Relief for savers as Atom offers 2.05pc
between a more expensive fully managed service, where investments are switched regularly, or a cheaper option under which portfolios are switched once a year. Regulated advice is provided but, as is common with robo advisers, only on investments. Mr Port said: “Customers don’t necessarily want everything in their lives to be reviewed.”
Anthony Morrow runs evestor, another robo adviser but one that provides advice across all aspects of personal finance. Mr Morrow said his firm turned away two thirds of people who tried to invest via its website. This could be because they would be better served by their existing company pension or should spend spare cash paying off a credit card, for example. “Obviously that’s a commercial challenge for us because we’re turning customers away, but those people shouldn’t be investing,” he said.
Dissatisfied customers can take complaints to the Financial Ombudsman Service, once they have been through a firm’s internal complaints procedure. The ombudsman is able to order regulated firms to pay compensation, including for distress caused. However, Mark Locke of the Lang Cat, an investment consultancy, warned that protection could be limited.
He said: “It’s important to remember that the protection an investor receives through these propositions is limited to the suitability of the investment only. They are not on the hook for the actual product recommendation.”
A spokesman for the ombudsman said: “As usual we’ll consider the circumstances of the individual case. The considerations will be different depending on whether a consumer received guidance or advice.” Hard-pressed savers will be hoping that the launch of a new marketleading account will spark a rate war between providers.
Atom Bank has leapt to the top of the savings best-buy tables with its one-year fixed-rate savings bond paying 2.05pc.
Industry analyst Savings Champion said this was the highest rate offered since February 2016.
However, the account will not be for everyone. Savers must open and manage the account online by downloading Atom Bank’s smartphone app, as the provider does not have any physical branches or a telephone service.
Anna Bowes of Savings Champion said: “Although this bond won’t be for everyone, given that Atom is app-only, it is really encouraging to see the bank pushing returns on oneyear fixed-rate bonds back above 2pc.
“We hope that other providers will respond to this challenge – pushing rates up further still.”