Robots act in a uniform way given a certain set of circumstances, but rarely do humans follow the same rules.
Whilst online advice is a fantastic application of technology to enable accessible and affordable advice to large numbers, it can only be seen as an additional service not a replacement.
As with all forms of communication and indeed human behaviour, one size will not fit all needs. As the case study here at Aberdeen Asset Management shows, while online advice offered another communication route, their people weren't comfortable making a financial decision purely based on the online advice, they also wanted to talk to a human adviser before investing.
To reach all employees in a population, all methods of communication need to be considered: online, web and face to face. Those employers with fantastic benefits and pensions portals that have great online modellers know that it's other communication methods that engage their staff and encourage them to use the online services. For difficult, significant and sensitive messages nothing can replace face to face delivery.
Financial education programmes that can offer all communication channels, that understand how to tailor these tools to reach all employees and that can provide access to face to face, telephone based and online advice will deliver the best outcomes for all staff. The alternative is patchy use and lack of engagement.
The choice needs to be with each individual so they can access the guidance and advice they need in the way they feel most comfortable doing it.
What role does robo-advice play in a financial education strategy?