Humans vs Robo-Advisors: Why Humans still have the edge

Foremost, robo-advisors are ideas birth off from humans. They are limited by the creator’s knowledge and ability to keep up to speed with change. Desmond Gin, Associate Financial Services Manager of Richard Ong Group shares more reasons why he thinks human financial consultants still have a edge over their artificially intelligent counterparts.

The dawn of the robo-advisor began as recently as in the early 2000s1 in the form of automated portfolio allocation software. The first robo-advisor began working, taking real investments, in 2010 in the United States. So in all, robo-advisory is still in its infancy, mostly developed by startups leveraging emerging technologies or forward-looking financial institutions looking to remain relevant to their customers in an increasingly competitive, automation-frenzied world.

In Singapore today, robo-advisory has a small and steady following with the presence of around a dozen brands offering the service. Not surprisingly, the market is predominantly younger, with investors who tend to be more experimental and looking for an affordable and easier way to grow their savings rather than just putting it in the bank.

Robo-advisory also came at a time when bespoke portfolio management was a service reserved for the rich. However, this is no longer the case today. Professional financial advisory is now easily accessible to all. Many are gaining understanding that to unlock the true potential of wealth investment is to take an integrated and holistic approach, and not to just focus on the growing of it.

Personal portfolio management is no longer reserved for the wealthy, but for anyone who wants to realise their best life – a life where hard-earned money is comprehensively allocated towards the needs of protection, preservation, accumulation, growth and distribution. Best of all, it’s planned, curated and evolved according to the owners’ visions.

No doubt robo-advisors are quicker, cheaper, faster and completely devoid of emotions as compared to financial consultants. For these very reasons, we want to leverage on the strengths of this artificial intelligence to form a superhuman hybrid force that will really add value to the portfolio of our invested customers.

Here are three areas where I think consumers will appreciate having a human financial consultant.

The Human View

Human financial consultants can provide a big picture view of your asset classes allowing them to create a completely customised and flexible financial plan that can grow with you. They can discuss everything from your retirement planning to your debt management issues and more. They make intuitive connections and are often equipped with extensive referral networks to related professionals like accountants, lawyers and other experts whose services may complement your holistic planning. Human financial consultants can make specific recommendations and spend time on your tailored investment portfolio.


They do all the above with accountability which is all about what happens after a result – good or bad. While robots focus on tasks, professional financial consultants stick around through thick and thin, focused on the outcomes. Accountability is that unique human trait that can drive positive and valuable outcomes. The most successful professionals are accountable human beings and that’s a key ingredient in building long-lasting, winning partnerships between consultants and their clients.

Stand the Test of Time

Machines have no emotions, but you do. A human financial consultant is a call away when you have hard calls to make. They reason with you to clarify your thinking when you feel you are about to make a misguided decision. If you are ever blinded by greed, overthinking or desperation, woud you rather be working with a financial consultant you can trust and talk things over with or a faceless, programmed voice powered by algorithms? With robo-advisors, you get quick and impersonal solutions or read-it-yourself references that are good, but with human consultants, you get emphathy, real-life experience and robust investment guidance with the long-view.

At SG Alliance, my group and I are committed to support our clients with professional financial advisory that stems from years of knowledge, experience and resource networks.

We believe that the future lies in bringing together the best of AI and automation with the indispensable human touch to provide our clients with the best service they deserve.

Drop us a line today to find out how we can help you.


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