March 30, 2017

Eight reasons for the rise of robo-advisers

Charles is a former PPA Business Journalist of the Year, specialising in AI and Fintech. He began his career as editor of Euro Business Magazine and now writes on the rise of AI and algorithms in business.

Smart Platform blog
The finance industry is being transformed by the popularity of automated online advice services – nicknamed robo-advisers. It’s possible to garner everything from wealth management and legal advice, to banking and pension consultancy services.

But why are robo-advisers in demand? Here are eight reasons we are turning to these automated helpers.

Elite expert advice for everyone



With face-to-face advice you could be talking to a veteran or a novice – it’s hard to know. By contrast robo-advice is always scripted by top-level experts so everyone gets the best possible advice. More than that, robo-advice is the combined wisdom of multiple experts, each operating in their own specialist field. The contributions are unified, then inspected by peers, and refined. The online interface delivers the resulting expertise to a mass audience.

Guaranteed compliance

All advice given by a robo-adviser can be vetted, so only orthodox, compliant advice is given. Regulated industries such as financial services impose onerous rules, which can test the knowledge of even experienced professionals. An online format ensures all aspects of the service are run through a dedicated compliance team, so all information is up to date. 

Scale and cost 

Robo-advisers can handle limitless enquiries. For large organisations this may be the only way to provide tailored advice to sizeable number of people. Cost is a huge factor here. Offering specialist advice to a workforce can be challenging. Robo-advisers offer a route to deliver premium consultancy services to the widest possible audience, with no diminution in quality. 

Easy to modify 

When new rules or options are introduced a robo-adviser can be updated. Human experts must be sent on new courses, or given briefings. This speed of change is a key asset of automated consultancy services. Fresh demands can also come from the client side: requests can be incorporated swiftly into the robo-adviser, offering new functionality to all users. 

Breadth of knowledge 

A robo-adviser can incorporate vast knowledge of technically detailed fields. Obscure options can be given the same attention as mainstream ideas. There is no limit to the knowledge base of a robo-adviser. This faculty is particularly relevant in data-rich fields. Robo-advisers with data-analytic functions can react in real-time to market conditions. 

UX is constantly upgraded 

Robo-advisers are improved by multiple iterations. Thus the user experience - and the results – get better all the time. Multivariate testing is common. This involves running at least two versions side by side to track user preferences (sometimes known as A/B testing). Over time the experience becomes ever more intuitive and helpful. 

Time slots 

Many workers struggle to co-ordinate calendars with human advisers. A robo-adviser is accessible 24 hours a day. Furthermore, it can be used again and again as the user’s situation changes. 

Work in harmony with humans 

The launch of robo-advisers triggered some pretty dramatic headlines. Ordinary workers would be displaced, experts made redundant. That hasn’t happened on the whole. Instead financial service providers have allocated duties. Human experts are freed to focus on face-to-face consultations, dealing with unique situations and offering personal insights. They work in partnership with robo-advisers. This approach has elevated the status robo-advisers, now seen as essential components in delivering complex financial advice to a wide audience.                              

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