Digital Wealth and Robo-advisors

Burnmark en Robo Investing

Digital transformation of the wealth management industry is happening primarily, but not always, due to the emergence of automated wealth management tools, robo-advisors. However, the incumbents have been quick to join the party by launching digital advisory services through in-house offerings, acquisitions and partnerships. This has led to the evolution of one of the most dynamic, partnershipfriendly, consumer-friendly segments within FinTech: digital wealth and robo-advisory. As one of the spaces within FinTech that are working extremely closely with incumbents, the dynamics of this space are very unique.

The democratization of investments
Digital wealth management firms propose that bestin- class ideas, managers and investments should be accessible to all investors and not just to the financially elite. Through automated algorithm-based advice these innovators undo trading obstacles for investors, while lowering the bar for entrance. The democratization of investment advice promises to embrace the underserved segment effectively.

The continued growth of ETFs
Many investors have realized that adopting a lower cost, passive approach to their personal investing through ETFs (Exchange Traded Funds) is a more prudent strategy than the active approach that has dominated the industry for decades. In the US, these factors have spurred continued expansive growth in the popularity of ETFs since their introduction in 1993. The European industry is a hybrid. Western European countries are as sophisticated as the US market, but retail adoption is lower. In comparison, ETFs in developing markets are in their infancy and the Asia Pacific market is expected to grow at 20-30% annually.

Transparency and control
Clients increasingly want to know how their money is being invested and the services for which they are paying fees. Clients’ preferences for investment decisions are also evolving. While European clients still prefer to delegate their wealth management needs to a traditional advisor, clients, especially the mass affluents in Asia and the US, are increasingly keen to make some investment decisions themselves based on digital advice.

On-demand accessibility
Clients are leveraging digital channels to unprecedented levels. Apart from millennials, Gen Xers and Boomers have also been quick to demand access to digital channels to reach out to their traditional advisors. Some clients in emerging markets are also experimenting by sharing investment ideas online through social media platforms.

Goal-based personalization
Clients want to receive advice and tailored portfolio recommendations that make sense to them, for their specific life goals. The interactions with advisors are usually around retirement, education, tax planning, wedding planning, etc. The wealth management process doesn’t stop with buying a certain product.

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