What is it about robo-advice?
“You really can’t go anywhere and not hear someone talking about it,” Aaron Klein noted at the TechLeaders 2015 conference on Thursday before rhetorically asking: why, and specifically, why now?
Klein, CEO of Riskalyze, a technology firm that matches client risk tolerances with suitable investment strategies based on the precepts of Nobel Prize winner Daniel Kahneman’s work in behavioral economics, believes the answer involves something akin to the five stages of grief.
“We went from the denial stage where advisors refused to believe it would affect their business to the alarmist stage, which we’re in now, where suddenly they believe they have to become robo-advisors to survive,” he explained. “But we can’t out-robo the robo-advisors. In the race to depersonalize the investor experience, the venture capital-backed money will win.”
The solution is somewhere in between, which requires advisors to change the conversation to one about personalization, and to then be the face of it.
“We have to make it about scale,” Klein said. “We can’t have this business model be about 50 clients. We have to have it so 50 clients pay most of the bills, but scale it so advisors can also serve the mass affluent.”