Nearly half of Canadians prefer automation over advisors

A new survey found that more than 40% of Canadian bank customers are open to using automated banking advice

More than 40% of Canadian bank customers are open to using automated recommendations for banking services, according to a new study by Accenture.

The study of more than 4,000 retail bank customers found that 43% of Canadian respondents said they were open to using computer-generated advice and services, independent of a human advisor.

“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.”

Canadians cited speed and convenience (50%) and lower costs (33%) as the primary benefits of using robo-advice. Millennials and mass-affluent customers (defined in the survey as those with more than $100,000 per year in income) expressed the most interest in automated advice, Accenture reported.

The survey also found that Canadian consumers were warming toward non-traditional banks like online banks, payments provders, retailers or insurers.

“Consumers no longer view using multiple financial service providers as a hassle, which now puts pressure on these firms to not only attract new customers, but also to find ways to retain existing customers,” Vokes said. “According to our research, 77 percent of Canadian consumers consider their relationship with their bank to be purely transactional – this is a missed opportunity for banks which now have access to technology that can help them provide more tailored offerings, particularly as more consumers are open to receiving value-added services from their bank. In fact, 41 percent of Canadian consumers said the top reason they would stay loyal to their bank is if it offered discounts on purchases.”

The survey found that 23% of Canadians would consider switching to a “branchless” institution lime an online-only bank. That’s up eight percentage points from last year.

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