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Vanguard CEO Has Strong Opinions on the Robo Versus Human Advisor Battle

October 11, 2018

The head of the company behind the largest robo-advisor doesn’t think robos pose an existential threat to human advisors, according to Barron’s.

“Technology will have a hard time helping someone decide which charities to support and have a tough time estate planning for someone who wants to support one child who wants to be a scientist and another who wants to start a business,” Vanguard CEO Tim Buckley tells the paper.

Vanguard’s robo offering, Personal Advisor Services, reached $112 billion in assets in July, ahead of all of its robo peers, Barron’s writes.

That’s not to say that human advisors can keep up any longer in managing portfolios in a tax-efficient manner, however, where “technology will dominate,” Buckley tells the paper.

Nonetheless, technological innovation in the advice space means advisors can now automate many of the “arduous” tasks, such as determining risk profiles, portfolio rebalancing and tax-loss harvesting, according to Buckley.


Advisors who don’t take advantage of the recent innovations, however, may be handing over their clients to Vanguard.

“In the future, the value really is on advice — whether providing advisors who use our products with technology or directly doing it with our clients,” Buckley tells the paper.

By Alex Padalka
  • To read the Barrons article cited in this story, click here.