Majority of investors value working with human advisors: survey

Millennials place greater trust in robo-advisors, compared with older investors

Investors want technology to complement, not replace human advisors, according to a study commissioned by the Park Ridge, Ill.-based Million Dollar Round Table (MDRT).

The online survey by The Harris Poll of more than 2,000 U.S. adults, among whom 771 currently work with a human financial advisor, examines what consumers think of technology in financial services, clients’ perspectives on robo-advisors and the technology they expect their advisor to incorporate.

According to a study, the majority of U.S. investors surveyed (88%) say they want to see technology that complements human advisors, instead of replacing them. Only 5% say financial planning should be solely managed by technology-based tools.

The survey finds that millennials are much more likely to trust a robo-advisor, compared with older generations. For instance, more than half of millennials (52%) say they would trust a robo-advisor to manage their finances, compared with just 24% of those aged 45 and older.

Similarly, millennials are about twice as likely to believe that robos could completely replace human advisors, with 38% of millennials trusting in robos, versus just 17% of older respondents.

Survey respondents say the chief benefit of working with a human advisor is building a relationship (65%), followed by personal interaction (58%) and ease of communication (52%). The primary concerns cited are cost (47%), response time (32%) and accuracy (31%).

The primary benefit of using a robo-advisor is the reduced risk of human error (49%). The main concerns of using robos revolve around communication (58%), the lack of human interaction (48%) and cybersecurity.

“This study suggests Americans have not outgrown human advisors; instead their preference lies in combining the personal and trustworthy touch of an advisor alongside cutting-edge technology,” says Regina Bedoya, first vice president, MDRT, in a statement.