I certainly take your point. Excessive charges and less than stellar performances have both been big problems for years.
That said, isn’t some knowledge required in order to pick the right tracker? For example, ploughing everything into a FTSE100 tracker carries risks as it’s all shares. LifeStrategy funds are great but if you buy direct from Vanguard you don’t get any help matching the funds to your circumstances/goals/age (beyond a risk rating). Intimidating to novices who don’t get the concept of investing risk.
If you go Hargreaves to get more help (or another platform) then the total cost for a LifeStrategy fund is 0.67% vs Nutmeg’s 0.94%. So we are not talking a huge gulf.
I am no particular cheerleader for robo-advisers but novice investors are the ones most likely to get themselves in trouble.