Technology

German Financial Conglomerate Gets Into the "Robo" Act

Tom Burroughes, Group Editor, London, 27 September 2016

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The robos continue to push ahead - with a large German financial group investing in an Italian business.

Germany-headquartered Allianz has succumbed to the march of the robots by taking an undisclosed minority stake in Italy-based digital wealth management firm MoneyFarm, the latter business has confirmed to this publication.

"Allianz Ventures have made a strategic investment in MoneyFarm. They will be taking a minority shareholding in the company. This investment acts as a proof point for the progress we have made in the fast growing digital wealth management sector after being one of the first to launch in the European market," MoneyFarm said on its website. "MoneyFarm launched in 2012 and arrived in the UK in February of this year, we were the first multi-country robo advisor. The investment will help accelerate our expansion in the UK and across Europe," it continued.

In recent years, a raft of firms, such as Wealthfront, Nutmeg, Swissquote, Money On Toast, and others, have launched internet-driven offerings where some, if not all, of the asset allocation and investment decisions are driven by mathematically-based formulas taking their cues from clients’ declared risk tolerances. The “robo-advisor” players, their proponents say, will dethrone some conventional wealth managers. Their growth was to some extent initially based on a need for low-cost options as existing firms began hiking their minimums in the face of surging regulatory costs in Europe, North America and elsewhere.

Allianz recently created an innovation “lab” in Asia, one of a number of financial firms taking this route to ensure they do not become blindsided by modern technology. MoneyFarm launched at the start of 2016, the report said. (This publication recent examined the trend of such "labs".)

 

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