SoFi Robo-Advisor Latest to Add Humans Back in the Mix

SoFi Robo-Advisor

Oh GREAT, now they’re dating? Yeah, over at SoFi (Social Finance) they have paired up human advisors and robots (“software-based financial advice”) on SoFi’s wealth management platform to be able to offer a different hybrid form of advice. Kind of a blend to make investors feel more secure (hand held) with the new technology. So, if a robot makes a pass at its human “friend” will there be harassment suits? Watch out SoFi, its a slippery slope.  But seriously, this is a trend that we have seen for a while and it appears that many people don’t like dealing with robots exclusively when it comes to managing their money.  Smart move on SoFi’s part.
(Bill Taylor/CEO)

The line between robo-advisers and traditional wealth-management services used to be black and white. Now it’s increasingly gray.

Social Finance Inc., the online lender known as SoFi, is ramping up its wealth-management platform by adding human advisers to its software-based financial advice offering that’s been in beta over the past year, the firm said Tuesday in a statement.

“We’re really focused on adding the human component,” John Gardner, general manager of SoFi wealth, said in an interview. “We have an operational infrastructure set up to support advice because we have the lending platforms.”

U.S. robo-advisers — which use computers to build investment portfolios for a fraction of the price traditional brokers charge — managed $83 billion in assets at the end of 2016, according to an estimate from consulting firm Cerulli Associates. The opportunity for expansion is still large, as Cerulli forecasts the robo-industry will reach $385 billion in assets by 2021.

Among competitors, Vanguard Group started its hybrid service two years ago with mix of technology and access to human advisers by phone or video chat. Betterment said in January that it was hiring more human advisers because customers were increasingly asking for them to back up not only the portfolio recommendations generated by computerized algorithms, but also to help out with big financial decisions.

“The combination of the digital side complemented by the relationship with the human adviser can be really powerful,” said Frank Kolimago, Vanguard’s head of personal adviser services….”

Source: Bloomberg