The robo-advice revolution: fact or fiction?

Held on Monday, March 21, 2016

With support from Kemp Little


  • Nick Hungerford (director, Nutmeg)

  • Richard Anderson (head of wealth planning and advice, Lloyds Bank)

  • Angelos Gousios (senior analyst, Cerulli Associates)

  • Malcolm Hurlston (founding chair, StepChange)

  • Lucy Frew (partner, Kemp Little)

  • Lucy Frew (Kemp Little)



I have long been a bit puzzled by ‘robo-advice’. What exactly is it? At whom is it aimed? Who is offering robo-advice? What kind of products does it cover? Who regulates it (and how)? And will it, indeed, take over the world?

Well, the first one is (fairly) easy. Although the term is a little fluffy around the edges, it is an internet-based approach to personal investing, in which the investor provides details on his/her risk preference, income, wealth and personal circumstances – and then, bingo, an algorithm does the rest. Well almost.

As for the other issues, that’s for our distinguished panel to discuss – and explain:

  • Nick Hungerford is the founding CEO of Nutmeg, which is the UK’s leading stand-alone, globally diversified robo-investment platform. Or, as Nick puts it, “the UK’s first online discretionary investment management company”. His pitch: no premium for “the illusion of a personal relationship”, low fees, complete transparency and a diverse, global range of assets. (Disclaimer: my colleague, Jane Fuller, is an advisor to Nutmeg).
  • Richard Anderson is head of wealth planning and advice at Lloyds (and was previously the bank’s head of regulated proposition for UK private banking products).
  • Angelos Gousios is the lead author of Cerulli Associates’ most recent “European Distribution Dynamics” report, which looks at robo-advice (among other things). Prior to joining Cerulli, he was an analyst with Lipper.
  • Malcolm Hurlston launched the Foundation for Credit Counselling (now StepChange), which was the first organisation to introduce robo-advice for the indebted.
  • Lucy Frew is head of financial regulation at Kemp Little, where she advises start-ups and established players on the regulatory implications of technology innovations.

This is an important area – one in which ‘new builds’ and established players are fighting for dominance, particularly in the millennial demographic.