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Most Firms See Robos In Their Future

Financial advisory firms plan to include robo advisors in their offerings, high net worth advisors need to embrace technology and investors care about how a company treats its employees.

The majority of financial advisory firms plan to use robo advisors, according to a survey of 133 participants in a technology webinar hosted by Vestmark. Two-thirds of firms — which consisted of advisors, broker/dealers, asset managers and bank trusts — said robos are part of their future, while 15 percent said they are already using one. Sixty-nine percent felt robo advice would work for low-balance accounts, while more than half said the technology could be used to automate manual practices and help capture new investors or market segments. The respondents still want to manage client portfolios, as only 14 percent said they would consider outsourcing this to robos.

HNW Advisors Can't Ignore Digitization

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High-net-worth advisors typically have a strong name and reputation that brings along with it prestige and elitism. However, that reputation will only go so far as Wall Street continues to digitize, fintech expert Gauthier Vincent told Business Insider. Vincent, a consultant at Deloitte, gave a presentation last week at Singularity University's Exponential Finance conference about the future of the wealth management industry. He said he sees a lot of complacency among old-guard high-net-worth money managers. "The majority of these firms think they can ignore digital, but they can't just survive on their name and wood paneling," Vincent said. "They're being complacent because their assets are going up with the markets." That won't last forever, and if they don't change with the times soon, they could lose a whole generation of clients to firms that are more digitally-savvy.

Investors Care About Corporate Practices

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As the Uber board mulls whether to send its CEO on a leave of absence, investors say this type of behavior influences their investment decisions. Eighty-five percent of investors said how a company treats its employees impacts whether or not they invest in that company, according to a new survey by Stash, a digital investment advisor. Seventy-nine percent of respondents believe people should invest with their conscience, and 84 percent of millennials believe it would be important to understand a company’s ethics or business practices before investing. “This survey shows that while investors are obviously interested in financially wise investments, they are equally alert to the behavior of the companies they put their money into,” said Brandon Krieg, CEO and co-founder of Stash.

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