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Robots will strike asset management firms first

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(Bloomberg) — According to a new survey (PDF) from the CFA Institute, Wall Street is getting a bit worried about fintech replacing its jobs.

The majority of respondents, which included more than 3,000 chartered financial analysts around the world, view asset management as the industry most at risk from disruption by financial technology. Fifty-four percent of respondents said the sector would feel the biggest changes, followed by banking, securities and insurance. 

Robo-advisers, a low cost alternative to traditional financial advice, has garnered headlines recently as fees have come under increased scrutiny. According to remarks this week by Wall Street executives attending the Milken Institute Global Conference, the entire world of finance should fear job replacement. 

However, not all consumer wealth brackets will be equally susceptible to change. The survey showed a wide range as to which groups will see the biggest benefits from automated advice. The mass affluent market overwhelmingly sees the most positive impact, derived from lower cost and increased access to investing guidance. However, survey respondents foresaw little in the way of benefits flowing to ultra-high earners. 

This led the respondents to believe that automated financial tools are extremely unlikely to replace humans when it comes to the ultra-high net worth category, but the mass affluent is another story. The survey showed that 34 percent believe automated advice could entirely replace human advisers for that segment.

Still, a number of risks associated with robo-advisers had respondents issuing words of caution: Forty-six percent said flaws in the algorithms for which robos are known could prove to be an issue; 30 percent worried about getting bad financial advice; and 12 percent cited privacy as the biggest issue. 

The respondents didn’t view the fintech threat as a flash in the pan. They viewed robos as having a continued, large impact on the industry in five years, while they were more skeptical about the ability of crowdfunding and marketplace lending to last over the long run. 

See also…

Know your client: Asset managers boost digital investments

Is the future of financial advice as dim as millennials’ finances?



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