From the perspective of financial advisors, the optimistic view of "robo-advisors" is that they are expanding the market for financial advice.
The planning tools and software algorithms robo-advisor firms use to customize financial services for people who otherwise would not have access to them are helping investors make better decisions with their money.
The question that keeps surfacing is whether these new robo-advisors will replace traditional financial advisors.
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While robo-advisors use sophisticated algorithms and model portfolios to allocate investments for clients, they are not equipped to provide more detailed and nuanced financial-planning services—which are the specialty of traditional advisory firms, said Elliot Weissbluth, CEO of HighTower Advisors, along with the firm's chairman, David Pottruck.
As new individual investors using robo-advisors begin to accumulate more assets, they will more likely seek out the assistance of the robust financial-planning services that traditional advisors can offer, according to Weissbluth and Pottruck.