3 Robo-advisors, £10,000: A Generation Z's perspective

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As a 17 year old that has limited knowledge of investments, I wouldn’t know what companies to buy stocks or shares with. Luckily, this is where robo-advisors come in. These companies take your money, and invest them in a variety of shares, commodities, bonds etc. based on what experts have predicted will make you money on a long-term basis. 
So, I was given a challenge: I am given a (sadly imaginary) £10,000, and I must give it to one of three robo-advisor companies – Wealthify, Moneyfarm or Nutmeg. I have to do my research, and decide who to give it to. 

How accessible is the website?  

The obvious starting point is to look at the main websites. Now, I have a slight problem – I often find it very hard to read websites that have small font sizes, large blocks of text with no gaps, or colour schemes that my eyes cannot focus on. 
Luckily, the readability wasn’t a problem at all for Wealthify. The variety of background and text colours made it easy to focus on. And it doesn’t give you too much information in one paragraph, separating points into easily understandable paragraphs. It was a very well designed website. 
Moneyfarm… not so much. I’m sure for some, a plain white background with black text and the occasional hint of blue would be a perfectly simple and sophisticated design, but I found it very hard to read, especially given the fact they would often put too much information on the screen, with a rather small font size. 
Nutmeg’s design was in the middle. It was readable most of the time, but there were occasions where there was a lot of information on the screen at once, causing a few problems for me. And they used a lot more complicated language than either of the other two websites, and if I hadn’t already looked at the other two I’m not sure if I would have fully understood what was going on. 

How much could I make, and what do other people think?

But website design is not necessarily a huge problem, the goal here is to make money. I used the projection models of Wealthify and Nutmeg (Moneyfarm would not give a prediction without inserting a lot of personal data) – 5 years, £10,000 upfront, highest risk (and may I add that the Wealthify interface was much nicer to use than Nutmeg’s). Nutmeg’s system predicted higher gains – a 30% increase as opposed to a 22% increase. 
But why should I just listen to the websites? I decided to look at some reviews. Moneyfarm’s website had some reviews on its front page, taken from Trustpilot. On this website, Moneyfarm is rated a 7.4 from 221 reviews. On this same website, Nutmeg is rated a 7.8 from 589 reviews. Wealthify is rated the lowest out of these three, at 6.5. However, it only has 13 reviews. 
The site that Wealthify’s website took its reviews from was Reviews.io, where it has a rating of 4.34 (out of 5) from 339 reviews. However, Nutmeg and Moneyfarm do not have enough reviews to be credible on this site – 0 and 2 respectively. So I am unable to sensibly compare raw scores on any given review website. But I can read the reviews instead, to see what they say. 
Now, each company had a series of reviews that said ‘I’m losing money, 1 star’. Now, besides the fact that every website had warnings that, yes, your money can go down as well as up, these reviews weren’t particularly helpful to figure out which was the best. 
Except for the reviews that compared two of the companies. From the 1-3 star ratings over both review websites, 1 review claimed Moneyfarm was better at making a profit than Nutmeg, and another claimed it was better than Wealthify. Nutmeg had several praises from people who used multiple companies – 2 said it was better than Moneyfarm, and 3 said it was better than Wealthify. 
In addition, 1 person said the user interface was better with Nutmeg than Moneyfarm, and another person said Wealthify’s customer service was better than Nutmeg’s.
And in general, Wealthify was praised the most for its easy to use app and good customer service – praises that even people who rated as low as 2 stars gave. 

How do these companies use social media? 

For the second part of my task, I was asked to delve into something I know slightly better than the stock market – social media. Now I will admit, I do use Instagram quite a bit, so I am able to get a rough idea of what people my age respond to, as well as me personally.
Wealthify’s Instagram was full of pretty pictures, with captions linking the pictures to the company. Whilst this was very nice, it wasn’t the sort of thing that would particularly get noticed on Instagram, and not by me either. 

However, their Twitter had a much more engaging style. It used cartoons and infographics to get some facts, statistics or tips across, often asking a question in the caption. This is a much better way of getting people engaged with your post, and therefore the company.

Moneyfarm hasn’t updated its Instagram since November, but it took a similar approach to Wealthify’s Twitter, with eye catching visuals. I will admit, I’m a sucker for clickbait sometimes, and I did indeed click on this link to take the test:

That means it’s doing a good job. The Instagram account also has some posts about company news. But the Twitter is more active on this front, posting company news, and links to articles on the main website. Now this can be a great way to get views, given that the headlines are intriguing enough. 
The Nutmeg Twitter is similar, as it links to many articles on the main site. But Nutmeg has more of a focus on the people behind the company, both on social media and the main site. The Instagram and Twitter have a lot about how they celebrate diversity – which for many people is an instant like. 

There are also many videos of people talking, as opposed to text on a background. This is a very good way of humanising a company, and drawing people in. 
In my opinion, Nutmeg currently has the most effective strategy of drawing attention from people my age, but given the current online trends, the effects of humanisation and advertising diversity are having less effect, so I am unsure whether they’d continue to attract as much attention from people my age in the future. 

Now to answer the question: Who would I give my money? 

It’s a hard question. So I’m going to go through the companies from the least to most likely I’d choose them.
Moneyfarm comes in last. From the very beginning, I thought it’d be my last choice, and I was right. The website design doesn’t do it any favours, because if I can’t read it, I won’t give my money to it. And the social media pages, whilst I might be interested in some of the information, doesn’t make me want to use the company.
Wealthify is second. I give it top marks for website design, and from what I’ve heard the app is very user-friendly. But on the whole, reviews compare it negatively to Nutmeg. And the Instagram page – which is what I would see of it – is nothing special. So I probably wouldn’t know it existed in the first place. 
So that means I’m giving my £10,000 to Nutmeg. For starters, the social media pages are interesting enough that they would interest me in the company to begin with. And whilst the website design isn’t spectacular, it’s good enough. And in reviews, there have been multiple claims that it’s better than either of the others. So it seems to me to be the best choice. 

pippy harrison

pippy harrison