At a recent conference attended by some of the best and the brightest in the industry, I was amazed at the disparity in views and concerns regarding the rise of the Robo-Visor. Relax…. Although the technology exists, I can’t imagine getting on a pilotless transatlantic flight just as I can’t imagine the majority of consumers handling all of their investments online.
That said, Robo like the discount brokerage firms that “threatened” the financial advisors 20 years ago, is here to stay. More than anything, this is a clear barometer that investing has become more commoditized. For the Investment professionals who proclaim themselves as money managers you will certainly have the most exposure for losing clients. For the financial planning professional I see this as an opportunity as more and more clients desire what I call the 3 C’s. In today’s fast-paced environment we have learned clients seek far more than just investment advice. They desire a Collaborator, a Connector, and a Comforter.
The Collaborator –
Sure we live in the information age, just don’t confuse it with the knowledge age. With more and more data readily accessible to clients on the internet, they are seeking verification and validation in the decisions they are making. Not having someone make those decisions for them. They want someone who can sort through the vast array of opinions and make sense and what makes sense for them.
The Connector –
Beyond one stop shopping, Client’s are seeking a trusted advisor who acts as a connector for many facets of their lives; tax, legal, lifestyle. Whether these services exist in your own firm or are made through introductions, inside your personal and business network, making your clients lives easier and saving them time will continue to increase your value.
The Comforter –
There is a plethora of data detailing the average consumer underperforming market returns. The bond crisis of the mid 90’s, the Tech bubble, the Great Recession and whatever market correction occurs next will always be easier for the client if they have a trusted advisor to guide them through these emotional times. A computer or even a hotline will not be able to provide the wisdom and knowledge needed to traverse these difficult times.
So all of that said, don’t fret but rather embrace the coming of the Robo. It may force you to up your game, but in the long run I believe it will allow you to deepen the relationship with your clients.
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