From the April 2017 issue of Investment Advisor • Subscribe!

Envestnet's Jud Bergman on the Kasparov Principle

'Humans plus machines deliver better outcomes' than either alone, says the firm's CEO

Jud Bergman, CEO of Envestnet Jud Bergman, CEO of Envestnet

The voice of Jud Bergman, the CEO of Envestnet, is tinged with excitement when he talks about a speaker at the annual Envestnet Advisor Summit in Dallas in May, and about what that speaker can teach advisors and their partners about the best way to deliver advice to clients.

The speaker is Garry Kasparov, the Russian chess grandmaster who became world chess champion at age 22 (holding the top world ranking for almost 20 years) and a political and human-rights activist (meaning anti-Vladimir Putin activist). Kasparov, Bergman reported, pioneered a new type of chess after he was defeated by Deep Blue, the IBM supercomputer, in 1997. “I call it the Kasparov principle,” Bergman related, meaning, as in chess matches, that "humans plus machines deliver better outcomes" than either alone. "Supercomputers on their own don’t make mistakes,” Bergman said, but they also can’t make “brilliant moves; the [human] grandmasters make them.”

It is those “brilliant moves that separate the greats from the not-so-greats,” Bergman said. The message? “If an advisor can eliminate mistakes” by using expert intelligent systems in advising clients, “think of the value he’s adding.”

So rather than an either/or proposition, humans and technology can be a “symbiotic relationship” that allows advisors to “minimize mistakes on routine tasks" while also minimizing the time spent on those tasks, allowing the advisor to focus on "financial planning, coaching, tax management” and other high-end tasks. “The best technology,” argued Bergman, “allows the advisor to be more human."

--- Read All For One: Integration Driving Envestnet's New Focus on ThinkAdvisor. 

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