View more on these topics

Charles Schwab follows Vanguard by pouring cold water on UK robo prospects


Charles Schwab, the US-based $2.8trn (£2.3trn) wealth manager and broker, says it has no plans to launch a robo-advice service in the UK despite the success of its US offering.

The firm, which offers both a self-directed and advised wealth management service to UK-based clients, manages $11bn of assets in the US through its automated investment tool, Intelligent Portfolios, which is double the amount
managed by competitors such as Betterment.

Speaking to Money Marketing, Charles Schwab UK managing director Kully Samra says there is little hope for such a service in the UK.

He says: “The FCA approached us to understand more on how Intelligent Portfolios works in the US. We thought about launching it in the UK but it is all about scale and is really hard.

“With our product there is no charge for clients; the only charge is the underlying expense ratios for ETFs or cash.

“The reason it works very well in the US is because there are features like tax-loss harvesting, and with that you have to deeply understand whatever the tax regime is.

“Frankly, we don’t fully understand the UK tax regime to build it into
the service. We’d have to build it from scratch and we don’t think there is momentum or scale at the moment.”

The comments echo Vanguard’s conversations with Money Marketing to the effect that the ‘pure’ robo-advice model prevalent in the US could not work in the UK due to FCA regulation and the role of regulated advice.

Money Marketing can reveal Charles Schwab will be launching an advised offering for UK investors to access the US market this year, which will include a managed account.



Vanguard: ‘Pure robo-advice cannot work in the UK’

Vanguard says the “pure” robo-advice model prevalent in the US could not work in the UK due to FCA regulation and the role of regulated advice. Last month, Money Marketing revealed Vanguard is preparing to launch a direct-to-consumer offering to rival the likes of Hargreaves Lansdown and Nutmeg. But Vanguard business development manager Rob Fisher […]


Nutmeg: ‘We are not threatened by Vanguard’

Online investment manager Nutmeg is not threatened but “excited” at Vanguard’s breakthrough into the UK direct-to-consumer market, Nutmeg chief investment officer Shaun Port says. Earlier this month Money Marketing revealed Vanguard will launch its D2C offering within six months. Port told Money Marketing: “We don’t look this as a threat at all. This is a market […]

Vanguard John James

Vanguard set to compete with Hargreaves on D2C

Vanguard, one of the world’s largest fund groups, has its sights on the likes of Hargreaves Lansdown and Nutmeg as it prepares to launch a direct-to-consumer offering. Separately, the fund group known for its low-cost passives is also looking to expand its active investments with the launch of a global fund range next year. Speaking […]

European Opportunities: 'It’s nice when stock selection results in a macro tailwind'

Amid significant macro headwinds in August, Mark Page explains why his fund’s focus on stock selection has helped it outperform a falling market in August. BESbswyBESbswyBESbswyBESbswyBESbswyBESbswyBESbswyBESbswyBESbswyBESbswyBESbswyBESbswy

Industry under fire over pension freedoms

By Jamie Clark, Business Development Manager, Royal London Recent articles in the media have raised concerns about the new pension freedoms. One perceived problem is that across the industry, trustees and providers are not necessarily allowing people to take full advantage of the pension freedoms in situ. This is backed up by a recent survey by […]


News and expert analysis straight to your inbox

Sign up


There are 3 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. Well as I have said before:

    Robo advice is to financial services what a rubber dolly is to sex. It might work, is certainly cheaper, but it definitely isn’t the real thing. Would you really want to try it?

    It now seems that the large operators are starting to concur. From what Schwab is reported to have said it appears that their US offering is limited to ETFs and cash – about as useful as a bicycle for a fish in the UK.

  2. Advisers are now saved by the regulator? The Regulator is the Adviser’s hero (inadvertently or otherwise)!

Leave a comment


Why register with Money Marketing ?

Providing trusted insight for professional advisers.  Since 1985 Money Marketing has helped promote and analyse the financial adviser community in the UK and continues to be the trusted industry brand for independent insight and advice.

News & analysis delivered directly to your inbox
Register today to receive our range of news alerts including daily and weekly briefings

Money Marketing Events
Be the first to hear about our industry leading conferences, awards, roundtables and more.

Research and insight
Take part in and see the results of Money Marketing's flagship investigations into industry trends.

Have your say
Only registered users can post comments. As the voice of the adviser community, our content generates robust debate. Sign up today and make your voice heard.

Register now

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3712

Lines are open Monday to Friday 9:00am -5.00pm