Time of change a tremendous opportunity for advisors

par Andrew Rickard | January 27 2016 09:50AM

In an era of robo-advice and commoditized investments, the CEO of Vanguard says advisors need to find ways to differentiate themselves.

Speaking at an exchange-traded fund conference last week, Vanguard CEO Bill McNabb noted that the financial services business is undergoing a low-cost revolution. This is due in part to the fact that investments and portfolio construction have become commoditized, and automated services are creating a new pricing floor.

While traditional advisors are able to provide the kind of personal service that a robot cannot, McNabb warns that they should not hang their hat on that fact alone; they should look at ways they can use technology to manage their workflow and free up time to do what they really do best.

“For most investors entering retirement, advice is the answer. And with the Baby Boom generation now entering retirement, demand for advice is great. The questions retirees face are increasingly complex,” he says. “Rules of thumb and single-product solutions rarely provide a complete answer.”

McNabb’s final bit of advice: tell your story. If advisors want to set themselves apart from robots, advisors are going to have to explain their value proposition. “It's a time of change, but also tremendous opportunity for advisors,” he comments.