Technology has made everything better, faster and cheaper over the years, and investment is no exception. Indeed, many consulting firms in the past five years have launched the benefits of algorithmic investment rather than human selection. But in a world where comfort sometimes seems to be superior to sharing, can we really count on the marvel of our modern age to the fullest. Driverless cars may be ready soon for the first time, but are we ready for human-free bags?
Artificial intelligence based on the recognition of historical patterns is already widespread throughout our society. Take Waze or Google Maps; most of the time, we just need to type three or four letters and the system knows exactly where we want to go. Likewise, computers are great at manipulating rule-based algorithms. But there are still some things that require some kind of vision, sensitivity and insight that only a person can provide.
For example, during the Flash crash on May 6, 2010, at 2:32 pm, stock markets fell, without warning, by about 1,000 points, or 9%. The entire disaster lasted for 36 minutes as the stock market slumped and quickly recovered. Software traders with automatic stop orders lost millions because sales led to the emergence of computer software to start more sales. Computer programs were simply working to set the guidelines determined by their algorithms, which are: "In a large down market, losses are borne and sold whatever it is."
The programs were not wise enough to assess the various possibilities for a market drop, including the possibility of a system glitch. Like good soldiers, these programs have performed their duties exactly as described. There was no chance of 'programs' deviating from the path or stopping for meditation.
This is where human wisdom surpasses even the most sophisticated artificial intelligence. Humans are not only resilient in nature, but the intestinal instinct gives us an extraordinary ability to assess all forms of information including the lack of information.
Watch the magician at all 'disappear in the box' trick or 'catch a bullet in the mouth'. Although the trick has every aspect of realism, and although we cannot explain how to do the trick, we know we are a victim of an illusion. The magician plays with us. 'How' unknown but the magician did not fade and did not take a live bullet in the mouth.
Capture human insight and innovation as rule-based machine tools stop. We humans still do a better job of choosing friends, colleagues and professions that will give us a more satisfying future than the computer can. The GPS can help us walk our way through a maze of hiking paths, but it cannot necessarily plan the sights we want to enjoy along the way.
Each customer mode is unique and dynamic. An experienced counselor can benefit from individual contact in a personalized recommendation that goes beyond the simple algorithm that looks straight ahead, even while your life and career follow many winding turns.
In contrast, Robo's pure consultants generally rely on a 10-point questionnaire to summarize the position of their client. For millennials at the beginning of their accumulated wealth years, the absence of a human element in the investment decision-making process is acceptable. The accounts are small, usually tens of thousands. In a small portfolio, high fees from an active human advisor are likely to neutralize any benefit.
But as soon as this same millennium gathers a little more wealth, it will need to be directed towards diverse and specific goals – such as buying a home or business, putting children in college, retirement, estate planning, and many other wealth management issues that add value, security, and ease in their lives.
These things require wise and sophisticated asset allocations, tax efficiency planning, and some quick turns to keep up with life's surprises … such as children, new jobs, new occupations, and unexpected moves or expenses. Unless your Android robot algorithm follows you on Facebook, you are unlikely to be able to properly respond to the dynamism, uncertainty, and durability of your life.
Clients who are likely to benefit most from the human mixed approach are professionals, CEOs and startups. These investors are likely to embrace the technology side of a specialist advisor, while their professional status calls for an investment expert to guide asset allocation, tax planning, etc. More wealth, more opportunities for cracks to form and leakage to occur.
remember Robocop ? The 100% cop did not have any human sensation or instincts – only automated hardware and algorithms. But cyber robots – with a real human mind – had all the power and technology of a robot as well as a real human intelligence to guide it. I worked out much better. The electronic organism (or "cyborg") offers the best of both worlds.
Your short term losses now may help robo-firm modify an algorithm to make it better next time, but your friendly advisor already has experience to see some upcoming market and personal events. At other times, a good counselor will know the risk measures that should be taken to help deal with possible unexpected events or unknown results.
Britain's exit from the European Union is an excellent example of a result that was difficult to predict and proved that respondents were wrong. It was not wise a week before voting on some of the hedges by temporarily protecting the portfolio before polling, but rather making it a lot financially. Knowing the extent of the hedge, the execution price of the speculator, and ultimately when the hedges are withdrawn, is a much more complex decision than many 'if – then' line of code terms.
Likewise, it is helpful to have a counselor who knows the various members of your family who are affected by the wealth management decisions that are made. This knowledge is incredibly important, and it may make a critical difference in formulating a plan. Or the consultant may have direct experience helping other clients through similar life / investment events, and deduce their hard-earned knowledge of being happy or happy.
Life is complicated. Technology can help us get the best out of the decisions we make, but it won't be able to make those decisions for us. Can an automated consultant provide thoughtful advice on a well-planned transfer of wealth to the next generation? Or on the tax efficiency of selling a business? Can a smartphone with a fancy application provide the best human options for a businessman or an executive in the company about how expansion will affect its cash flow over the next year? Uh … No.
Winning coaches need Peyton Manning, and successful executives and businessmen want the player to turn into the financial industry with ingenuity, experience and instincts to deal with their investment affairs as well. When a robot coach is good enough to lead the Chicago Cubs team to the World Championships or the Toronto Maple Leafs to the Stanley Cup, we can start abolishing our reliance on human advisors. But until then, it helps to obtain a back-up financial star to fully integrate technology and deal with ever-changing situations.