Robot advice or financial planner – what’s best for the client?By Hans Egger | September 4, 2015
The Artificial Intelligence debate went into overdrive on 11th May 1997 when an IBM computer named Deep Blue beat the world champion chess player Garry Kasparov in a best of six game championship. Surely the robots were very close to taking over.
However in 2005 a chess tournament was held with a combination of computers, humans (many chess grandmasters entered) and teams made up of a combination of humans and computers. Surprisingly the winners were not the computers or the grandmasters but two amateur chess players with the help of computers.
This symbiosis of humans using their strength of lateral thinking and imagination to provide strategic guidance combined with the number crunching ability of computers to provide tactical information was the ultimate winner.
Financial planning is similar to chess in that there is an element of mathematics, tactical decisions and strategic thinking in a constantly changing environment, however in financial planning you then have to explain each move and the strategic benefits to the player (client) in a way that they understand so that they can make the final decision.
The modern adviser understands the advantages of partnering their knowledge of financial planning theory and human empathy with a computer program that does the number crunching and displays information graphically. This allows them to provide a rich and fulfilling client experience that simply can’t be re-created by humans or computers alone.
While a master financial adviser might be able to intuitively discern a great strategy, the modern adviser with their computer ally can compare several strategies and then see how they each react to changing market conditions. Importantly they can explain the strategies and comparisons to the client in real time using visuals that make it easy for them to understand.
Ultimately the quality of advice will always come down to the quality of the adviser but the entire industry is lifted when each adviser has access to real time modelling software and visuals that make complex strategies easy to explain and allows the client to understand the impact of changing market conditions to confidently make and “own” their financial decisions.
The argument about robot or human financial advice is moot, the best advice will always come from a human adviser that takes the time to truly understand their client and their needs but also makes the most of their available technology to provide clients with a clear comparison of various strategies and an understanding of how their long term goals can be met.