Robo advisory firms aren't the only ones increasingly adopting a hybrid approach.
More than 40% of all investors now use some combination of human and digital advice, according to new research from the consulting firm Hearts & Wallets.
“The term is going to be decreasingly useful,” says Laura Varas, chief executive of Hearts & Wallets.
New industry entrants could tailor their strategy to the finest client minutia, she says, like marital statuses, levels of investing experience, confidence levels and whether or not clients like to think about saving or prefer to delegate it to a professional.
“We like to put investors into service models,” Varas says. “Rich people in the front of the plane, the poor people in the back. But investors are taking off the blindfold and seeing that the seats in coach look just fine.”
Future disruptive technologies might stem from deeper thinking about what motivates clients to invest.
Goal integration should play a larger role moving forward — backed by artificial intelligence that can help clients plan for more than one goal at a time, Varas says.
“A.I. will play a role,” she says, “but hopefully not to a Digi-God place, where individuals lose the ability to decide what’s right for them.”
Until recently, the average investor only needed two things: a reason to invest and a financial plan, Varas says. Now, clients also want a motivation to save and a way to aggregate their financial information into one place.
Hearts & Wallets recently launched a retail investment app, called Freedom Money, with the stated objective of helping investors acquire 10 times their annual salary in assets. The top improvement that users have requested: push-button notification, Varas says.
“Clients just want support and to be reminded to save every day,” Varas says.