Standard Life customers may not have to deal with humans for much longer

Standard Life says many people prefer digital interactions to human ones when dealing with finances. Getty Images

Standard Life — one of the UK’s biggest insurance firms — has restated its plans to pursue “robo-advice” technology.

Speaking via video link at a conference held by Syntel on Friday morning, Standard Life’s Director of Operations Mike Tumilty said robo-advice was “something we’ll have to look at. [It’s] something Syntel will be looking to develop.”

Robo-advice is the name given to automated online wealth management services.

It’s a growing area of the financial technology industry (fintech), and involves replacing face-to-face customer financial advice with with an online, algorithmic interface.

Responding to whether Standard Life was threatened by up and coming fintech firms, Tumilty said he already saw Syntel — who provide IT solutions for Standard Life — as a fintech firm, albeit “a big one.”

He added that this was all part of a “3M” strategy to “migrate, modernise, and manage” the transition of legacy IT systems into fast networks that responded to customers in real time.

Standard Life expressed an interest in robo-advice back in January, saying that with the increased use of internet “it’s understandable that when looking for advice consumers will be tempted to follow a digital route too.”

It added that “trust” came into consideration too, as “an increasing number of Britons rely on YouTube rather than their bank manager for impartial financial advice.”

Business Insider previously reported on the alleged “financial advice gap” in which 16 million Britons needed financial advice but couldn’t afford it. This has resulted in a fintech gold rush, with both startups and established companies competing to be the go-to digital interface for financial interactions.

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