InFocus: Advisor Technology

Responding to the rise of robo-advisors

Responding to the rise of robo-advisors

As a provider of digital solutions for the financial services sector, the emergence of robo-advisors in recent times has obviously had a big impact on EquiSoft. The growing popularity of robos is again tied to the area of fees – going digital is much less costly for an investor than going to an actual advisor. Younger investors in particular have proven keen to use this service, and more and more providers, including the big banks, have responded in kind. That said, there are limitations to entrusting your finances to an algorithm, and for many, using a robo-advisor is merely the first step before seeking counsel in human form when the major decisions are to be made.

The fact that many investors often seek a combination of the digital and personal touch was not lost on Jonathan Georges and the WealthElements team at EquiSoft.

 “A new feature of WealthElements is called Client Portal,” he says. “It is designed to allow financial advisors the chance to offer their clients the digital experience. The benefit of EquiSoft offering a digital client platform solution is that it is tightly integrated with our advisor platform, which allows a seamless transition between a digital solution and full advisor service whenever it is warranted.”

With the digital realm central to the success of so many businesses nowadays – from how we travel to how we eat – it’s not too surprising that something as intricate as wealth management has moved in that direction also. Advisors therefore need to be able to show clients, especially younger clients, they are moving with the times in this respect. This is advantageous for money managers, however, as programs like WealthElements can significantly decrease the workload when it comes to data entry.

“If an advisor were to meet a prospective client and peg them as technology savvy, they can direct that client to the digital solution,” says Georges. “In the digital platform workflow, the client can enter information related to their assets, liabilities, income and expenses into the platform. Just say , for example, that during that process that prospective client indicates that they have $1 million in investible assets – what is great about our platform is that it alerts the advisor that this prospect may qualify for a more thorough offering or a more personalized touch.”

While many in the industry have concerns about just what the growth of robo-advisors will mean for them, Georges is confident the two can co-exist just fine in the same environment.

“We have put a lot of thought into this phenomenon of robo-advisors,” he says.  “It’s not black and white – robos aren’t going to take over the world and they are not going to disappear either. I think the future really lies in established distribution networks that leverage this technology to become more efficient and to access new markets.”

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EquiSoft specializes in the design and development of digital solutions for the wealth management and insurance industries. The firm’s innovative product lineup features solutions addressing the ever-changing needs of investors, financial advisors and fund providers. EquiSoft’s flagship products include WealthElements, a web-based platform designed to help investors and financial advisors collaborate in the creation of personalized wealth plans, and PortfolioElements, a web-based solution designed to help fund wholesalers effectively position investment solutions with financial advisors. Founded in 1994, EquiSoft is a Canadian-based company with a growing team of over 200 specialized resources based in Canada, the US, Latin America, South Africa and India.