On 21 May 2018, the FCA published a webpage setting out the findings of its reviews of firms offering automated investment services.
The FCA reviewed seven firms doing automated online discretionary investment management (ODIM) In these cases the firm has responsibility to invest on a client's behalf, within agreed parameters, on an ongoing basis. They also reviewed three firms providing automated retail investment advice.
The advice firms fared the worst.
The FCA's findings include:
FCA highlights rules on communications with clients (COBS 4), and suitability (COBS 9 and 9A).
Many advisers wonder whether firms like Nutmeg will ever make a return to justify the investment in robo-advice.
As soon as you give advice, the floodgates open to suitability and Cobs9, and this makes it hard to comply in automated format.
Far better to navigate the execution only side and then turn yourself into a marketing company – like Hargreaves Lansdown. Or wait and see what works and then make your move on robo advice.
The FCA restated that its rules on suitability of advice apply regardless of the medium through which the service is offered and that its rules apply equally to emerging automated offerings.
FCA will review more firms in the auto-advice market later in the 2018/19 financial year.