Roboadvisors or roboadvisers, with an O or with an E: the name began as derogatory, but it has been finally adopted by the different providers that operate in this field. This is the trendy word in financial technologies (or fintech, as it is also known).
The concept is simple: with the technological evolution, algorithms have been developed to create portfolios and manage them automatically or with a very low human intervention. Traditionally, a financial adviser has met the customer, listened their needs and creates a personal portfolio linked to a financial plan. In the case of roboadvisors, the customer register, fill in a investment risk profile questionnaire and the system proposes a model portfolio. This portfolio changes (what is known as rebalances), through algorithms, in order to improve the results when markets are negative. Easy: you invest and the machine works.
The immediate and clearer effect is about the price: fees are very low. Technology has opened a wide door for low-cost services with a very high quality and finances are not absent of this trend. Roboadvisors are the solution for little investors that have not enough funds to be worthwhile for advisers but look for better returns that traditional banking products, as deposits. In addition, investors feel the control of their investments, as they have a 24/7 platform with attractive web interfaces or mobile apps. The have also more advantages, as we have already explained.
Why are the fees so cheap?
- The staff is very short.
- The portfolios are composed by ETF, which are a kind of funds simple, transparent and with low fees.
- The products are massive portfolios. There is no personal portfolio, as traditional advisers make, but one for different risk profiles.
The list of players is long and the assets under management (AuM) are growing quickly: an AT Kearney report mentioned that AuM managed by roboadvisors would reach $2.2 trillion in 2020. Currently, the largest roboadvisors manage $3 billion. That´s why the biggest players in the financial branch, that initially rejected them, are developing or event buying roboadvisors: Schwab and Vanguard have developed its own solutions, BlackRock and Invesco bought roboadvisor companies.
In the case of T-Advisor, there is a mixture of self-directed tools for investors that prefer to manage their full investments on their own and a model portfolio module as the existing portfolios in the roboadvisors. And all for free.
The map is changing: investors look for more technological, autonomous and cheaper solutions for them. Roboadvisors were criticised, because customer wouldn´t have anybody on the other side of the phone in the case of a crisis. We are living currently hard times in the markets. Let’s see what the financial landscape brings just at the end of the year: more or less roboadvisors? More or less AuM managed by them? Positive or negative returns for the customers?