NZ’s first free-to-air robo-adviser enjoyed a successful debut with over 1,000 users trialing the system on day one, according to Nikko Asset Management NZ chief, George Carter.
Carter said the early response to the Nikko ‘GoalsGetter’ service, which went live last Wednesday, indicated there was latent demand in NZ for online advice to help with common investment issues.
“People generally kind of know what they need to do but something like GoalsGetter can provide a little bit of help to show them that they’re on track or that their plans make sense,” he said. “It can give them that extra bit of confidence to take action.”
The Nikko robo-advice system lets users develop investment plans across eight goals (including a ‘custom’ option) based on self-assessed factors such as targets, timeframe, regular savings capability, risk tolerance and current assets.
For the ‘retirement savings’ goal, investors can also run long-term projections that can either include or exclude the universal government pension.
“Perhaps some younger people might not expect to be receiving NZ Super when they retire,” Carter said.
During the process, GoalsGetter prompts users to rethink factors such as contribution rate or investment choice if they are inconsistent with their stated targets. Investors can choose their own funds or accept the recommended options – all limited to the Nikko NZ range.
If users do accept the GoalsGetter retirement savings recommendations, the robo-adviser will trigger a funds transfer to the Nikko KiwiSaver scheme. The Nikko scheme has seen sluggish growth since launch last year, accumulating about 50 members and just under $5 million.
While GoalsGetter allows users to assemble a basic asset allocation plan without investing in the Nikko products, Carter said the manager expected a certain proportion would follow through over time.
GoalsGetter would also help build the Nikko brand in the retail market, he said.
Nikko would develop the GoalsGetter service based on user feedback and behaviour.
“For example, if people are consistently dropping out at certain points on the journey we may have to make changes,” Carter said.
GoalsGetter was not designed to replace full-blown financial advice, he said, but should serve as a source of “sensible” investment guidance for those looking for simple directions.
“If people want more complex financial advice we suggest they see a licensed financial adviser,” Carter said.
The Financial Markets Authority (FMA) has granted robo-advice exemptions to just three other providers – Kiwi Wealth, Cigna Life and Auckland advisory business, National Capital. However, GoalsGetter is currently the only service freely open to the general public.