RBS returns to advice with robo offering

RBS Royal Bank of Scotland 440Royal Bank of Scotland has joined rivals like HSBC in launching an automated investment advice service for more than five million customers.

The bank claims to be the first bank in the UK to launch a “fully regulated” robo-advice service, which will be under its NatWest brand.

The service, live from today, is targeted at consumers with £500 or more to invest as a lump sum.

There will be a range of five risk-rated index funds investors can chose from across the existing NatWest Invest platform. Charges for the funds are capped at 0.6 per cent.

Those wanting to invest will pay £10 for receiving advice.

The bank says after selecting their investment goals, customers will receive “fully regulated” advice on how much they should invest, the most suitable products for them and how to use their Isa allowance.

NatWest Invest managing director of premier banking Phil Northey says: “At NatWest we are very focused on meeting our customers’ needs and it is clear that too many of our customers are not able to get the investment advice they need. Their expectations are also changing.

“They are increasingly choosing to bank with us digitally. We have responded by launching an online investment advice service. This will help our customers to get on in their lives and to achieve their financial goals. We’re proud to be the only UK bank offering such a service to our customers.”

In January 2016, Santander kick-started banks’ journey back to the market, less than two years after it was hit with a £12.4m FCA fine for poor advice.

RBS rivals such as Barclays and HSBC have also announced they will enter the robo-advice market this year.

Platforum head Jeremy Fawcett says: “Most of the branch-based advise teams were disbanded after the RDR but we knew that it wouldn’t be a permanent exit for the banks. The question was how to do it without risking a PPI-style nightmare.

“Execution-only robo advisers have been the centre of attention for a while, but online regulated advice services are arriving. NatWest Invest will join 2017 launches from Evestor, Munnypot, Investec and UBS. Other high-street competitors are working on new services as well.”