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Investors want both robo and human advice, says survey

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Today's investors require both high-tech and high-touch forms of advice to satisfy their increasingly complex financial needs, according to a study conducted by the Financial Planning Association (FPA) and Investopedia.

The survey of Investopedia users in the US proved that while investors are happy with using robo-advisers, they are more satisfied when using both a human adviser and an automated investing platform.
 
"The debate about whether robos or human advisers will win is moot. The future of financial advice is bionic – a powerful combination of both," says David Siegel, CEO of Investopedia. "As investors get more comfortable with automated investing platforms, they're starting to demand both the low-cost benefits such platforms provide and the irreplaceably customised and high-touch approach of financial advisers."
 
The study, High-Tech and High-Touch: Investors Make the Case for Converging Automated Investing Platforms and Financial Planning, surveyed 2,002 residents of the US over the age of 21 who have input in their household's investment decisions.
 
The results reveal that investors are highly satisfied with using automated investing platforms – 73 per cent of respondents indicated they are satisfied or very satisfied with their primary automated investing platform. Similarly, 70 per cent of investors primarily working with a financial planner/adviser are also satisfied or very satisfied.
 
Of investors currently using an automated investing platform, eighty-one per cent are confident that the automated platform they use supports their financial planning goals, while 40 per cent are uncomfortable using an automated platform during times of volatility, and 75 per cent are satisfied with the current performance of their primary investing platform.
 
In particular, when it comes to particular areas of financial advice, respondents noted high degrees of satisfaction working with traditional financial planners/advisers due to the high-touch quality of the advice.
 
Seventy per cent are satisfied with service related to estate planning, 67 per cent are satisfied with tax planning advice, and 66 per cent are satisfied with advice related to retirement.
 
When it came to the myriad of financial issues investors need to address, the preference of those surveyed was clearly for advice to be given by a financial planner/adviser, although many feel that quality advice can be accessed through an automated investing platform as well. In fact, 32 per cent of respondents would use a financial planner/adviser for tax planning and 39 per cent would use either for investment planning.
 
"There is an opportunity for financial planners/advisers, especially those who are CFP professionals, and automated investing platforms to collaborate for the benefit of the client," says 2016 FPA president Pamela Sandy. "Technology is rapidly changing the way people invest and manage their finances, but clearly investors value the high-touch financial advice afforded by professionals. Those investors who utilise the benefits of technology and maintain a face-to- face relationship with a qualified financial planner, like a CFP professional, will be best positioned to meet their financial goals and achieve financial security."

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