The game-changing potential of blockchain technology

Bitcoin has dominated headlines, but the future of financial transactions could very well be delivered via blockchain technology

Time to read: 3 min

Over the past year, it’s been next to impossible to avoid a conversation or news story on bitcoin. It went from a relatively arcane subject to possibly the most discussed topic within financial markets across both Wall Street and Main Street. (It certainly didn’t hurt that 2017 bitcoin returns were over 1,300%1). Now, after about a year of (perhaps) irrational bitcoin exuberance (and the 2018 reversal of more than half its gains from last year1), many are looking at the underlying technology as the true game-changer. While it is unlikely that bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies will soon upend how we all transact, I believe that blockchain has the potential to reshape the global economy as we know it.

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What trends will shape ‘fintech’ in 2018?

We expect advisors’ use of financial technology to grow, allowing them to more efficiently serve investors

Time to read: 3 min

2017 was the year when financial technology, or “fintech,” made industry headlines. After such a year of change, what might 2018 bring? I highlight six trends I expect to see in the coming year.

1. The rising tide of digital adoption is shaping the expectations of tech-savvy investors.

The same dynamic that is driving consumer adoption of technology is washing over the financial services industry. Essentially, we have all become “millennials” in how we use the internet and smartphones to consume information and access services. This has given rise to the “investor 2.0,” who increasingly expect their wealth management firms to evolve and provide the same user experience, personalized service and convenience of 24/7 access to their money. Given this, we expect

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Autonomous vehicles have arrived

Could driverless cars benefit your portfolio down the road?

Science fiction is real. In October of last year, a self-driving semi in Colorado carried over 2,000 cases of beer from Fort Collins to a distribution center in Colorado Springs — a journey of over 130 miles. While there was a professional driver on board, he monitored the trip from the sleeping berth for most of the journey and never took the controls. Even in an age where doctors can print human body parts and drones can replace boots on the ground, this robo-beer run represented quite an achievement. Self-driving vehicles have the potential to impact the everyday lives of Americans as fundamentally as cell phones and personal computers have over recent decades. But do the technologies making this possible represent a compelling investment opportunity?

We at Invesco believe that the advent of autonomous driving presents

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What do the recent SEC robo guidelines mean for advisors?

New SEC guidance provides effective ways for advisors to comply with disclosure regulations

Kevin Cimring 001Robo-advisors continue to represent a fast-growing trend in the investment advice industry, changing the way firms engage with and service their clients. However, given the automated and online nature of their business models, there are unique considerations for robo-advisors when complying with traditional regulations.

Following collaboration with industry participants, the Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) Division of Investment Management released a Guidance Update1 on February 23, which includes suggestions to help robo-advisors meet disclosure, suitability and compliance obligations under the Investment Advisers Act of 1940 (IM Guidance Update No 2017-2).

The result of this collaborative approach is

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Will technology eventually replace human financial advisors?

While online tools are increasingly being adopted by investors, we believe people will continue to benefit from access to skilled advisors

roy_simonSo-called robo-advisors — services that provide automated investment recommendations — have gained acceptance in recent years for their ability to provide investors with easily accessible, around-the-clock financial services.

Not surprisingly, one of the biggest questions I hear in the industry is whether or not technology will ultimately supplant the human element of investment advice. After all, many people remember how travel agents used to be a critical part of vacation planning, before the internet age made it easy to book airlines and hotels yourself.

I believe digital tools can enhance the advisor-investor relationship, not end it. Instead of viewing financial technology as a replacement for traditional, relationship-based advice, I believe it should be viewed as a complement to the advisor’s existing practice.

Parallels with the tax preparation industry

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