ROBO ADVISORS – WIN, PLACE, OR SHOW?

Robo advisor services are out of the starting gate but still have a long way to go to live up to being the market disruptors many believe them to be, according to a recent survey by SYNERGISTICS Research entitled, Online Financial Management and Advisory Tools.  Survey findings reveal that somewhat more than one-third overall are aware of robo advisor services, and this widens with both household income and liquid assets.  Usage of robo advisors is found to be narrow currently, indicated by one in six of those aware of these services and representing about one in twenty internet households overall.  Usage is wider among 18- to 49-year-olds.

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William H. McCracken, CEO of SYNERGISTICS, stated, “Robo advisors are certainly a timely topic in terms of discussions in investment circles and the financial press – an impression is being created that they are causing widespread disruption in the investment advisory industry.  From the perspective of consumer households, robo advisors are still largely an unknown product.  Awareness is always an issue when a new product or service is first introduced.  Simply broadening awareness is a top priority for expanding the market.  In addition, current usage is in the ‘early adopter’ stage, but users are positive indicating the potential for wide expansion in the near future.  Younger households in the early asset accumulation stage may be key to the success of this service.”

These are among the findings from SYNERGISTICS study, Online Financial Management and Advisory Tools, featuring online interviews with 992 consumers age 18 or older.  This report examines consumer reaction to a variety of online financial management services including PFM, online tools, account aggregation, and robo advisors.  The threat of new competitors in the market is also assessed.