15 May 2018

Robot financial adviser granted FMA exemption

11:43 am on 15 May 2018

The country has its first robot financial adviser after KiwiWealth was given an exemption by the Financial Markets Authority from the current law which requires humans to give financial and investment advice.

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Photo: 123RF

The online advisor will ask people to enter details, such as when they plan to retire, and what rate they might be able to contribute to a fund, and then run savers through projections and look at what might be the best investment options.

KiwiWealth's manager of customer and product innovation Joe Bishop said the system will be flexible and easy-to-use, and will develop with use.

"Our goal is to provide our members with detailed and personalised retirement income planning and financial advice at their fingertips. We intend to then build this out even further to incorporate non-retirement goals such as saving for their children's education."

But Mr Bishop said it would still have human advisors offer detailed advice and have control of the robot.

"The hope is they can concentrate on the more-value add part of the conversation with ... the noting down assets and liabilities, for instance, already taken care of beforehand on-line," he said.

"But the fact is that, with more than 2.8 million Kiwis enrolled in KiwiSaver and only around 1800 authorised financial advisers available, technology is the only way to make sure everyone can get easy access to good advice."

Financial "robo-advice" is widespread around the world, but the FMA will have to give exemptions until changes to New Zealand law are next year.