Let’s scrap the phrase ‘robo-advice’

Ryan Bembridge

May 24, 2017

The industry should stop using the term ‘robo-advice’ which is misleading and alienating for customers, a mortgage panel agreed.

Mark Graves, sales director of Sesame Bankhall Group, Brian Holland, commercial head of mortgages at Royal Bank of Scotland and Patrick Bunton, director of London & Country Mortgages, stuck the boot into the term.

Graves said: “It is meaningless and I don’t know why we use it.”

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Holland said: “It’s the least customer friendly phrase we’ve seen – it’s up there with execution-only.

“I’m sure customers don’t like the idea of a robot in the background so we definitely need to come up with something more customer-friendly.”

The ‘robo-advice’ buzzword was coined by a series of US startups in 2008.

Bunton said: “When ‘robo-advice’ came in it was one of those trendy phrases from the United States.

“But over there the platforms – especially in the investment space – were about technology assistance, with online working in tandem with speaking to someone.

“The term robo-advice has been very, very unhelpful because it immediately jumps to a different world where you’ve got a Dalek sat there or a computer screen.”

Also on the panel was Jenny Watts of Habito, which calls itself a ‘digital mortgage adviser’.

She joked that ‘digital’ is no clearer than ‘robo’ but Graves assured her it “definitely” is a better term.

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