UK-headquartered Richmond Wealth has proposed buying now-closed robo-advice company Moola, which was sold to Mercer’s parent company, JLT, in 2018.
The wealth manager has been looking to enter the digital advice space and wanted to apply to the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) sandbox initiative.
Chris Bryans, senior partner at Richmond Wealth, told International Adviser: “We have a lot of expat clients around the word, particularly in southeast Asia.
“We are hoping that delivering advice in this way allows clients in jurisdictions, where regulated advice is sparse, to be able to have access to high-quality advice, on demand, in their time zone.
“The Moola entity and assets would potentially enable us to progress the project much quicker than we might otherwise be able to do, however, this would very much depend on the goodwill of the JLT & Mercer team in allowing us to take forward their project.”
Obtaining Moola’s FCA licence, if the acquisition is greenlighted, would speed up the roll out of a digital offering by Richmond Wealth.
There has been a lot of criticism regarding the kind of service robo-advice firms can deliver.
But Bryans believes that is because firms have focused more on the automated investment processes rather than advice itself.
“We believe that the Moola infrastructure would potentially allow us to bring forward our work on an advice model that would provide real advice that would stand the suitability test that should be inherent in all of the propositions that have been brought to market so far,” he added.
“The delivery of advice will change [but] how that happens and when this happens on a broad basis is something we can’t be sure of.
“We can be sure that it will happen. And it can be difficult to see change which is right in front of us.”
IA reached out to Mercer, but the firm declined to comment on the matter.