Financial advisers across Wall
Street's biggest brokerages have fretted over their professional futures in
recent years as their firms worked to develop "robo" services for
millennial and tech-savvy clients.
But a new study by consulting
firm Accenture finds that clients across all ages and economic brackets want
robots and humans together, not one instead of the other.
The findings follow news on
Tuesday that BlackRock Inc, the world's biggest money manager, was laying off
some portfolio managers in favor of spending more on data-mining techniques
that could improve investment performance.
Conversely, the popular direct-to-consumer
robo adviser Betterment said in January that it was adding a service where
clients can get advice from a person.
"The market is not mature
yet in terms of the robo experience," said Kendra Thompson, global head of
Accenture's wealth management division and the author of the study.
However, the market is changing
so rapidly that study respondents said online tools they considered to be
"bells and whistles two years ago" are now expected, Thompson said.
"If you're an exec you need
to be ... ensuring that you're keeping pace with what investors want,"
The study surveyed 1,300
investors, most of whom are considered high net worth, emerging wealthy and
mass affluent. Five percent of respondents were ultra-wealthy.
Overall, respondents ranked
hybrid wealth management firms higher than other options because they offered
low-cost access to robo advisers along with a human's expertise for more