“Everyone” will go robo within two years

Warning to wealth management firms – if you don’t embrace the robotic revolution you’ll be left behind

“Everyone” will go robo within two years
“Everyone will have a robo advice offering in the next 18-24 months.”

That’s the eye-catching statement of Kendra Thompson, a consultant for Accenture’s capital markets and wealth practice. Of course, when she says “everyone” she is referring to the larger advice and brokerage firms, but still, her words certainly speak volumes about the impending impact of robotic platforms.

There has been a general belief across the industry that these platforms would be highly successful because, unlike a simple technological machine, they have the potential to become much more ingrained within the wealth management sector.

Most analysts are suggesting that initial roll-outs of robo platforms will be investment focused and client oriented. They will follow similar models to those currently offered by the likes of Schwab and Betterment.

Then, the question will be as to how advice firms are able to leverage the format in order to offer their services in a more efficient manner to clients. This will go hand in hand with new clients emerging – and especially as the Millennials of today become the ones looking to invest.

Mallory Greene, marketing manager at WealthSimple, believes that advisors need to sit up and take notice of the technology because failing to do so may be a huge risk.

“I think it’s fair to say that a lot of people will have interactions with robo-advisors, especially when CRM2 regulations reveal how much people are paying their financial advisors,” she said.

“Millennials are currently the biggest generation in the Canadian workforce and they’re figuring out where to invest their hard earned money. We rely heavily on technology and we can basically control our entire life through a phone, including our investments. I think that firms who don’t adopt new technologies to simplify investing or offer reasonable pricing will definitely be left behind.”

Of course that doesn’t mean that financial advisors are about to be replaced. In a recent report by Allianz, members of both the generation X and baby boomer generations still prefer to have access to human advisors because they have the ability to deal with specific needs rather than just accumulation and allocation. They can also react to personal circumstances as they change.

Clearly the path to enriching robo advisors still has a way to go: but how big a role do you think that robos will play in the future of financial advice? Do you agree that soon every major firm will need them or risk being left behind? Leave a comment with your thoughts below.