Nationwide’s Director of Financial Planning, Protection and Investments, Larry Banda:
We wholeheartedly believe that financial advice is a right, not a privilege and should be available to everyone. This is why the recommendations of the Financial Advice and Market Review are a step in the right direction and give some initial clarity around how the industry must focus on broadening access to financial advice and guidance. We look forward to working with the FCA to ensure our advice offering is both comprehensive and relevant to the lives of our customers.
One of the points drawn out in the report is of the use of technology to further the reach of advice. As providers increasingly look to adopt technological answers to the advice gap, there remains a risk that some may look to bypass human interface completely. At Nationwide, we believe that technology should not be a straight substitute for interaction with real human beings. People must be at the heart of any service – particularly when it comes to financial advice. As such, ‘robo-advice’ should only ever really be a support service in its own right, offering a specific service as part of a more holistic solution catering for the very different needs of customers.
This is why we will provide advice in a new way, enabling access to services in a way customers wish to receive it. Advice services will be available in branch and in person through services such as Nationwide Now, which offers the personal touch through a high-speed video link. New technology such as our Health Check tool, which is currently being piloted in branches, and new flexible and digital solutions that blend online guidance with human support, will ensure our customers are given the right level of support for their needs.
We will build and expand on what Nationwide, as a trusted provider, offers already and the FCA’s guidance announced today means we are one step closer to offering advice and guidance to all, not just the lucky few.