Technology makes case for self-directed investing

Forget robo-advisors, other new mobile and computer applications may be the real challengers to financial planners, struggling against self-directed investing

If you Google financial planning apps, a multitude emerge. They offer ways to budget, provide stocks advice, investment planning tips but wait…isn’t that what we do?
Aside from such apps there are also online platforms and websites providing information on money and investments. Regardless of whether there’s a nominal charge or not, it’s usually the case that these ways of accessing important financial information are a lot cheaper than an advisor’s services.
That all spells trouble ahead for advisors struggling to show their value-add.
“Twenty years ago we did not have the internet to any significant degree. Information was a competitive advantage and relationship building was key for business development and ultimate success,” says Reg Jackson, vice president at JMRD Wealth Management, National Bank Financial. “Today is so different, the internet is the centre of our business, compliance demands have increased significantly and information is a commodity.”
LikeFolio is an online company that provides stock information on brands you like to help you decide if you should invest. FutureAdvisor offers an extensive service that provides you with investment advice highlighting trades one should make and information on how to diversify your portfolio.
Accessible via computer or phone, such platforms bill themselves as easy to use, offering up-to-date information and a much cheaper way of keeping tabs on finances.
However, the saving grace may be that such apps are tapping into a market of people who don’t otherwise use an advisor, even a robo one.
Still, a growing number of advisors are incorporating digital tools into their service offerings as a way of growing their value-add for clients and maintaining their role as the financial gatekeeper for clients.