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Here’s what robo-advice can’t deliver

by Matthew Smith | 22 Jun 2016

Technology will ultimately enhance the explanation component of a financial adviser’s investment strategy, says Andrew Connors, the founder of Fincast, a wealth management-focused fintech start-up.

While Connors says the first wave of so called “robo-advice” offerings has been focused mostly on solving the on-boarding and risk-profiling aspects of advice delivery, he believes the next iteration of the technology will look to “unpack” the strategy component of the service.

“What’s missing in what’s being rolled out in Australia at the moment is the strategy part; the analysis on why this investment or approach is suitable using various methods including back testing and stress testing,” he says.

“There’s a strong focus on fact finding and risk analysis, then it jumps straight into product placement. There’s not much explanation about why the product has been recommended. None of the current robo-advice strategies really allow you to adjust, tweak and engage with clients in this way,” he says, in conversation with FINSIA’s InFinance from a Singapore fintech hub where he is based in partnership with Stone & Chalk.

InFinance recently gave a snapshot of Australia’s robe-advice landscape.


Some of the better advisors already verbally articulate how they’ve arrived at their recommendations, but there’s a real lack of tools with the ability to adjust their ideas in real time with the client.


Connors, a former financial advisor cum-fintech entrepreneur says he and his business partner co-founder, Chelsea Dunne, have developed an online tool to enable advisors to sit across from their client and graphically explain their investment strategy and product selection.

He says Fincast is currently in testing phase with a group of advisors in Australia and he’s in the “proof of concept” testing phase with an institution in Singapore which employs up to 3,000 relationship managers.

“Some of the better advisors already verbally articulate how they’ve arrived at their recommendations, but there’s a real lack of tools with the ability to adjust their ideas in real time with the client,” he says.

Fincast is backed by boutique funds manager, Quilla Funds Management.

Connors reckons being based in Singapore and the south east Asian region generally has enabled him to see the future in terms of how automated advice and technology generally in wealth management will evolve.

“In this part of Asia wealth management and advice is a high priority so it’s evolved quicker than in Australia where it’s more of a second cousin to banking,” he comments.

“The conversations we’re having now with institutions regarding technology in wealth management related to evolution rather than disruption. They’re looking for ways to enhance their advice offering, not replacing it,” he says.

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