The rise of the robo advisor

In recent years algorithmic systems have moved into more areas of the financial industry. Robo-advisors have surged and it looks like they are here to stay. A robo-advisor is a piece of software that is offered online which provides portfolio management advice. An example are the services from Betterment and Wealthfront.

This trend has many advantages for suppliers and customers. It makes advice accessible to the smaller investor who otherwise would not be able to get much advice. And by doing this it opens up a new market for wealth management firms and brokers.

This trend is also a cause of concern. The advice given must be of a reasonably good quality and not end up as a website telling you that "Other people who just sold Altice liked ING Sprinters". The trend also introduces yet another class of automated systems that can have a big influence on the market. This has triggered European regulators to have a closer look.

Robo-advisors are the logical trend, work well, and are here to stay, this trend could be the new thing to attract new retail business. Logically they require some monitoring, I hope this will be mostly about the quality of the advice rather than fear of the machine.