Investors Still Prefer Live Advisers to Robo-Advisers

However, they expect their adviser to be technologically savvy.

A survey by MDRT conducted by Harris Poll found that 85% of Americans prefer working with a human financial adviser rather than a robo-adviser, and 88% said technology should complement, not replace, the services of a human financial adviser.

Only 5% of Americans believe financial planning should be managed entirely by technology-based tools, and 36% strongly disagree that robo-advisers could replace human financial advisers. Eighty-three percent of Americans said they would trust human financial advisers to effectively manage their financial plan, but only 36% would trust a robo-adviser.

That said, 95% of Americans who have not used an adviser, as well as 95% of Americans who have used an adviser, believe they should be technologically savvy. They also think advisers should be working with updated technology-based tools (95% and 96%, respectively).

Ninety-four percent of Americans who are currently working with an adviser believe it is important for them to use software to model financial outcomes. Eighty percent think advisers should be equipped with cloud storage, and 72% want an Internet platform for scheduling appointments.

In reality, however, only 48% of Americans say their adviser uses software to model financial outcomes, only 32% say their adviser uses an Internet platform to schedule appointments, and only 28% indicate their adviser uses cloud technology.

Millennials appear to be more receptive to working with a robo-adviser, with 52% saying they would trust a robo-adviser to effectively manage their financial plan.  They are also twice as likely as those above the age of 45 to agree that robo-advisers could completely replace human advisers for financial planning (38% versus 17%).

Asked what benefits there are to working with a human adviser, 65% said it is the opportunity to build a trusting relationship, 58% said it is a high level of human interaction, and 52% said it is the ease of communication. Asked about the downsides of working with an adviser, 47% of Americans said it is the cost, 32% said it is the response time, and 31% said it is the accuracy of assessments.

As for the benefits of working with a robo-adviser, 49% said it is minimized risk of human error. Asked about the drawbacks of working with a robo-adviser, Americans said it is the lack of a two-way conversational communication (58%), minimal human interaction (48%) and breach of data, including personal data (46%) and financial data (44%).

“Though robo-advisers have become more prevalent in the financial adviser community, it is vital to note that the majority of clients still desire human interaction and communication,” says Ross Vanderwolf, MDRT president. “This means that we, as financial professionals, should make every effort to cultivate client relationships in order to further promote the benefits of working with a human adviser.”

The Harris Poll conducted the online survey of 2,008 adults between November 1 and November 5, 2018.