A recent webinar hosted by Ipsos, entitled Impact of Artificial Intelligence (AI) on Canadians’ Investing Behaviour, was light on actual content regarding AI, but did yield some insights for user experience specialists, including that clients enjoy the learning process, and they desire greater control and independence.

Specifically, the webinar reviewed findings from surveys conducted among self-directed account and robo-advisor users.

“Over the next six years, the combined forces of Gen Z and Millennials will outnumber Boomer investors. Therefore, gaining insights into online investors, encompassing both self-directed and robo-advisor users, becomes crucial for financial institutions seeking to cater to these shifting demographics,” the research firm writes.

“It is evident that younger Canadians are increasingly attracted to online investing,” says Luisa Burga, Ipsos’ director for Canada, market strategy and research, adding that understanding investor characteristics, motivations and preferences is crucial for institutions catering to this evolving demographic. “We believe the future of investing lies in online platforms.” 

As for why investors open an online brokerage account in the first place, the researchers say their reasons follow several major themes: Investors want greater control over their investment decisions, they desire independence, enjoy the process of learning and investing, costs are a consideration and they perceive that traditional financial advisors will not have them as clients. As for what these investors want, transparent costs, product options and a user-friendly interface were all noted as being desirable.

Investors in the surveys further indicated that they value the educational resources and support provided by robo advisor platforms.

“By offering educational materials and personalized support, financial institutions can empower these individuals to make well informed investment decisions and build their confidence in managing their financial future,” Burga says. “Educational resources and tools available can significantly improve the satisfaction levels of young investors.” 

Finally, although discussion around AI was notably light, the presenters made two points: “Is there still a need for financial advisors? The answer is clearly yes,” says Michael Hsu, vice president, Canada, with Ipsos. “Financial advisors are still needed, especially when it comes to dealing with matters of greater complexity.” 

He continues, saying “at this time, humans are still in a better position to deal with situations where there’s judgment involved and reasoning involved. Maybe someday, with advancements in AI, computers can do that as well, but I don’t think we’re there yet.” 

Secondly, he says assuming AI continues to advance rapidly, it is important to pause and examine the impact AI will have on privacy, security and more. “This technology will have a profound impact on how we do things moving forward. It’s very important that we do it right and set the appropriate controls to make sure that this new technology would not be misused.”