unprofitable for them.