Embracing the financial technology revolution

How ‘fintech’ can help enhance the investor-advisor relationship

Intraligi_Peter_sm_300dpi_RGB_fullshotWhile the financial services industry is often viewed from the outside as staid and unchanging, the truth of the matter is that a sea change is underway, radically transforming the industry. In many ways, this is good news. Enhanced transparency and a choice of service models may benefit investors. But these changes need to be understood.

The latest buzz is about automated investing — often referred to by its catchier name: robo-advice. I want to give robo-advice its due. The services under this moniker represent a marked improvement over the do-it-yourself approach to investing, which may provide investors with the means to invest, but with limited guidance as to where.

As a believer in innovation, I place high value on the power of new technology. For many investors, I believe a financial advisor remains the better option versus a fully automated approach, but better still is an advisor who embraces technology for what it is — a tool to better serve his or her clients.

How technology can help advisors serve investors

Why work with an advisor? Because you are unique. As someone with distinct circumstances, needs and goals, you can’t be summed up in a dozen data points or understood solely by an algorithm.

At present, robo-platforms tend to offer cookie-cutter solutions that don’t always take into account the nuances of your ever-changing financial situation. Technology does not replace the proper portfolio construction that a skilled financial professional provides, but what it can do is give advisors more time to work with their clients.

For example, an advisor-focused digital solution can help professionals take care of certain regulatory requirements, track progress, manage risk and be more efficient and effective — all of which may address both the cost and convenience concerns that exist in the marketplace today.

With this comes the real benefit: Technology can free up time for advisors to focus on the people and families they serve. More robust conversations may lead to greater understanding and, ultimately, a superior investment experience.

This is precisely the reason that Invesco has embraced technology in the advisor space with our purchase of Jemstep, a flexible solution that harnesses the powerful combination of digital technology and expert human advice to provide invaluable service for investors. Ideally, this step will expand the availability of financial advice overall, which is especially important as investors’ financial lives become more complex.

Investing in an ever-changing financial world

The more complex an investor’s situation is, the more value an actual financial advisor can offer.

Many, if not most, advisors offer services beyond portfolio construction and maintenance. Insurance services, for example, are currently not available through the robo-advice model. While this might change in the future, I suspect most investors would still prefer to deal with a human advisor for these services.

In addition, tax changes and benefit reforms, at both the federal and state level, can greatly affect investors. Any changes in these areas would need to be factored into a personalized financial plan. Unfortunately, these complexities may not be addressed by the robo-advice channel. The responsibility will remain with the client to seek out additional support — a fragmented approach that ignores the bigger picture.

It is my sincere belief that investors are best served by a financial advisor, who can help investors get the most out of life in an ever-changing financial world.

Stay informed about technological changes

Evolutions in technology, by nature, are fast and furious and tend to stir up enthusiasm at every step. The current technological shift is fundamentally changing the way financial advice will be delivered. Keeping the investor experience top of mind is the only way to navigate this in a meaningful way.

To help keep us all informed about the ways in which technology is affecting the financial advice industry, Invesco Jemstep President Simon Roy and his colleagues will be blogging about the topics and trends that they believe will impact advisors and investors for years to come. I believe their insights will help us all to navigate the quickly changing world of fintech, and look forward to sharing their expert perspective.

Important information

Jemstep, Inc. provides a digital solution for investment advisors. Jemstep is a wholly owned, indirect subsidiary of Invesco Ltd.

Peter Intraligi

President, Invesco Canada

Head of North American Retail Distribution

Peter Intraligi is President of Invesco Canada, the Canadian subsidiary of Invesco Ltd. He also oversees North American Retail Distribution for Invesco.

Mr. Intraligi began his business career at Thomas Cook and subsequently worked with Cap Gemini Ernst & Young, Loewen Group Inc. (now Alderwoods Group) and CIBC in the global private banking and trust business. He joined AIM in 1999 as vice president, corporate research and development. He spearheaded the growth strategy for AIM in Canada, resulting in the acquisition of Trimark Investments in 2000.

In 2000, Mr. Intraligi became vice president of marketing, and was then appointed senior vice president, marketing and client services. In 2002, he was named senior vice president, corporate operations. Mr. Intraligi assumed global responsibility for Invesco’s client operations in early 2006. In 2007, he was named chief operating officer in Canada, and in 2008 he was appointed president of Invesco Canada.

Mr. Intraligi earned a BSc in engineering from the University of Toronto and an MBA from the Università Bocconi in Milan, Italy.

Invesco Canada is the business name for Invesco Canada Ltd. Invesco Distributors, Inc. is a U.S. distributor for Invesco Ltd.’s retail products. Invesco Advisers, Inc. is an investment adviser and provides investment advisory services to individual and institutional clients and does not sell securities. All firms are indirect, wholly owned subsidiaries of Invesco Ltd.