Almost two years ago, Financial Planning ran a story on the newly emerging class of so-called robo advisors. A key issue to understand, we said at the time, was this: Would the new digital players be like Expedia, putting human rivals out of business, or TurboTax, serving the masses while leaving the high end of the market to elite services?

The final answer is still not clear. But the pressure these new rivals are putting on industry fee structures is starting to become apparent. After all, if a digital tool can handle asset allocation and rebalancing for 35 basis points or less, what are advisors doing to justify the industry standard of 1% of assets under management?

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