"If you had asked a group of those people a year ago, they would have said it's a non-issue. If that were truly the case would they all be talking about it today? I don't think so," said
It's not just a hot topic among management, according to
"We have conversations with clients everyday about what robo advisors mean to them and to the industry," she told conference attendees.
ROBO, FRIEND OR FOE?
The constant reassurances and ceaseless conversations about robo advisors and similar technology underline the point that firms are still working out how to address this threat – indeed whether it even represents a threat.
Industry insiders and observers note that robo advisors are not just relatively new; their quick evolution has caught some leaders of wealth management off guard.
"We've already started to see acquisitions in this space as well as major offers from firms like Schwab," said
EVOLUTION OR EXTINCTION?
The wealth management industry is still in the early stages of the robo evolution, just as brick-and-mortar stores were when online retailers like Amazon came to life in the 1990s.
While no leader prophesized the imminent death of wealth management as we know it, predictions varied about what, if any impact, robo advisor technology will have.
Brand Meyer, head of the independent brokerage group at
"We would hope that as that client creates additional wealth, we may build trust with that client and transition them into a different channel," he told his fellow panelists.
Several speakers and panelists reassured attendees that the technology would not displace human financial advisors or cannibalize their businesses.
"We recognize that relationships are critical to investment success," said
Advisors play a key role in their clients' lives, from the birth of a child to the death of a loved one, she said. "They give advice that is tailored and meaningful to the client. It is both personalized and of high uniform quality."
The issue going forward, she said, was to evaluate how that advice is delivered and "the kind of collaboration that we are engaged in with clients."
A NEW TOOL, NOT A REPLACEMENT
In his presentation at the conference,
If the industrial revolution was characterized by machines that enhanced muscle power (think of combustible engines replacing horses), then our current age is typified by inventions that augment our intellectual powers, he told attendees, pointing to the exponential growth in computing power.
In an interview with On
"Is tech going to replace you? No way!"
Financial advice is about emotional intelligence, he said. "Technology augments that."
But it is precisely that fast evolution of powerful technology that has many asking, will human advisors be replaced by computer programs?
Still, Kruszewski was not alone in that estimation. Other attendees and speakers said that robo advisor-type technology could very well end up being a tool in the hands of existing advisors, just as laptops and smart phones are.
"I think it's also a great way for advisors to become more efficient. It may help advisors follow up with clients after meetings or with planning,"
In a different exclusive interview with On
"There is no finish line," he said, adding that what matters is "the utilization of the technology by advisors."
And besides, Sarch said, there's also immutable facts of life.
"The 20 somethings want to do it themselves. I believe that," he said. "But eventually you reach a point where life is too busy and your problems are more sophisticated, so you will want advice. And I haven't seen anything to contradict that normal life pattern."
|Copyright:||(c) 2015 Financial Planning. All rights Reserved.|
|Source:||Source Media, Inc.|