As per Wikipedia; “Robo-advisors are a class of financial adviser that provides financial advice or portfolio management online, with minimal human intervention”.
Most Robo-advisors employ algorithms, where automated investment solutions come out as output, based on customer’s data points; towards cash flow, future goals, risk tolerance, current investments etc.
Logic & working of these algorithms, which can be simple to complex, depends on the solutions offered to various category of customers, which also depends on firm’s/ founders experience & expertise.
It’s great to see that we have multiple companies offering solutions with technology as an enabler, to reach out at lowest cost and make people subscribe to these platforms & finally invest.
But the sad part of reality is the people’s “Mind-set” towards investments, where investments come as last priority. In simple language, if one sees a new smart phone or discounts offered at malls or e-commerce sites, same person is ready to purchase thru credit card EMI schemes, without even thinking on his cash flow or second opinion, but will think twice on any investment ideas or future savings or platform/ IT as conveyance.
On the other hand, quality of asset is another concern, where almost 50% of savings from average Indian goes towards Bank FD’s and almost 15% towards Insurance products “as investments” (as per RBI data on savings). If this is to be compared with data from US, we have Mutual Funds as an active asset class & major portion of savings going towards same, for higher & smarter yield. Answer to this is a result of our brought-up & the cultural change since last two decades.
Regulators are also trying their best, recent being Mutual Funds pushed as direct plan.
But the key challenge remains, i.e. customers “Mind-set” towards investment & what motivates them to invest?
Future – Road ahead
Personally I see a great future here, but it will take time to grow & evolve, unlike e-commerce growth 😉
From my own experience, running a Robo advisory company since last 2years, acquiring new customers requires great efforts & mainly involves “personal visits”, in short customer acquisition cost goes up. Which gives in to the ethos of Robo advisory, where idea is to acquire customer online at a low cost & offers services online with low cost/ minimal staff.
But the best part is the fact that, customer once on-boarded, has a higher stickiness (compared to any other products) & also becomes your brand ambassador, which I been witnessing in my company.
It will easily take 3 to 5years for any Robo advisory company to gain momentum & have some credible base. Once this base is created or the “tipping point” reached, company can look at the next growth as a true Robo Advisor, where customer flow & servicing will be truly online.
I have divided Robo advisory in three categories, based on type/ profile of customers:
- Investment solutions or Young investors: they are aged between 25 to 35, new to investments or have been investing due to HR push on 80cc tax saving proofs, parents & peers, without any goals or returns in mind.
- Goals based solutions or Matured investors: they are aged between 35 to 50, married with kids, understands the meaning of goals, investments & returns, but without any tracking or plan in mind.
- Retirement planning or Senior investors: they are 50+, about to retire, have investments, but no planning on how to go for next 20 years.
At Moneyfrog.in, our business has evolved out of prevailing vacuum of managing investors financial well-being & risk. Existing product (push) approach used by Financial brokers & retail Banks does not cater to individuals “Financial Goals & required Risk-cover”. Moneyfrog.in has leveraged technology to marginalise probable misselling resulting from human greed & judgemental error. We have designed a dynamic, algorithm based, Robo advisory platform (web & mobile) that maps individual’s financial goals to the best available investment avenues at a given point of time.
We are helping investors from; “Product-Push” approach to “Goal-Pull” approach.
Manoj Chahar is the founder & CEO of Moneyfrog.in