'Robo change tied to retirement of boomer advisors'

'Robo change tied to retirement of boomer advisors'

Like it or not, the robo revolution is under way; the only question appears to be how quickly advisors and businesses want to embrace change.

Kendra Thompson, Managing Director of Accenture’s Wealth Management, expressed surprise that this year did not result in the first “true, new hybrid” robo-human value proposition. However, she believes the full extent of  fintech will be phased in over the next few years as boomer advisors retire.

She said that everyone “intellectually knows it’s the right thing to do” but that adding a robo hybrid to your core service is a complex undertaking.

She said: “A lot of businesses are going to slow the pace to tie some of the most disruptive change to the retirement of boomer advisors.

“So what they will do is build out certain capabilities, but they’ll limit the application of those capabilities and then over the course of three to four years, as the first big wave of boomer advisors are already starting to retire, they will be able to monetise those guys out and replace them with new sales forces.”

Thompson said the onset of technology is a balancing act for a lot of investment companies.

“It’s already happening but, if you look at the demographic, over the next five years we expect to see a wave of retirements. Certainly, some of the things that relate to recruiting and payouts indicate that firms are trying to do their best to keep their current workforce happy as they prepare for the fuller buildout of hybrids.”

The wide adoption of the value proposition by all investor profiles – not just millennials - confirmed interest across all demographics, according to Thompson. And she believes some advisors have to start viewing robo as a vital tool for the future rather than a threat.

She said: “Robo itself is a bit of a misnomer if you just think about it as rich digital experiences and stop thinking about it as an alternative to a human. A sophisticated hybrid offering will bring the two together – it’s not a balance between them, it’s using the technology to scale humans and improve certainty of outcomes and their impact.

“I definitely think that this has more to do with revenue today than revenue tomorrow. I think everyone understands the role these capabilities will play in the future. The question is, am I willing to do anything to disrupt current business as I build this out?”

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