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Robo-advice and the future of Canadian banking

Robo-advice and the future of Canadian banking 

Accenture, a Toronto-based advising firm, defines robo-advice as “computer-generated advice and services, independent of a human advisor”. In their report, “Banking on Value: Rewards, Robo-Advice and Relevance”, Accenture explores what this term means in North America.

It’s a well-known concept among Canadians, with 50 per cent citing speed and convenience as its top benefit. An additional 33 per cent believe cost-saving is the primary incentive of using the solution.

“Robo-advice is gaining significant traction in the wealth management industry in Canada, and our research shows that consumers are open to working with robo-advisors for their retail banking needs,” said Bob Vokes, managing director of Accenture’s Canadian financial services practice. “Consumers are excited about the potential savings and accuracy that robo-advice offers. We are now seeing leading financial services players starting to embrace intelligent automation and robotics to simplify and improve the customer experience.”

All in all, approximately 43 per cent of Canadian bank customers are open to using automated recommendations for banking services. Those with the most interest in the product are millennials and mass-affluent consumers, defined as those earning over $100,000 in annual income.

The increased popularity of branchless banks has caused a rise of eight percentage points from the previous year. Now, 23 per cent of Canadians would consider switching to a non-traditional bank.

Despite this shift, Accenture acknowledges the role traditional branches continue to play.

“Online banking remains the most popular channel; however, Canadian consumers continue to see value in branches for services and they will continue to do so for the foreseeable future,” says Vokes. “Even as Canadian consumers indicate their interest in artificial intelligence for banking, they demand human interaction at the branch to handle their more complex banking needs. Consumers expect a seamless experience that can blend their digital and physical channels, and the banks that are able to deliver this experience will earn the loyalty of their customers.”

Eighty-seven per cent of Canadians consumers claim they will continue to use the branch in the future, even up to two years from now. The reasoning was split 50/50 between “I trust my bank more when speaking to someone in person” and “I receive more value from my bank when speaking to someone in person”.

Clearly, the robots still have a thing or two to learn.

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