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Robo-advice good move for accounting clients

Industry analysis has shown automated or robo-advice can add the element of service accountants require to fulfil their existing SMSF clients’ unfulfilled needs, according to a senior research house executive.

Investment Trends research director Recep Peker told Accounting Business Expo delegates recently in Sydney at a session hosted by Class that studies into the SMSF sector indicated trustees not using an accountant had increased over the past decade from 90,000 to 270,000.

“If you ask them why don’t you go to an accountant, it’s because they believe that the accountants lack the expertise in giving them the advice they need around investments,” Peker said.

“So such a tool as robo-advice can help accountants facilitate the investment advice that trustees need from a source they really trust.”

He added Investment Trends’ broader research into robo-advice revealed to properly implement automated advice to achieve the desired outcomes required some human input – a finding that is advantageous for accountants, being the most trusted group of advisers.

“If that’s coming through your accountancy, you’re much more likely to implement a robo-advice recommendation,” he said.

Further, he pointed out the research showed accountants did not have to worry about the potential for robo-advice to appeal to a non-preferred type of client.

“From the investor perspective, in the US where there are about a million robo-investors as at July last year, what we’re seeing is that robo adoption is not only among young people,” he said.

“If you look at where the dollars are concentrated that’s in robo-advice, more than half of it is with wealthy people who are aged 55-plus with $500,000 or more.

“These are the people who look like your SMSF clients, so if you really want to be able to more holistically meet the needs of SMSF investors, robo-advice can be a solution at least around the investment side as well as the other efficiency benefits automation can provide,” he noted.

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