One of South Africa's largest banks, Absa, has announced the launch of its investment robo-advisor, Virtual Investor. According to the bank the robo-advisor will lower fees for investors.
Absa's Virtual Investor uses artificial intelligence and algorithms to recommend investment products for customers based on their financial risk profiles.
“The Virtual Investor’s low minimum deposit requirements mean that more people are able to invest and grow their wealth. Individuals can either invest a once-off lump sum amount or through a debit order from as little as R200 a month. Everything, including the whole application process, is done online," said Armien Tyer, Head at Absa Investments.
The first phase of the Virtual Investor will offer customers access to a pre-selected range of Absa’s unit trusts, with more investment products, like retirement annuities, expected to follow soon.
“The easy-to-use interface (accessible from any device) and low investment fees further reduce the barriers to entry that often accompany investment services, and because selection is at the customer’s discretion and pace, they can make choices in line with their affordability,” added Tyer.
Absa is not the first financial institution to offer an investment robo-advisor in South Africa. Among several that are available is one by FinTech startup, Advicement. The main difference though between Absa's robo-advisor and Advicement's is that the startup offers independent investment products.
“Our significant focus and efforts towards becoming a more customer-led business that is driven by customer insights and digital enablement means that we are always working on new services, capabilities and enhancements that will be introduced to the existing Absa digital landscape in order to improve our customer experience in the investment space. We want to make it easy for customers to transact with us and to access the products and services from us that they have come to know and trust,” concluded Tyer.