For some time now technology has been reshaping and changing the role of the financial advisor, but could technology actually replace the financial advisor entirely? That’s what some observers would have you think.
Today’s advisor has a vast array of technology enabled tools and resources to help them provide planning solutions. These tools crunch numbers and illustrate various scenarios. They can match plans with the appropriate financially engineered products, and even provide up to the minute online goal tracking.
Could these tools actually threaten the viability of the financial advisor? It is true that technology can cheaply replace once highly valued quantitative analytic skills. “Robo-advisers” incorporate sophisticated planning software that can equip the novice user with the the ability to generate a plan that is comparable to a custom plan developed by a CFP or a CPA.
I have heard one observer predict that these “robo-advisors” will be the doom of the financial advisor and that advisors are destined to go the way of the travel agent. You remember travel agents? They were the people who used to sell airline tickets for a living.
I, on the other hand, do not agree with this assessment of the future. I happen to believe that there is one thing that advisors can do better than any technology. It is ability to put things in the right context so that people can make the right decisions. It is about creating a personal human connection with the client. Helping the client develop a vivid and achievable vision for their goals, their hopes, and their aspirations. This is something that no machine can do.
Being a financial advisor is really about being an “enabler”. The “value add” is not that you have the right answers, it is that you have the right questions.