The findings of the Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry could play into the hands of robo-advice, reckons Ted Richards, the former AFL great turned director at Australian robo-advice platform Six Park Asset Management.

“The royal commission has been sad for certain parts of Australia, but a fantastic opportunity as well,” the former Essendon Bombers and Sydney Swans player says. “We’ve been able to receive a lot of attention off the back of the (Hayne) inquiry.”

Richards expects Commissioner Kenneth Hayne’s report and its ramifications to upset the traditional advice delivery model.

“Robo-advice really grew in the US on the back of the financial crisis in 2008, where there were people overpaying for underperformance,” Richards says. “There wasn’t that real shake-up in Australia, with banks being quite resilient at the time, and we think this royal commission could be the shake-up in the industry that the US experienced a decade ago.

“We think it will create an awareness of what people are paying and what they’re getting in return.”

This doesn’t mean the adviser will disappear altogether, Richards says, and in some cases planners will be able to use robo-advice to attract more clients and upscale them.

“I don’t think robo-advice is going to be everything to everyone,” he explains.  “But I look to the US, where it’s very entrenched, and it certainly can complement what the adviser does. It has the ability to attract and engage potential clients at a lower price point than what a human adviser might consider a potential client.”

Six Park, for example, is looking to produce a business-to-business, white-label robo-advice product that advisers can use to attract clients in their own practice.

“This can increase the number of clients into their sales funnel and when those clients have an investable amount, they become a premium client, or that face-to-face client,” Richards says.

Many advisers report an interest in robo-advice from their clients’ children, he adds, who may not have as much money to invest.

A Six Park client needs a minimum of $10,000 to invest (the average is $80,000). After they fill out a risk-assessment form to create a risk profile, they are given recommendations across one of five portfolios covering seven asset classes – Australian equities, international equities, emerging markets, infrastructure, property, bonds and cash.

Richards says most returns have been stellar – over the last 12 months, for example, the growth portfolio has hit 14.5 per cent – but declined to reveal total funds under management.

In addition to automating tedious planning tasks, the big appeal of robo-advice is its ability to remove investment bias, Richards says.

“We had a lot of people wanting to talk to us about Bitcoin and we just had to remind clients that it’s outside our circle of confidence and to stick with a plan and with the process,” he says.