Financial software firm eValue has built a simplified advice programme providing customers with a recommendation on how to use their pension pot.
The firm already provides the technology behind the majority of providers’ retirement income modellers launched on the back of increased demand following the new freedoms.
It has recently become regulated by the FCA to provide online advice and is eyeing a tie-up with life companies, corporations, banks, employee benefit consultants and large advice firms.
eValue senior consultant Andrew Storey says the service will help advisers and organisations deal with clients whose pots are too small to make providing full advice cost efficient.
He says: “We are trying to support advisers with what they do, we are not here to take over the world of advice. We’ll be supporting the online advice process, which could be offered by an adviser who does not want to deal with that particular client because they are too small and not viable for them.”
Users with simple needs can go through the programme online without interacting with an adviser unless they want to. Certain triggers – such as if the customer plans to retire abroad – will mean they have to seek a fuller service.
However, users build up credits giving them money off the cost of full advice by submitting more information online.
The firm has not yet set the cost of the service, but Storey expects demand will be between £150 to £250 and notes that employers could use the £150 tax deductible expense limit.
Finance & Technology Research Centre director Ian McKenna says: “Going forward this is going to be one of the most crucial areas in the ongoing development of adviser businesses.
“The differentiators will be how sophisticated systems are at identifying those who are not suitable for fully automated advice and how they are managed out of the process, and even back in to the process further down the line.”
“We are more constrained in the UK, compared to the US, because of regulation limiting innovation. There are some very low cost solutions in the US which would need more work to adapt to meet the UK assessing suitability standards.”
In recent weeks LV= has launched its Clear Online Retirement Advice service where customers are charged £199 for a recommendation and £499 to execute.
Just Retirement has also partnered with Phoenix Life to deliver a telephone-based simplified advice offering.
Hargreaves Lansdown has unveiled what it labels an advice service, although it does not give specific, personal recommendations. Customers are offered an hour-long consultation with one of its advisers for £395.
But Storey claims the firm’s service is superior because of its independence from the retirement products it recommends and its experience in financial forecasting.
eValue already offers a direct-to-consumer planner called Moneybee but is yet to decide whether the branding will also cover the advice service.