ROBO  OR TRADITIONAL ADVISERS: WHICH IS RIGHT FOR YOU?

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 By Philippe Schneider

Effective stewardship of one’s assets can lead to long-term stability and growth. However, successful investing in the modern marketplace remains an impressive accomplishment. Not only is there a complex and global economic environment, but there are always storms to weather. Emerging from those storms to seize growth opportunities is critical, but you must be able to recognize those opportunities.

Traditionally, human financial advisers have played a pivotal  role in helping investors navigate the complexities of financial markets. With technological advancements, robo-advisers have rapidly emerged as an alternative, using algorithms to manage investments. This article will explore and compare the fundamental characteristics of human financial advisers and robo-advisers, providing an overview of their respective features and how they fit into the modern investment landscape.

 What is a robo-adviser?

 A robo-adviser is a digital, automated replacement for the human financial adviser. Advanced algorithms designed with market forces and different investment dynamics in mind provide a platform for a more hands-off approach to investing. Robo-advisers typically build investment profiles for individuals based on initial or periodic questionnaires. These questionnaires explore the investors’ goals, their appetite for risk, and other factors. Using  that information, the robo-adviser algorithm engages in automated portfolio management. This process may include selecting investments, rebalancing the portfolio, and many other actions a financial adviser might take on your behalf.

Today, robo-advisers comprise a significant market segment. By 2023, their market was estimated to be worth more than $7 billion. Today’s largest robo-advisory firms manage hundreds of billions of dollars in assets. Their popularity makes them a significant force in the industry. Consider what  is   driving the widespread adoption of these tools among investors.

Why Would Someone Choose a Robo-Adviser?

Robo-advisers have a widespread reputation for offering investors a more flexible entry point. Most automated advisers don’t have high minimum asset requirements to start investing. Likewise, the costs and fees associated with robo-advisers are often much lower than those associated with working with a professional. Getting started is simple; even novice investors can build a portfolio with a robo-adviser. For those who don’t have the time to monitor the market or keep up on their investments frequently, robo-advisers offer a reasonable hands-off solution.

With robo-advisers, investors can turn most of the management of their portfolio assets over to the computer. As algorithms continue to improve and systems become more capable of ingesting and analyzing vast volumes of data, robo-advisers may also advance and respond to market conditions. Still, robo-advisers have inherent drawbacks that may make them less suitable for experienced investors or high-net-worth individuals.

Where robots might fall short

While robo-advisers offer an excellent entry path for beginning and intermediate investors, they may not be the most suitable choice for all investors. Individuals with complex investing requirements or an extensive portfolio of assets to manage may find that robo-advisers aren’t as flexible as they require. Investors with a high net worth or a substantial amount to invest often have more personal needs and goals. Current robo-advisers can’t consider these goals at the same level as a human adviser. They can’t offer tailored advice for your goals and personal financial situation. Likewise, they aren’t adept at structuring very complicated portfolios.

Perhaps most concerning to more active investors is that robo-advisers may come up short when the market enters a period of high volatility. With so much more noise in the data, algorithms may not be able to respond accurately or quickly to rapidly shifting conditions.

Robots versus  human advisers: the place of traditional services

 Before the advent of modern robo-advisers, human professionals were the primary source of insight into investment strategies. Today, expert financial advisers continue to play a significant role, particularly for those with specific goals or higher net worths. Human advisers offer personalized insight and guidance, allowing for a more tailored approach to portfolio management.

While robo-advisers provide a level of automation and efficiency, they may not quickly adapt strategies or respond to specific immediate requirements. In contrast, personal financial advisers can work closely with clients to set clear guidelines for investment management and can make rapid adjustments during volatile periods. The human touch in investing offers a more personalized approach that may be particularly valuable in times of uncertainty.

Some individuals are drawn to robo-advisers due to certain limitations associated with traditional financial advisers. Human advisers often charge higher fees compared to their automated counterparts. Additionally, many advisory firms require a minimum asset threshold, which could be tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars. For high-net-worth individuals , these firms provide experience and guidance tailored to navigating the complexities of current and future markets.

Is there a best of both worlds?

 There are advantages and disadvantages to relying solely on either robo-advisers or human financial advisers. Increasingly, many firms are offering hybrid robo-advisers, which combine automated portfolio management with access to human advisers. This combination may help in developing a diverse approach to investment management.

As technology continues to evolve, so do robo-advisers. The integration of AI and the ability to analyze large datasets could lead to advanced generations of robo-advisers. These future platforms might leverage extensive historical market data to enhance their functionality. Despite these technological advancements, human insight and creativity remain significant in the realm of investment management.

Forging the path that is   right for your portfolio

Effectively managing your assets and exploring different investment opportunities can be important steps for your future. Today, robo-advisers provide convenience and time-saving solutions, though they may not offer personalized advice or complex financial planning. For beginners and those with limited capital, robo-advisers can be a great starting point. Personalized financial advice remains highly valuable for individuals with higher net worth, bigger goals, or more specific needs. As technology continues to evolve, relying more on automation tools might become beneficial. However, it’s essential to consider your goals and carefully evaluate each strategy before making decisions.

The writer  is   DHF Capital’s global head of sales

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