No doubt, while transforming the world, technology has changed the scope of the financial investment industry, too, making it more complex than it was a few years ago. And, as players position themselves according to their own ideas of success, many have looked to artificial intelligence to up their game.
In 2008, New York-based online investment platform Betterment launched, working the idea of robo-advisers into society. Fast-forward to today, and Betterment has over $6 billion assets under management (AUM).
Betterment is just one of many companies around the world that have contributed to changing the ways investors access investment products and receive financial advice.
So what are robo-advisers? As the name suggests, robo-advisers are online platforms that provide automated investment advice with little to no human supervision, but using mathematical rules or algorithms. These online platforms have an online questionnaire to gather data about the investor’s financial situation so as to analyse the investor’s risk profile, needs and expectations in order to match these with appropriate investment solutions.
This drive to constantly change and improve services has led to online platforms to fine-tune their offers over time. While they might have started off offering a mere automated investing service, they soon found themselves having to offer holistic financial planning, taking into account investor’s income, their spouse’s income, all their assets and liabilities and then looking at how much an investor should invest, where it should be invested, how much should be put into the tax account, etc.
Financial advisers need to focus on value propositions that go beyond asset allocation, because asset allocation is getting commoditized. Some platforms are equipping financial advisers with new service models with a “robo-like” capability, creating self-guided digital experience for investors.
Maybe it is not so much about choosing between a machine and a man, but equipping a man with a machine that allows him/her to perform optimally. Hence, we are seeing the emergence of hybrid models, a combination of traditional advising and automated advising.