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Fidelity’s Tech Guru Predicts FAs Will Become Life Counselors

January 8, 2016

The financial advice business will be drastically altered by technology which will transform practitioners from investment managers to holistic life managers, the interim CEO of eMoney Advisor, recently acquired by Fidelity, tells Financial Advisor magazine.

Advisor tech platforms themselves will also change dramatically, delivering to advisors “aggregated, reconciled data” on everything a customer does, combining CRM, portfolio monitoring and more in one box, Michael Durbin, who runs Fidelity Wealth Technologies in addition to heading eMoney in the interim, tells the magazine.

As a result the role of financial advisor will be retooled to that of a counselor familiar with the most intimate aspects of a client’s life, such as the relationship between health and wealth, according to Durbin speaking to the magazine.

He also forecasts advisors will be willing to pay for technology platforms rather than getting them free, as is currently the norm; however, eMoney already charges advisors $3,600 annually to deliver its aggregated data offering and Durbin alludes his platform could evolve to deliver “holistic advice” within 10 years.

But because of a rising need for securing client data, wealth management firms will also need to beef up cybersecurity and appoint skilled chief technology officers and “chief risk officers,” Durbin tells the magazine.

Robo-advisors, meanwhile, will only have a positive effect on financial advice for the consumer and will never replace the human advisor, according to Durbin.

Finally, the way wealth managers reach their potential clients will also change from a one-referral-at-a-time method to a more national approach, thanks to technology, according to Durbin.

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